Monday, August 18, 2014

The unforgiving minute: Everybody gets pinched, but you did it right.

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog is teasing out an interesting theory about the effects of his indictment on Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential plans:
Incessantly trolling liberals was working for him. Tacking hard to the right on immigration was working for him. Being a martyr to evil liberalism might work for him, too.
Will indictment help Perry's chances in 2016 – at least in the GOP primaries?

I've recently begun to think that the Republican party, in its current form, has moved beyond win-at-any-cost; now even winning seems to lose some of its fizz for them unless they win dirty. Going there is no longer a tactical last resort; it's become both proof of one's willingness to play "hardball" against the enemy, and evidence that one buys into the post-Reagan ideology that government-created laws are part of the problem (or the post-Nixon article of faith that, if the President does it, it isn't illegal).

Both working historian Rick Perlstein and working journalist Charlie Pierce agree that there's a strain of Republicanism that judges its candidates by how underhanded – if not flat-out felonious – they're willing to get. Once that happens, something like Perry getting indicted for putting the screws to a Democratic-led ethics investigation of his own administration's shady doings becomes less of a political embarrassment to be covered over and more of a sacred rite of passage to be celebrated:

Perhaps we should change his nickname from "Governor Goodhair" to "Governor Goodfella." I like to think Molly Ivins would approve.

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