I figured Salon would be the first major publication to find a writer willing to defend the trumped up “charges” against the Texas governor for using his constitutional veto power — but no, it was The New Republic and Alec MacGillis.
But regardless of how strong the charges against Perry are, it is worth noting how fitting they are. Put simply, the case against Perry points to an aspect of his political persona that is well known in Texas but has too often been overlooked in the national portrayal of Perry. On the national stage, Perry is alternately depicted as a hardened ideologue—the states’ rights gunslinger who openly flirted with secession—and as a bumbling buffoon who watched his high-octane 2012 presidential campaign flame out in a moment of debate-stage befuddlement. Both of these caricatures miss Perry’s essence. As I argued in a 2011 profile of him for this magazine, Perry is both more conniving and less ideologically-motivated than the national perception of him would have one believe. He is, at heart, a political operator and a striver who has wielded the many levers of power available to him as governor of the second-largest state less to advance a coherent conservative agenda than for his own aggrandizement and that of his cronies.