Former governor Rick Perry (say it with me) has been swinging through Iowa like every other white Republican man running for president. This weekend, he stopped in at Maccabbee’s Deli in Des Moines (try the corn kasha), which produced the picture you see above, to speak with less than twenty members of the tribe who cared to hear what he had to say. Of course, he laid it on heavy about how much he relates, and mentioned a trip he made to Poland.
“The trip to Auschwitz … it’s like having the president come to the border of Texas and Mexico,” he said. “If you’ve never really seen what’s going on, it’s hard to get your arms” around it.
Hmm. While it’s discernible what Perry meant to convey, it’s also clear that Perry likes to use facets of Jewish existence to make political points. This president-on-the-border thing one of his most public gripes with the White House: the chief executive won’t agree to a Perry-led tour in the Rio Grande Valley. Astoundingly, such a great “friend of Israel” seems utterly unaware that no Jew would ever compare Auschwitz to the border. Few would be comfortable with a fundamentalist Christian making that comparison, given that Perry’s belief in end times rests on Israel’s existence so Jesus can destroy it, kill all Jews and other non-Christians, and take the fundamentalists with him to hang out with a deity.
It’s not the first time Perry has said something similarly strange about Jewish life. Late last year, Perry compared Hannukah to the Boston Tea Party, which he certainly appears to think has something to do with the current astroturf conglomeration. In so doing, he managed to misunderstand both stories while striking a very strange tone.
In Texas or outside of it, Rick Perry will be somewhere making news, at least until he (probably, but who can be certain) loses the presidential primary again early next year.
Meanwhile in Austin, we have learned at 11am on February 17th, very few Texans will hear from Greg Abbott as he makes his first State of the State address. One suspects he’ll praise the Texas left to him by the Rick Perry years, and maybe throw some bones to Texas’ desperate transportation needs.
In an interview with the Tribune before his inauguration, Abbott said that in his State of the State, he would focus on “bread-and-butter issues that will continue to keep Texas on a pathway toward being the best state in the nation.” He said these included improving the state’s education system, securing the border and investing in roads.
Abbott won’t be trying to improve the state’s schools by adding any money into the unconstitutionally underfunded classrooms, though. Don’t expect that much. Abbott practically begs for heavy cynicism as we enter another who-knows-how-long era of Republican gubernatorial failure.