The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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Feb
20

Perry’s Political Grandstanding

By · Feb, 20 2010

With polls showing Texas Governor Rick Perry expanding his primary lead over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and within striking distance of avoiding an April runoff, he’s making moves hoping to cut into upstart candidate Debra Medina’s surging numbers. He’s hoping he can attract enough support to surpass the magical 50% threshold by taking on three of the right’s favorite bogeymen – the federal government, unions and environmentalists.

On Tuesday, Perry held a presser announcing  the state’s lawsuit challenging the EPA’s recent decision to regulate greenhouse gases. “In defense of hard-working Texans,” Perry proclaimed the litigation would “defend Texas’ environmental successes against federal overreach.”

Regarding Texas’ environmental successes, Houston and Dallas are among the seven most polluted US cities, based on ozone levels, according to the American Lung Association.

On Thursday, his office released a letter the governor wrote in support of Toyota to the Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  As the troubled automaker approaches congressional hearings Perry described the Japanese car-maker as “a valued employer and corporate citizen and an integral part of the Texas economy” and bemoaned the plight of Toyota workers who were blamelessly caught in the middle.

Who is to blame, according to Perry? Is it a corporate entity obsessed with rapid global expansion as a recent Washington Post article revealed?

Nope.

Perry places the blame on the Right’s typical targets. From the letter:

“The company has taken big steps to enhance its reputation for quality and to repair vehicles,” Perry wrote. “It does sometimes appear, however, that the negative news is being encouraged by plaintiffs’ trial lawyers, union activists and those interested in cutting into Toyota’s market share.”

Perry said that “Toyota workers are unfortunately caught in the middle” and everyone should “be able to agree that consumer and highway safety must take priority over grandstanding.”

It seems that Perry’s letter is nothing more than political posturing for the conservative base. As The Detroit News notes, Hutchison, Perry’s March 2 primary opponent, is the Ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee which also plans Toyota hearings, ironically scheduled for election day. The irony of a politician who has spent the past year courting the support of the Tea Party movement now defending the interests of an Asian car company says a lot about the cognitive dissonance  pervading current American political discourse.

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