By Robert Mann
Some liberals have celebrated the recent indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on charges of abuse of power. I’m not among them. His opponents couldn’t beat Perry at the polls, and they seem eager to derail his nascent presidential campaign, so they’ve applauded his indictment on flimsy charges that any impartial juror with an ounce of common sense should reject as laughable. I’m no Perry fan, but this looks like a destructive attempt to criminalize politics.
Long story short: Perry vetoed the budget for the state public corruption unit headed by the Austin-area district attorney after she was jailed for drunk driving. Perry made no secret that he was trying to force the DA to resign. In response, a Texas prosecutor charged Perry with two felony counts.
Targeting a public corruption unit’s budget to overthrow a wayward district attorney is clearly hardball politics. Perry may well have gone too far. Perhaps he deserves to be impeached (although even that is doubtful). What I do know is that he does not deserve prison.
Texas politics is notoriously wicked. You’d think what Perry did wouldn’t faze anyone in Austin. Still, if the prosecutor considers Perry’s veto threats a shocking abuse of power, I suggest he study the appalling methods Gov. Bobby Jindal is using to rid Louisiana of Common Core’s education standards.
I don’t know if Jindal’s outrageous actions technically violate any criminal statute, but if Perry has earned a prison term for his deeds, then Jindal surely should get a life sentence for how he’s abused his powers in an illegal and politically motivated attack on Common Core.
It’s well known that Jindal once strongly supported Common Core. He pitched it with all the passion of Ron Popiel hawking a Showtime Rotisserie. (“Set it, and forget it!”) Jindal was among the governors who helped write the standards. He signed the documents and legislation committing Louisiana to Common Core.
Then, after getting grief from conservatives – particularly tea party types - Jindal abandoned Common Core and started attacking the standards as Soviet-style central, big-government central planning.
Curiously, however, he gave only lukewarm support to state legislators who tried to remove the state from Common Core during the recent legislative session. Thanks in part to Jindal’s unwillingness to speak out, it survived.
Continue reading on NOLA.com at this link: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2014/08/rick_perrys_crimes_pale_in_com.html