Lazy Saturday Reads: Two Republican Candidates in Trouble

 Rick Perry readsGood Afternoon!!

Poor Rick Perry. He just can’t seem to catch a break. First there was his indictment on two felony charges. Then he had to face the further indignity that being indicted on felony charges means he can no longer swagger around with a concealed weapon on his person. According to the Washington Times,

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s indictment on felony corruption charges means he can no longer carry a concealed weapon under state law.

Federal law also prohibits him from being able to buy more guns or ammunition, as long as the indictment is pending, Reuters reported.

I wonder if he knows that? Because when he was in New Hampshire last week, he told voter he didn’t understand the charges against him. From ABC News last Friday, Aug. 22:

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Texas Gov. Rick Perry returned to New Hampshire Friday for the first time since 2012, as he tries to rehab his political image after a failed presidential bid.

Speaking to a group of business leaders here, Perry tried to focus on substance, talking about issues like economic development and the border crisis, but his recent indictment on two felony charges was hard to ignore.

Asked about his indictment during a question-and-answer session with business leaders, Perry was a little unclear when explaining what felony charges were issued against him.

“I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here,” Perry said of the grand jury that indicted him.

A grand jury indicted Perry last week on two felony counts – abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official – over a 2013 veto threat.

Texas Governor Perry

At The Wire, Arit John has a funny post in which he describes Perry’s confusion as just one step in the grief process over the indictment, Rick Perry Enters the Final Stage of Indictment Grief: Confusion.

Maybe Rick Perry should have read up on his indictment charges before he started using them as a campaign talking point. During a speech last week, the Texas governor said he was being indicted for bribery, which isn’t actually true.

“I’ve been indicted by that same body now for I think two counts, one of bribery, which I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t really understand the details here,” he said,according to the Houston Chronicle. But Perry is actually being indicted for abuse of power and coercing a public official, after he threatened to veto District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s budget if she refused to resign after her drunk driving conviction.

This is another oops moment for Perry, but it also signaled his transition into the 5th and, likely for him, final stage of indictment related grief: confusion. After grinning mugshot denial, angry ads “setting the record straight,” bargaining over who should pay the lawyers and depression over a loss of Second Amendment privileges, all that’s left for Perry is to be slightly unsure of what, exactly, people are accusing him of doing.

Read the details at the link.

Rick Perry gun3

Then there are the embarrassing stories about how Perry hasn’t paid the National Guard troops that he sent to guard the Texas-Mexico border. From Gawker:

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent National Guard soldiers to the Mexico border to much fanfare earlier this summer, he couldn’t say how long they’d be there. It turns out he also couldn’t pay them: At least 50 soldiers haven’t seen a paycheck and are getting sustenance and vehicle fuel from a local food bank.

Via KGBT News, the sudden call-up took those weekend warriors away from their day jobs and deposited them in the Rio Grande valley, but the service hasn’t covered their losses yet….

Perry—who’s busy being indicted for criminal abuse of power—and the National Guard didn’t respond to reporter queries earlier this week, but the pay lag could be related to the governor’s refusal to fund the mobilization he ordered, and his insistence that the federal government cover it. (In the meantime, Perry was supposedly attempting to finance the deployment “by diverting $38 million in public safety funds earmarked for emergency radio infrastructure,” the L.A. Times has reported.)

Yesterday afternoon, the Austin Statement reported that unnamed “National Guard officials” were claiming the stories about hungry troops were exaggerated, but it sounds like they may be just trying to clean up Perry’s mess.

The Guard said it had identified 50 service members who, because of their early August start date, weren’t going to be paid until Sept. 5.

None of those 50 troops have notified leaders that they had used the food bank, officials said.

According to the Guard, troops receive one meal while on duty, plus a $32 per diem food reimbursement that is included in their paychecks.

According to Omar Ramirez, Food Bank RGV’s manager of communications and advocacy, the food bank made extra preparations after being contacted by someone from the Texas National Guard Support Foundation, but that he wasn’t aware of any troops being served.

“Maybe they come in and they just don’t tell us they’re National Guard,” he said.

OK, but if the $32 dollars is included in their paychecks, then that means the troops have to front the money for two meals a day until Sept. 5, right? Read the rest at the link.

