I share in Ed Morrissey’s and Jim Geraghty’s surprise at this development, as the Washington Post publishes a piece praising Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to return to Texas to deal with the wildfire crisis.
With wildfires raging across his state, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) assumed a familiar role this week: crisis commander in chief.
His abrupt decision this week to cut short his presidential campaign schedule in South Carolina to oversee his state’s response to the fires offers a glimpse of a central aspect of his leadership style — and a look at what kind of president he would be.
There is perhaps no greater illustration of Perry’s leadership in crisis than his oversight of Texas’s response to Katrina. He took pains to declare the state open to those who would need shelter from the storm, and he toured the Astrodome in Houston to check in with displaced families. And long before the storm struck, cities and counties and state emergency officials had begun preparing to receive evacuees from the Gulf Coast. In the end, the state took in hundreds of thousands of evacuees, found permanent housing for thousands of them, helped with job placement and enrolled children in schools.
One thing is certain: Perry has more experience leading a state in crisis than any other contender for the Republican presidential nomination.
And far more experience than the current president, whom the Post’s fact-checkers caught in a big fat lie on taxes today. What you get from Rick Perry in a crisis is the leadership of a man who grew up on a ranch, has flown military aircraft and led a giant state for more than a decade. You get practical, tested leadership that works.
As for the fires themselves, the wind has died down quite a bit but until we get some rain we’re living in a tinderbox larger than most countries. Ninety percent of the state or thereabouts is gripped in the worst drought since the 1930’s. More than 1,000 homes have been lost, and at least six have lost their lives in the wildfires. Walk outside around here and you can smell smoke in the air. One fire that burned 11 homes in Leander yesterday was probably the work of arsonists. And the huge Bastrop fire is still only 30% contained.
Texas has good leadership, and we need to add some rain to that.