Patricia Kilday Hart wrote all her hopes and dreams into a column this morning and, pretending it was punditry, declared that if Rick Perry loses the presidential nomination bid he will have no more power in Texas.
Wonder of wonders, her big conclusion was that Republicans can begin looking for new revenue streams instead of having to look for ways to make government more efficient.
In a funny choice, she described finding new revenue sources as "innovative thinking". After all, raising revenues has always been a puzzle for state legislators (this concludes our tour of a desperate political imagination).
Back on Earth, opportunity for new revenues are about as common as cop shows. They include, but are not limited to, raising the: soda tax, gas tax, property tax, taxes on oil, car registration fees, hotel tax, satellite tax, title transfer fees, license renewal fees, and many, many others. All of them are tried pretty much every session.
Giving Hart the benefit of the doubt for not being completely ignorant of Texas politics, perhaps by ‘innovative’ Hart meant ‘new’, as in, 'hasn't been done yet in Texas'.
On this theory, perhaps by ‘innovative’ Hart is referring to the income tax (a decades-old drumbeat from the left).
Or perhaps by ‘innovative' Hart means expanded gambling (this drumbeat is almost as old as the income tax drumbeat).
The only truly innovative idea for new revenue is what the Republican establishment — the people Hart explicitly wrote her column to — is already planning.
This is the plan to work the state into a froth over our “funding crisis", insisting the income tax is our only salvation.
An income tax has almost no chance of passing since Texas defenses against the income tax are about as thick as calluses on an old rancher's hands, but, this is actually the point.
Just as big spenders use education cuts for their emotional value, doom and gloom about an inevitable income tax is going to be trumpeted early and often in the 83rd legislature, with full knowledge of, even dependence on, the fact that it is the hottest button in Texas.
Then, late in the session when everyone is bedraggled, the innovative part will come out: let's substitute expanded gambling for an income tax!
They hope nobody talks about public school choice, zero-based budgeting and other truly innovative ways to cut spending. Talk can only be of revenue increases.
Systemic reform is that-which-cannot-be-spoken-of because Texas government needs to be thought of as lean and mean for their plans to work. Texas government is not lean and mean.
Jokes by Hart about how finding new revenue takes innovation were only surpassed in hilarity when Hart opined that Rick Perry will be powerless next session if he returns.
The first laugh in the bunch is right in the title: Governor. He will be the sitting governor. A Civics 101 lesson would be tiresome, but suffice it to say the governor still has lots of power just because he's governor, regardless of any political conditions. He can squash mere legislators.
But the funniest thing is that Gov. Perry, should he come back to Texas, will be coming back with one of the most massive war chests of any sitting governor in the history of sitting governors.
See, one thing about Rick Perry the presidential campaigner is that he raises money like a house on fire. Yeah, and he gets to keep what he doesn't spend.
If he comes back, Governor Perry will be the donor, folks. Directing funds will be a quaint old trick.
Not only that, if he returns, Gov. Perry will need nobody. No reelection = freedom. He'll then be freer to do the things he got into politics for than he's been in his entire political career. Life and liberty will be on the march in Texas because he'll be rich, he'll need no more favors, he'll be playing for his legacy, and his audience will be his Maker.
And then, he could surprise everyone by running again, in which case he'd be the extreme favorite and all of the people Perry has made happy will make sure he's flush.
Patricia Kilday Hart, the rest of the liberals, and the moderate Republicans better hope Rick Perry is our next president. Maybe they should even make a donation; add to the war chest. It wouldn't be a bad investment for them.
Hart’s column was not political punditry. It was fantasy disguised as political news. It defied categories, but the closest one is comedy.
-Patricia Kilday Hart article