After Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was unexpectedly indicted late Friday, the Republican governor discovered some unexpected allies: observers who generally don’t care for Perry blasted the charges against him.
MSNBC’s Ari Melber, for example, characterized the case against the Texas governor as “weak.” Jon Chait called the charges “ridiculous.” Rick Hasen and David Axelrod reached similar conclusions. Scott Lemieux, summarizing the thoughts of many, added, “I’m as contemptuous of Perry as anyone, but this seems really thin.”
Benjy Sarlin joked, “It’s hard to believe an issue would get liberal commentators rallying on Rick Perry’s side, but this indictment seems to be doing it.”
And while the Republican governor and likely presidential candidate is clearly pleased by his reluctant backers, he doesn’t exactly look above the fray when he blames President Obama for an indictment handed down by a Texas grand jury.
The governor, who appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” also used the occasion to criticize President Obama, saying he was responsible for a national erosion of the “rule of law.” […]Mr. Perry repeatedly invoked the “rule of law,” suggesting that it had suffered under Mr. Obama, whether in the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service, enforcement of border security or surveillance by the National Security Agency.
Look, if the governor wants to mount a proper defense against the pending felony counts, fine. Apparently, he’ll even enjoy a fair amount of support from the left.
But if Perry wants to position himself as a responsible chief executive, who’s been targeted for petty and partisan reasons, his baseless complaining about the president won’t help his broader public-relations cause.
For one thing, there is no IRS scandal; border security has never been stronger; and it’s Perry’s party that supports expansive NSA surveillance. If this is the best the governor can do to offer proof of Obama eroding the “rule of law,” he’s going to need a new talking point.
For another, let’s not forget that the Obama administration has literally nothing to do with Perry’s indictment. The Texas grand jury was empaneled by Texas prosecutors scrutinizing Texas law.
But taking a step back, it’s hard not to notice the pattern: when Republicans find themselves in a difficult position, they reflexively try to blame the president whether it makes sense or not. Eric Cantor lost a primary? Blame President Obama. John Boehner failed to pass immigration bills? Blame President Obama. Bob McDonnell was indicted on corruption charges? Blame President Obama. Sam Brownback fared much worse than expected in a GOP primary? Blame President Obama. Chris Christie’s plan screwed up New Jersey’s finances? Blame President Obama.
It’s getting a little silly.