Rick Perry owes American men and women an apology for treating them as collateral to his gutless political campaign. Perry's statement in support of blocking the defense spending bill is Republican primary rhetoric at its worst. I demand that Rick Perry apologize to the brave men and women who are defending us overseas so he can have the freedom to speak his cowardly mind.
–Texas Democratic Party Chairman, Boyd Richie (Source)
Every crazy move Rick Perry makes to the right only makes it that much harder for him to swing back to the center in the general election. His latest anti-Washington zeal shows that he has no limits to what he will do — no matter how big of an overreach it may be — including advocating against supporting our troops. Moreover, he will continue to get away with such statements and positionings so long as everyone focuses solely on the political process of his actions, and ignores the policy implications of his valueless statements.
Last week, Republican Senators in Congress were stalling the health care legislation by attempting to filibuster a defense spending bill, which needed to be voted on before they could move on to the health care legislation. The bill, which received huge bipartisan support in the House, contained the following:
- More than $100 billion operations and maintenance, and military personnel requirements for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to support preparations to continue withdrawal from Iraq.
- More than $23 billion for equipment used by our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan – including critical funds to accelerate the deployment of new mine-resistant vehicles
- More than $150 billion to increase readiness and training of our troops.
- Nearly $30 billion for health care for service members and their families.
- A 3.4% pay increase for our brave service men and women.
A defense spending bill that gives a pay raise to our troops? Should be a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Republicans in the Senate were refusing to vote on the bill, valuing their partisan opposition to health care over the safety of the American men and women who serve in the military. Finally, late Thursday night / Friday morning, Kay Bailey Hutchison joined her fellow Republican Senators to end the filibuster in the Senate. Rick Perry — forever the political opportunist — saw an opening, and without hesitation or concern for the policy reasons for his actions, began a massive attack on Senator Hutchison.
I'm not one to defend Senator Hutchison — there are very real reasons why she is a Republican opportunist, which the TDP has detailed here — but, I mean, come on. It's a defense spending bill. Republicans want to oppose a defense spending bill? Rick Perry wants to attack Senator Hutchison for supporting a defense spending bill?
From a policy perspective, it is sheer lunacy. We can't support sending our troops overseas and not support giving them the equipment and resources they need to succeed. From a political perspective, it is extremely arrogant. Rick Perry is banking on the idea that he can go to the far, far, far, far, far right in the primary, and not suffer any consequences in his run against Bill White.
Perry is miscalculating on this one. He has Hutchison beat. There's no need for him to go overboard — there's no risk of Hutchison actually improving her chances in a campaign. I mean, if Rick Perry can coordinate Tea Party activists to march on Hutchison's offices (Source), then why does he need to attack the troops?
The pro-KBH blogs are attacking Rick for this, while the pro-Perry ones support his move. Read each perspective below for their spin:
- Pro-KBH, Come and Take It Blog: Why Rick’s Attack On Kay Isn’t Gaining Traction & Using the Troops as Props?
- Pro-Perry, Rick vs. Kay Blog: The Nail in Kay's Political Coffin & Kay's Horrid Vote Draws Tea Party Protesters
Here's the Perry video attacking Hutchison: