Sunday, Texas Governor Rick Perry – among the most talked-about potential candidates for the 2016 Republican nomination – took to the press to defend himself against the charges brought against him by a grand jury. Perry was indicted last week on two counts of felony abuse of power, charges relating to a 2013 veto the governor carried out regarding state funds. Perry threatened to withhold $7 million from the Travis County District Attorney’s office if DA Rosemary Lehmberg did not resign following her drunk driving conviction. When the flagrantly irresponsible Democrat refused to step down, Perry followed through with his promise.
“I stood up for the rule of law in the state of Texas, and if I had to do it again I would make exactly the same decision,” Perry said in his public defense. He went on to say that he believed the prosecution was politically motivated. “”Across the board you’re seeing people weigh in and reflecting that this is way outside of the norm. This is not the way that we settle differences, political differences in this country. You don’t do it with indictments. We settle our political differences at the ballot box.”
Support from Perry has come from some unlikely sources. Not only have rumored Republican primary candidates like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz come to the governor’s defense, but even David Axelrod has mentioned publicly that he believes the indictment against Perry is “sketchy.” Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, isn’t the only noted liberal questioning the indictment. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, known for representing clients like Claus von Bulow and O.J. Simpson, told Newsmax on Sunday that the indictment was ridiculous.
In speaking out against the indictment, Perry made some pointed remarks abut government agencies going beyond the rule of law when carrying out their missions. He specifically brought up the IRS, currently beleaguered by a scandal involving tea party organizations, and the NSA, which has of course been under intense worldwide scrutiny following the revelations of Edward Snowden.
The indictment is the first for a Texas governor since 1917. Regardless of whether or not the charges are founded, a prolonged prosecution could seriously jeopardize Perry’s ability to run for president in 2016. A conviction would make running nearly impossible. There are no constitutional laws prohibiting a convicted felon from running for the office of the presidency, but the political ramifications would make a nomination very unlikely.
Is this political posturing by Democrats in Texas, petty revenge over a veto, or is there real substance behind the indictment? It appears that we will only know after a protracted legal battle, one which is guaranteed to tarnish one of Texas’s most popular governors in recent memory. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse, considering Perry is fighting tooth and nail to keep a handle on the border situation that threatens both his state and the nation at large. Here’s hoping the matter can be put to rest as quickly as possible, one way or the other.