In between trying to close abortion clinics and execute 17-year-olds, Rick Perry has a lot of thinking to do. As of last week, the Governor of Texas still hadn't decided if he would make another run for the highest office in the land - the president of the United States.
If you'll remember back to the 2012 Republican primaries, Perry made a series of gaffes that made him drop out of the race in January 2012. But, from about August to October of the previous year, Perry polled far ahead of the GOP's eventual nominee, Mitt Romney.
For a while, Texans were scared that the man who has somehow managed to out-bumble George W. Bush as the governor of their state would be a serious contender for national office. Fortunately for the rest of the U.S., Perry quickly showed his ineptness on the national stage.
Now, Perry is said to be considering another run for the presidency. He won’t announce his decision until later this year, but until then, I'll leave you with this list of five reasons why Rick Perry would be the worst president ... ever.
Whatever your politics are on abortion, Rick Perry represents a very extreme faction of the anti-choice movement. In Texas, some of the first official shots in the War on Women were fired. In an attempt to run Planned Parenthood and "abortion-affiliated" providers out of the state, Perry and the Texas Legislature decimated the Texas Women’s Health Program, slashing its funding by 90%.
Today marks the first day of a second 30-day special session (the Texas Legislature only meets every two years, so business that isn't finished at the end of the regular session is often handled in an emergency session) that Perry called, in part, specifically to pass a highly-restrictive abortion bill. Senate Bill 1 (Senate Bill 5 in the previous special session) goes even further than previous attempts to eliminate abortion access in Texasl; it's estimated that the legislation would cause all but 5 clinics in the state to close. Unless you're living under a rock, you’ll remember that Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Ft. Worth, spent over 13 hours filibustering the bill last week, accompanied by thousands of pro-choice protesters.
In the past week, Texas reached a frightening milestone. Kimberly McCarthy, a Black woman convicted of robbery and murder, became the 500th inmate executed in Texas since the death penalty moratorium was lifted in 1976. According to the Huffington Post, Texas accounts for over 40% of all executions carried out in the United States. Virginia, the second most prolific death penalty state, is still over 400 executions behind Texas. Of these 500 executions, Rick Perry has signed the warrants for almost half, more than any other governor in modern history.
Many of these executions have been extremely questionable. Cameron Todd Willingham, convicted of murdering his three daughters in a house fire, was posthumously exonerated by a Texas judge. In the case of Duane Edward Buck, an expert testified that Buck should be executed because he was black.
Texas education is a big mess. After cutting $4 billion from Texas public schools in 2011, the budget passed in 2013 only restored about $1 billion of those cuts. The Texas Board of Education has attempted to require that science teachers "show another side" to evolution in science classes, focus on state's rights instead of slavery when teaching the Civil War, and remove a significant number of "left-leaning" figures from Texas textbooks.
While the "culture wars" are raging, Texas students are falling further and further behind. Texas ranks 49th in the country in per-student spending, a metric that is often used to measure the health and quality of a state’s education system. Just last month, Texas lawmakers drastically reduced the requirements for high school seniors to take upper-level math, science, and English courses. Funding discrepancies among schools are also staggering. Allen High School, in a suburb of Dallas, boasts a $60 million football stadium. At Dallas Independent School District, schools are closing and teachers are being laid-off in droves.
Since the day the Affordable Care Act was passed, Rick Perry dug his heels in the ground and refused to implement the policy. Even prior to the passage of "Obamacare," Texas had the worst healthcare in the nation with more than 25% of Texans being uninsured. Despite these numbers, Perry has refused to accept funds for Medicaid expansion or set up a state health insurance exchange as mandated by the law.
As a result, Texans in the state are suffering, especially the state's large Latino population. Almost 40% of Latinos in Texas are uninsured, compared with only 17% of white Texans. These uninsured populations are less likely to receive preventative care and more likely to contract diseases like diabetes and cancer. If Texas had implemented the Affordable Care Act, it would've been able to insure more people than any other state in the country.
Before attacking State Senator Wendy Davis at the National Right To Life Convention for failing to "learn from her mistakes" as a single mom, Perry mentioned that she'd somehow "managed to make it to Harvard Law School." Shortly after, the Huffington Post published Perry's own transcripts from his time at Texas A&M University. In its headline, HuffPost reported that Perry's transcripts contained a lot of "Cs and Ds," including Ds in both "Meats" and "Feed," required courses in Perry's Animal Sciences major.
If you're bad at "Meats," you really can't be the (non-vegan) Governor of Texas, and you certainly can't be the third president from Texas. This is the home of BBQ and brisket tacos. Even Lyndon B. Johnson got that; he masterfully grilled steaks and barbecued briskets on the roof of the White House. I don't think I'd trust Rick Perry with a grill. Or fire, for that matter.
As a Texan, the idea of having Rick Perry the President of the United States is terrifying. From abortion to something as simple as being able to name which three agencies he would cut from the federal government, Perry is an abysmal failure. Unfortunately for Rick, Texas' freshman Senator Ted "Abolish the IRS" Cruz is polling ahead of him for a presidential run.
Honestly, I don't know which is worse.