Rick Perry — Cunning Creationist Candidate

The news is everywhere that Texas Governor Rick Perry is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination. A column by Chris Tomlinson has been widely reprinted over the past day or two. Here’s a copy in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: As conservative as they come. He points out that:

[Perry is not] a candidate whose politics are positioned to unite a Republican electorate that stretches from moderate pro-business fiscal conservatives to evangelical social conservatives, with the tea party falling somewhere along the spectrum.

[...]

He rejects the idea of global warming and the theory of evolution, arguing for natural climate variations and intelligent design of the universe.

As you know, your Curmudgeon has long been puzzled by what we see as the unnatural coupling of Conservatives and Intelligent Design. But to Perry — and for so many other GOP candidates — science rejection and political conservatism seem to be the same thing.

Perry’s appeal is largely built upon the economic success being enjoyed by Texas. He’s clever enough to imply that he deserves the credit for this. However, Texas has been a model of free enterprise for generations, and Perry is merely going along with the policies of his predecessors. For example, see Houston has no zoning laws.

Aside from his sound economic policy — a genuinely worthy issue — the centerpiece of Perry’s claim to higher office is his creationism. As our readers know, he has previously selected not one, but two successive chairmen of the Texas State Board of Education (the SBOE) who suffered the disgrace of being rejected by the Texas Senate. Those were Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist, followed by Gail Lowe. Perry’s latest choice as chairman of the SBOE — he has an endless supply of creationists on that board — is Barbara Cargill, a decision which inspired us to write Rick Perry = Bachmann with Male Genitalia.

There are some sane members of the SBOE, and some of them are even Republicans. Among those are Thomas Ratliff (who defeated McLeroy in last year’s primary), Patricia Hardy, and Bob Craig. But Perry doesn’t want a sane Republican; he wants a creationist.

As we can see in the Houston Chronicle, Perry’s latest creationist, Cargill, is already causing problems. Take a look at State education board chair already in hot seat. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The new leader of the State Board of Education is already coming under fire by critics who say she is pushing the same conservative ideology that led to her immediate predecessors’ downfall.

Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, may find her leadership skills tested during her first meeting as chair if anti-evolution members try to push “intelligent design” materials into public school biology classes when they meet next week.

Will that madness break out again? Judge for yourself as the story continues:

[Quoting Cargill:] “Right now there are six true conservative Christians on the board, so we have to fight for two votes. In previous years, we had to fight for one vote to get a majority,” she said in the speech posted by the Eagle Forum online.

How did the other board members react to that? Let’s read on:

“It offended me because I am a Christian. That seems to indicate there may be only six Christians on the board,” said Bob Craig, R-Lubbock, a Sunday school teacher and active member in his First United Methodist Church.

But Perry didn’t select Craig — a Republican — to be chairman. No, he had to reach out to the extreme end of the spectrum and pick Cargill.

So what’s going to happen? Will Perry try for the presidential nomination? Does he think he can take advantage of a Flood — wink! — of creationist sentiment and ride Noah’s Ark into the White House? That appears to be his plan.

Perry may be able to clinch the nomination that way, but we doubt that the country will elect a flaming theocrat as its President. On the other hand, considering the record of his Democrat opponent, he just might win.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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15 responses to “Rick Perry — Cunning Creationist Candidate

  1. I shudder to think of who he might appoint to head the NIH, NOAA, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and so on.

  2. My vote will go to the lesser of two evils, as usual. That doesn’t sound very inspiring. I wish there was a better choice. Perhaps, by the time the election rolls around, there will be. I wouldn’t bet my lungs, though. Both parties seem to be on the opposite ends of a twin suicide pact. I don’t remember quite this degree of intentional foot-shooting in previous elections.

  3. The Houston Chronical article draws a clear link between intelligent design and religious belief. Cargill’s statements about the number of “true Conservative Christians” on the board, also highlights the connection. The DI must be squirming right now.

    Perry is a capable politician, and certainly more experienced than Bachmann, but he’s equally crazy. I will be very surprised if the GOP nomination goes to someone with extreme positions like either of those.

