Gov. Rick Perry is getting a little touched up by the Austin American-Statesman and Houston Chronicle for exercising some political theater yesterday. The drama played out yesterday in front of the Alamo in San Antonio. There, in front of a crowd of supporters and media, he signed HJR 14—a measure that will ask Texans to vote for an amendment to the Texas constitution regarding eminent domain. The only problem: the resolution required no signature from the governor, or anyone else for that matter.
As described by the Statesman’s Ken Herman, the event was “Beautiful. Perfect. Inspiring. And as phony as they come.” According to Herman, Perry is in need of re-establishing himself as a “private property-rights kind of guy.” In 2007, he vetoed a bill that would compensate landowners if condemnation proceedings substantially decreased their property’s value. Herman continues:
All theater needs motive. And there’s plenty here. It’s all about re-establishing Perry as a private property-rights kind of guy, a credential he covets as he heads toward a 2010 renomination battle against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The 2007 veto came on the heels of Perry’s ill-fated Trans-Texas Corridor highway project, one that also attracted the ire of folks who fear government taking of private property.
And that’s why your governor was at the Alamo to affix his superfluous southpaw signature to HJR 14.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Trans-Texas Corridor folks have picked up on yesterday’s events. The TTC News Archive depicts Perry in a coonskin cap with rifle in hand. They’ve been no fan of his for a few years now.
You can read Perry’s side of things on his campaign Web site. The title, and I kid not, is “Governor Rick Perry signs critical legislation protecting private property rights.” You can look, but I don’t think you’ll find any mention of it being for show or a complete waste of everyone’s time. (The event, that is–not what the resolution addresses.)