CoatHangerPerryW480_zpsc5ed0bd9

Finally, yesterday Perry learned that his latest anti-abortion bill–the one that Wendy Davis filibustered–has been struck down by a federal judge. From AP:

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new restrictions that would have left seven abortion facilities in Texas come Monday. There are currently 19 abortion providers in the state, according to groups challenging the law.

“The overall effect of the provisions is to create an impermissible obstacle as applied to all women seeking a previability abortion,” Yeakel wrote in his 21-page ruling.

The trial in Texas was the latest battle over tough new abortion restrictions sweeping across the U.S.

The law would have required clinics “to meet the building, equipment and staffing standards of hospital-style surgery centers,” according to The New York Times.

Adopted as part of a sweeping anti-abortion measure last year, the rule would have forced the closing of more than a dozen of Texas’ remaining abortion clinics because they were unable to afford to renovate or to open new facilities that met the standards for such things as hallway width, ceiling height, advanced ventilation equipment, staffing and even parking spaces.

The closings would have left Texas, the second-biggest state by population and by size, with seven or eight abortion clinics, all in major cities like Houston and Dallas. Women in El Paso in West Texas and in the Rio Grande Valley in the south would have lived more than 150 miles — a distance ruled constitutional by a federal appeals court — from the closest clinic in the state, in San Antonio.

Fortunately for Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, her opponent Greg Abbott plans to appeal the decision.

Mitch McDonnell at Morris' Deli in Louisville, KY

Mitch McDonnell at Morris’ Deli in Louisville, KY

Mitch McConnell is also experiencing some difficulties in his Senate reelection campaign in Kentucky. He has been in a close race with Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes–they’ve been running neck-and-neck for a long time now. And recently McConnell has had a couple of setbacks. First there was the secretly recorded audiotape released by The Undercurrent Youtube channel, of McConnell’s remarks at a “meeting for millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers,” in which he promised to continue blocking Obama proposals and emphasized his opposition to raising the minimum wage. The contents of the tape were first reported in The Nation.

Last week, in an interview with Politico, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) outlined his plan to shut down President Obama’s legislative agenda by placing riders on appropriations bills. Should Republicans take control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, McConnell intends to pass spending bills that “have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy.”

What McConnell didn’t tell Politico was that two months ago, he made the same promise to a secret strategy conference of conservative millionaire and billionaire donors hosted by the Koch brothers. The Nation and The Undercurrent obtained an audio recording of McConnell’s remarks to the gathering, called “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society.” In the question-and-answer period following his June 15 session titled “Free Speech: Defending First Amendment Rights,” McConnell says:

“So in the House and Senate, we own the budget. So what does that mean? That means that we can pass the spending bill. And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board [inaudible]. All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.”

Mitch McConnell gun

The article notes that the McConnell campaign has received $41,800 from Koch Industries in addition to outside groups who get funding from the Kochs.

“And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage [inaudible]—cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment—that’s a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that’s just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things.”

In late April, Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, successfully filibustered a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, a widely popular measure that would increase wages for at least 16.5 million Americans. Earlier in the year, McConnell also led a filibuster of a three-month extension of unemployment insurance to some 1.7 million Americans. At one point in the negotiations, he offered a deal to extend unemployment only if Democrats agreed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though the ACA does not add to the federal deficit.

More from The New York Times:

The [Undercurrent] channel released audio of three other Republicans in tough Senate races — Representative Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Representative Cory Gardner of Colorado and Joni Ernst, a state senator in Iowa — all of whom praised Charles G. and David H. Koch and the millions of dollars they have provided to help Republican candidates….

Republicans said the recordings were insignificant. Josh Holmes, a senior McConnell campaign aide, said the senator was in no way suggesting a strategy to shut down the government unless Mr. Obama capitulates.

Nonetheless, the audio recordings are likely to become fodder for the campaigns in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and Kentucky. Democrats, most notably Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, have tried to demonize contributions by the Koch brothers as corruptive to the political system.