  4. I will be very surprised if the GOP nomination goes to someone with extreme positions like either of those.

    From your lips to God’s ears, as they say.

  5. Ed says:

    I will be very surprised if the GOP nomination goes to someone with extreme positions like either of those.

    I won’t be surprised. But I’ll be relieved [if it doesn't happen].

  6. James F: “I shudder to think of who he might appoint to head the NIH, NOAA, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and so on.”

    Not to worry, James. If he is the true conservative he claims to be, he will immediately promulgate an executive order abolishing the NIH, NOAA, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, and so on.

  7. Perry’s appeal is largely built upon the economic success being enjoyed by Texas.

    I don’t think that having an almost $27 billion deficit is what I would consider being economically successful. Like most Republicans Perry thinks being fiscally conservative means slashing taxes to nothing while increasing spending on everything except social infrastructure. I’ll take Mitch Daniels over Rick Perry any day.

  8. @Curmudgeon:

    Are you as annoyed as I am that the word “conservative” has been hijacked by the anti-Enlightenment theocratic crowd? Actually more like “handed to them on a silver platter” by those who would, in any other setting, be considered the real conservatives. What can be more conservative than science, where fierce competition for scarce funds and the need to independently validate all results leaves almost no room for waste, fraud and abuse? (I say “almost” because H. sapiens has a “talent” to make waste, fraud and abuse anywhere they can). In contrast, what can be more liberal than teaching “revisionist prehistory” and other misinformation that has not earned the right to be taught, giving Johnny credit for wrong answer, and having taxpayers pay for it?

  9. The very fact that these terms, liberal and conservative, have been hijacked, and people get forced into an either/or position with no seeming options disgusts me.

    Conservative? Hardly. Perry is just another blowhard big business ass kisser. Houston has no zoning laws. Nifty. Houston is also a city I make it a point to drive a hundred miles out of my way to detour around, because getting through the nightmare of dilapidated and poorly executed roads takes forever.

    Perry win against President Obama? Only under one of two conditions: One, God himself were to alter the tally, or more likely, Diebold does.

  10. I will be very surprised if the GOP nomination goes to someone with extreme positions like either of those.

    Like SC, I won’t be surprised. I’m guessing the strongest GOP candidates are waiting for 2016. Fighting any incumbent is an uphill battle.

    In fact my cynical side wonders if the GOP leadership may have subtly encouraged folk like Cain and Bachmann to run this time around so that they don’t dilute the pool four years from now. We might be seeing the political equivalent of a brush-clearing fire; create a small fire now to prevent a big problem later.

  11. @retiredsciguy:If he is the true conservative he claims to be, he will immediately promulgate an executive order abolishing…

    Since when have “conservatives” shrunk the government? We have one party that pretends to hate big government, and one that doesn’t pretend.

    Furthermore, it wouldn’t even be legal to abolish those departments. Those people are all serving in departments authorized by Congress and they are civil servants. A President could refuse to appoint new Secretaries, I’m sure, and the one or two levels below that where he has the power to appoint them, but the rank and file* still gots to get paid.

    *Accidentally typed “rank and fail” here. Maybe should have left it in.

  12. Furthermore, it wouldn’t even be legal to abolish those departments.

    Congress can certainly abolish agencies – by zeroing their budget and leaving the name intact, if by no other means. Gringrich did it to OTA back in the mid 90′s.

    But I think you’re practically right in that they wouldn’t do it with something as big as the departments and agencies retiredsciguy mentions. Well…the ~30 tea partiers who are opposed to raising the debt ceiling might. But the rank and file GOP wouldn’t.

  13. eric says: “Congress can certainly abolish agencies”

    More than that. We always had a Secretary of the Army, and another cabinet member for the Navy. No more. Cabinet posts are all capable of being rearranged, merged, etc. by Congress. They could combine half of the cabinet posts into one “Department of BS” and slash its combined budget down to zilch.

  14. @eric and SC: Yeah, let’s look to Congress for leadership. I find that pretty unlikely. Congress has abdicated most of its reponsibilities to the executive–like when they let TARP funds be diverted to other purposes instead of authorizing spending separately for them.