August 26, 2010
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Dear Governor Perry:
It comes as no surprise that you chose to hide behind surrogates to respond to the ad we recently ran in 24 Texas newspapers. The way you responded underscores the central point of our ad – that your refusal to debate or meet with editorial boards is cowardly.
When are you going to come out of hiding and speak for yourself? Is that not what a real leader is supposed to do?
Read for more from our open letter to Governor Perry after the jump.
When it comes to standing before the people of Texas and offering a public defense of your failed record, your actions have been cowardly.
When it comes to respecting the long tradition of visiting with the editorial boards of Texas newspapers, your actions have been cowardly.
We are talking about political courage, moral courage, the courage required to take it as well as you dish it out. You have been sorely lacking in that quality. When a politician is afraid to defend his own record in public with an opponent – in an election that will determine our state’s future – we call that cowardice.
We stand by our ad, because it is true. Don’t expect a retraction.
Governor, your cowardice in refusing to debate runs contrary to the "tough guy" image your handlers have so carefully manufactured, and the arrogant words you so frequently utter.
Remember when you dismissed a reporter’s question about why you choose to live in a $10,000-a-month taxpayer-funded mansion in the face of an $18 billion budget deficit? Your flip response was, "If that’s the best cut anybody’s got... bring it on."
With false bravado meant to agitate an extreme segment of the right wing before a primary election you nearly lost, you recklessly bragged about seceding from this great country that we love.
You swagger around Texas in high dollar cowboy boots with boastful slogans, like "come and take it", talking about toughness and grit. But you’re afraid of a debate?
We are thrilled that our ad has sparked a conversation among families, friends and coworkers about the responsibility you have to all Texans to engage in a debate. Texans are not just talking about the first word of our ad, but also about the more than 500 words that appeared after "coward".
Our ad laid out multiple, specific failures you simply refuse to acknowledge or explain. You try to hide your record at your own peril because Texans are taking notice.
Saying one thing and doing another appears to be one of your most consistent character traits. Remember the Federal Stimulus money? You loudly proclaimed it was an abomination. You publicly told your Tea Party friends that you despised the very notion.
Then, behind the scenes, you wrote a personal letter to President Obama asking for stimulus money for Texas. After railing against the evils of stimulus money, you used $16 billion in Federal Stimulus money to balance your own state budget deficit – and then bragged about it. Not exactly a profile in courage.
Governor, you are a 25 year career politician - the longest serving Governor in Texas history. You should know that Texas families deserve an open debate. Politicians like you have a responsibility to explain their records and to make their plans known. In 2002, you bragged that you were willing to participate in up to 12 debates. Now, you refuse to show up for even one? Governor, you have a duty to the people of Texas to engage in an open debate.
Texans need to hear straight from you about the condition in which you have left our state. Texans need to know the impact of your poor choices upon their lives.
So, you claim you want to talk about the issues? Why wait?
While this neither can nor should serve as a substitute for a real debate, below are 12 simple questions written in debate format. You even have the luxury of carefully scripting your answers, which you will not have in a real debate. This is an open letter, released to the public. We respectfully request that you likewise make your answers public.
Back to Basics PAC
Questions for Governor Rick Perry:
- The science is clear. Quality pre-kindergarten programs lead to lower dropout rates and lower costs. Students are less likely to become teenage parents, and they earn more as adults. Knowing this, why did you veto a bill enhancing funding for full day pre-kindergarten programs?
- Almost 1,000,000 Texans are unemployed. Why did you turn down over half a billion dollars in stimulus money that would have offered much needed help to so many Texans who have lost their jobs? These funds would have helped replenish the Unemployment Insurance Fund, which was so depleted that you had to raise taxes on small businesses in the middle of a recession.
- Why did you turn down stimulus money to help the unemployed, but still take $11 million in stimulus money to rebuild the Governor’s Mansion?
- Also, you misrepresented yourself on television, claiming to have rejected federal stimulus funds. The truth is, you were only able to balance the state budget using $17 billion in stimulus money. Why did you rail against stimulus spending in public, and yet send Barack Obama a letter requesting billions of dollars in stimulus money?
- Why did you falsely blame the Texas Legislature and the Texas Department of Public Safety for making you live in your $10,000-a-month rental mansion paid for by Texas taxpayers?
- In 2003, you balanced the budget by signing a disastrous bill allowing colleges and universities to set their own tuition rates. As a result of your actions, tuition rates have risen 72% and Texans are finding it harder to provide a college education for their kids. What is your plan to bring tuition rates back toward the levels before you deregulated them?
- You claim to be all about private property rights, but you were in favor of the most massive use of eminent domain in Texas history for your Trans Texas Corridor scheme. Now, you claim it is dead, even though several toll projects overlap with the old TTC routs. Do you still support tolling existing roads that taxpayers have already paid for?
- Texas is facing an $18 billion budget deficit. Your spokesman said that you would do "just like we did in 2003" to fill the budget hole. You balanced the budget in 2003 by cutting hundreds of thousands of children off of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Do you really plan to balance the budget on the backs of children like you did in 2003?
- Will you shut down your failed Texas Enterprise Fund to help close your budget gap?
- One proposal that has been floated by Republican supporters of yours is to allow for larger class sizes, which is set at 22 students from kindergarten to 4th grade. With Texas in a dropout crisis, does it make sense to cut funding for students in their most formative years?
- Your Department of Family and Protective Services is suggesting an 84% cut in prevention and early intervention programs combatting child abuse. How do you justify this cut when Texas already ranks poorly against other states in terms of child abuse?
- In 2003, you deregulated homeowners’ insurance rates. Under your watch, homeowners’ insurance companies have pocketed $14.5 billion, double than what they pocketed under Governors Bush and Richards combined. Now, Texas families are paying more - some of the highest rates compared to the rest of the country – and are getting less in return. How will you reverse your policies that allowed insurance rates to skyrocket? Will you sign a bill that requires insurers to justify their rate increases before passing them along to Texas homeowners?
Texans deserve to have Governor Perry answer these questions in an open debate. We need more than a scared Governor that's hiding in the shadows like a little boy, and it's time for Governor Perry to man up and face Texans about his failures in office.
Please help us spread the word about Perry's refusal to stand up and face Texans like a man on Facebook and on Twitter!
Spread The Word About www.PerryIsACoward.com!
written by Noelle Bell aka slinkerwink, Director of New Media, at Back To Basics PAC