In Arkansas, especially, the audio could touch a nerve. Mr. Cotton, a freshman House member, skipped a popular political event in his state, the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, to attend the Koch brothers’ meeting in California. According to the audio, he was repaid with praise for his willingness to hew to the most conservative line, even if it meant voting against legislation popular in his state.

o-MITCH-MCCONNELL-JESSE-BENTON-facebook

Then yesterday, McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton was forced to resign because of a scandal involving his work for the Ron Paul campaign in Iowa in 2012. From CBS News:

Benton’s resignation, effective Saturday, comes barely two months before Kentucky voters choose between McConnell, a five-term incumbent and the top-ranking Senate Republican, and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

In Iowa this week, former state Sen. Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his switch of support from one Republican presidential candidate to another before the 2012 Iowa caucuses. He received thousands of dollars in “under the table payments” before switching loyalties from candidate Michele Bachmann, whose Iowa campaign he headed, to candidate Ron Paul, then lied to federal investigators about the money, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors refused to say which campaign paid Sorenson. A representative for Bachmann didn’t immediately return voice and email messages seeking comment Friday. A phone message for Paul also wasn’t immediately returned.

Benton, a tea party insider, worked as a top aide to Paul. On Friday he said that he has been the target of “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors” about his role in past campaigns that are “politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue.”

Benton had been hired to help McConnell appeal to Tea Party extremists in Kentucky. Is it possible McConnell misjudged his constituents? I sincerely hope so.

So I’ve ended up focusing this post on just two struggling Republicans–but there are plenty of others I could write about. I don’t think we should give up on Democrats holding the Senate yet. I know there is plenty of other news, but I thought I’d shift the focus to electoral politics today. What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Labor Day weekend!!

 

 


28 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Two Republican Candidates in Trouble”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Yesterday was the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina–I can’t believe it has been nine years!

    • RalphB says:

      I don’t like saying this but, if this were any other developed country, New Orleans would be completely rebuilt before now. Any damages would be only a memory.

      • Delphyne49 says:

        I agree, Ralph. And more bad news about the area:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/28/louisiana-sea-level-rise_n_5731916.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000044

        Similar predictions had been made for years. But Hurricane Katrina finally galvanized the state Legislature, which pushed through a far-reaching coastal restoration plan in 2007.

        The 50-year, $50 billion Master Plan for the Coast (in 2012 dollars) includes projects to build levees, pump sediment into sinking areas, and build massive diversions on the river to reconnect it with the dying delta.

        The state’s computer projections show that by 2060 — if projects are completed on schedule — more land could be built annually than is lost to the Gulf.

        But there are three large caveats.

        The state is still searching for the full $50 billion. Congress so far has been unwilling to help.

        If the plan is to work, sea-level rise can’t be as bad as the worst-case scenario.

        Building controlled sediment diversions on the river, a key part of the land-building strategy, has never been done before. The predictions, then, are largely hypothetical, although advocates say the concept is being proven by an uncontrolled diversion at West Bay, near the mouth of the river.

        • RalphB says:

          I’d say there’s a fat chance of anything being better than expected. We’re screwed long-term unless our societal priorities change big time.

    • dakinikat says:

      Neither can I. The cit still hasn’t recovered completely! great post! Governor Good Hair is dumb as a box of rocks!

      • RalphB says:

        He’s a true dumbass but he know how to spend other people’s money.

        Texas Tribune: Taxpayer Tab Grows for Perry’s Defense

        Gov. Rick Perry has billed taxpayers $133,000 to hire several lawyers to defend him against public corruption allegations, his office confirmed Friday.

        That’s more lawyers and more state money spent than previously disclosed.

        After Perry was criticized about the taxpayer expenditures, the governor’s office announced he would use campaign funds from now on to compensate his legal team.

        But taxpayers have already spent $98,000 to hire Botsford & Roark, the firm of his lead criminal defense attorney David Botsford, who charges $450 an hour. Previously, state records — which take a while to show up in the government’s accounting system — showed taxpayers had spent $80,000 on Botsford’s firm.

        Perry’s office also spent $15,000 to hire the Houston-based law firm Baker Botts and $19,890 to hire attorney Jack Bacon. The total came to $132,890.

        Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said in an email that the cost of the legal fees were “associated with the grand jury case involving Gov. Perry and Governor’s Office staff.” …

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Police Kill Woman, Charge Man They Were Trying To Shoot With Murder

    In Florida, naturally. The shooter also hit one of the other policemen who was with him in the leg.

