The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported on Saturday that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has fired back at the felony indictment handed down against him on the charges of abuse of office and coercion. It suggests that he means to fight the matter in the court of public opinion as well as in the actual courts. In the meantime, Perry is getting support from an unlikely group of liberal Democrats.
Typical was a tweet by David Axelrod, a former consigliore to President Obama. “Unless he was demonstrably trying to scrap the ethics unit for other than his stated reason, Perry indictment seems pretty sketchy.” Liberal journalists such as Jonathan Chait. Ari Melber, and Timothy Nash also expressed serious doubts about the indictments. Nash tweeted, “I think you just messed up big time.”
All of this suggests that Perry, besides attempting to quash the indictment as quickly as possible, intends to fold the matter into his own political campaign. He will depict himself as the persecuted conservative hero under attack by a corrupt, liberal legal establishment in Austin’s Travis County. Axelrod and company seem to be afraid that he will succeed in this and emerge stronger than ever, catapulting his way to the presidential campaign.
Remember the issue is about a district attorney named Rosemary Lehmberg who was arrested and served jail time for a DWI. The video that has gone viral on the Internet shows her behaving outrageously and abusive to law enforcement officers. Perry was using his veto power to get her to do what most would consider the right thing and resign.
Those who are, in effect, waging “lawfare” against Perry are going to have to explain why they seem to be defending a drunk driving DA who is a convicted criminal and yet still refuses to resign. However the legal process proceeds, this is going to be a hard thing to sell. It may become a case of striking at the King and failing to kill him.