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March 9, 2010
By Laura Chapin, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Memo to Rick Perry: Santa Anna thought it was all over after the Alamo, too.
Last week--ironically, on Texas Independence Day--Texas Gov. Rick Perry won a smashing victory over his primary challenger, Texas's senior United States senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison, by 21 points. He did it the old-fashioned way: jingoism and vitriol, appealing to the lowest common denominators among Republican base voters.
Rick Perry may have won the battle and lost the war, because here's the truly offensive part: He doesn't believe a word of it. Every outrageous pronouncement is simply a foil to set himself as the True Texan in the race. The more eastern pundits attack him, the better he likes it. Perry has reincarnated himself as Ricky the 14th: Texas, C'est Moi.
So what's behind the hairspray? Rick Perry is as cynical and mundane a politician as they come. He talks about promoting jobs while raising taxes on small businesses. He talks about being a stand-up guy and fighting Washington corruption while protecting the lobbyist/government revolving door in Texas. He rails against Washington while ensuring that Texas remains a federal tax "donor state." And he relentlessly ensures that Texas kids end up at the bottom of the economic ladder.