Gov. Rick Perry gets his.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, was indicted Friday in an investigation into an effort to force a local official out of office. A grand jury in Austin handed up the indictment in a long-running investigation of Perry’s threat to veto state funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.
The threat came after Lehmberg pleaded guilty to drunken driving and served a 45-day sentence last year, NBC station KXAN of Austin reported. Perry called on her to step down, but she refused; Perry then vetoed the funding. The grand jury issued indictments (PDF) Friday on charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of public servant, both of them felonies.
Attorneys for Perry vowed to “aggressively defend” the governor. David Botsford, an attorney whom Perry had hired to represent him in the investigation, said he was “outraged and appalled” by the indictment.
A lot of Democrats are crowing that this is the end of Mr. Perry’s second attempt to run for president in 2016. But the Republicans will see these indictments from a grand jury in the liberal bastion of Austin as a badge of honor and make him even more of a star for them. After all, this is the party that has three other governors under investigation — Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Nathan Deal of Georgia, and … I forgot the other one (Rick Perry humor there) … oh yeah, Chris Christie of New Jersey — and they’re not worried at all.
That’s one difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. A whiff of scandal will doom a Democrat such as the recently aborted campaign of Sen. John Walsh in Montana when he was accused of plagiarism on a paper from his college days. But if you’re a Republican, you can pay off hookers like Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and not only win re-election, you can run for governor.
When you’re the party of good governing, personal responsibility, and Jesus, you can pull off shit like that. Those righteous folks love a good martyr.