    • RalphB says:

      The guy in question is filing suit against the St Paul PD and he has a very good case. Ths shit has went completely over the top since cops don’t understand the power of video. As far as I’m concerned, they have lost all assumptions of respect and have to earn it back.

    • NW Luna says:

      Horrible. How the hell can the cops think they have a right to do this?

    • janicen says:

      Jesus that was disturbing to watch/listen to. I hope he gets a huge settlement. Jesus.

  3. RalphB says:

    When the cops are the criminals, it’s a problem.

    KTVU: Walnut Creek officer accused of beating woman with bat

    WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — A man who’d been in charge of upholding the law for three decades is now accused of breaking it. Richmond police arrested an off-duty Walnut Creek Police Officer for allegedly donning a mask and beating a woman with a baseball bat on August 16. The attack happened around 2 a.m., in a residential neighborhood on Clinton and San Pablo avenues in Richmond.

    53-year-old Gregory Thompson has been with the Walnut Creek Police Department for 30 years. He was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and felony vandalism after the attack.

  4. NW Luna says:

    Perry hasn’t paid the National Guard? He’s doomed.

    • RalphB says:

      They’ll just lie their ass off about it and accuse anyone who disagrees of hating the real “Murika”.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Just when it seemed the right wing couldn’t get any more divorced from reality around here, a local conservative group has launched a protest against what it sees as a pernicious cultural touchstone.

    Labor Day.

    Yes, bittersweet old Labor Day — the first Monday in September, the holiday that’s been around for generations and is known to most non-ideologically blinkered Americans as an end-of-summer free day honoring all the hard work you put in the rest of the year.

    But to the Freedom Foundation, a business-backed Olympia think tank, the day is evidence of the power of unions, which to them equals the decline of America. Rather than stoop to taking a union-backed day off, they plan to fight the power by … working all day Monday instead!

    “I can’t think of a problem in society that can’t be traced in some way back to the abuses of organized labor, so it would be hypocritical of us to take a day off on its behalf,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe, in announcing the “work-in.”

    That’ll show those unions who control everything around here. Let’s all go into the offices and the factories and work like dogs instead of barbecuing or watching parades! Who’s with me?

    Of course, since CEOs don’t do any real work, it’s no big deal for them to “work” on Monday.

  6. NW Luna says:

    A small step to reverse problems from the ever growing affiliations and mergers of public and secular institutions with Catholic health systems:

    Bylaws for a new health clinic that will open on the campus of Washington State University Spokane will be changed to ensure that care provided at the clinic isn’t restricted by Catholic health-care directives.

    The announcement Friday comes two days after the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about the clinic’s bylaws and asked Washington State University regents to address the matter at their Sept. 11 meeting.

    The Spokane Teaching Health Center is a consortium of WSU Spokane, Providence Health Care and Empire Health Foundation.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Full-time American workers still labor the equivalent of nearly an additional day each week, averaging 47 hours instead of the standard 40, according to Gallup Poll results released Friday.

    Just 42 percent of full-time employees work 40 hours a week, the traditional total based on five workdays, Gallup said of findings it released ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

    Nearly the same percentage — 39 percent — say they work at least 50 hours a week.

    Almost one in five Americans, or 18 percent, said their workweek stretched 60 hours or more.

    Seems we could spread some of those extra hours around to people looking for work.

  8. NW Luna says:

    For the third time this summer, Yellowstone National Park rangers have cited a tourist for illegally flying a drone in the park.

    Park officials said Friday that Donald Criswell of Molalla, Oregon, flew an unmanned aircraft over Midway Geyser Basin and near bison on Aug. 19.

    Just what you don’t want to see on your Yellowstone vacation…drones flying through the meadows.

    • gregoryp says:

      I think these things used to be called radio controlled airplanes and a lot of people really enjoy flying them. Why on Earth is flying a radio controlled airplane illegal in a national park?

      • gregoryp says:

        I think with our police behaving like the Gestapo and how this nation has become full of paranoids afraid of their own shadow we are truly living in GW Bush’s world. This country is now everything that it shouldn’t be.

      • NW Luna says:

        In the appropriate space — say an unused parking lot — it would be OK. But I would no sooner fly one in a national park meadow, through a buffalo herd, or around a geyser than I would fly one in a church, mosque, or temple.