Rick Perry, the gun-toting Bible-bashing Texan Governor, announced yesterday that he was to retire from office next year, and there are signs that this failed Presidential candidate is once again eyeing up a run for the White House.
Rick Perry is in the unenviable position of having been a less attractive candidate than such charming and inspiring politicians as Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and of course eventual loser Mitt Romney. But maybe this time Perry will prove that George W Bush is not the only Texan governor with a penchant for capital punishment who can make it on the national stage.
If you cast your mind back to the Republican primaries between 2011 – 2012, when a sort of rogue’s gallery of right wing ideologues prowled the political scene, it was Rick Perry who stood out – an impressive achievement considering the other candidates – as particularly inept, nasty and unintentionally hilarious. His mishaps ranged from forgetting which government department he was going to abolish if he became President, to releasing a video in which he strode through woodland wearing what suspiciously looked like Heath Ledger’s jacket from Brokeback Mountain, and then boldly pronouncing, ‘you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.’
For the very right wing Republican it is the awful spectre of the homosexual that causes such great fear and outrage. The idea that there are gay people in the military whilst children can’t apparently celebrate Christmas in school must be particularly terrifying. There are votes in being a bigot, or perhaps not, as Perry did end up losing in the primary race. It is no surprise that Perry was a supporter of Texas’ unconstitutional anti-sodomy law, which was only struck down in 2003.
Rick Perry is hugely pro-life and recently caused another controversy after criticising Texan state Senator Wendy Davis, who filibustered a bill that would have severely curtailed a woman’s right to abortion, for not learning from her own life. Perry claimed that as the daughter of a single mother and a teenage mother herself "It is just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."
The words ‘every life matters’ is something that most people would agree with. However, in other areas of political life Perry has behaved in ways that suggest he doesn’t really take that sentiment seriously. Perry has overseen over 250 executions and there is strong evidence that at least one of those executed, Todd Willingham, was innocent. Todd Willingham never got the chance to realise his full potential and it doesn’t seem that Perry is terribly concerned by that. When Perry was asked about whether he was bothered at all that innocent people may have been executed under him he responded that he “never struggled with that at all.”