October 02, 2011

#RickPerrysTexasMiracle: N-head fallout

The offensive appearance of the word "Niggerhead," painted on a rock, at the entrance to a hunting camp possessing that name, a hunting camp his father, then Rick Perry himself, rented from the landowner, is going to have political fallout.

It may be having that fallout already. If Faux News is giving extended airtime to Pizza Man Herman Cain, the one black GOP presidential candidate, to call this "insulting," well, this story is going to gain GOP legs. And, there's probably some old reasons behind that, which I'll discuss below.

First, the basics of the story.

Perry claims:
“My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984,” Perry wrote. “This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.”
But, that's directly contradicted by several others, at the start of page 3 of the story:
Of those interviewed, the seven who said they saw the rock said the block-lettered name was clearly visible at different points in the 1980s and 1990s. One, a former worker on the ranch, believes he saw it as recently as 2008.
 And, no, this apparently wasn't a pebble, or a small stone:
“I was just so taken aback that it was so blatant, so in your face,” said a person from the Dallas area who visited the camp once in 1990 or 1991 and did not want to be named in a story potentially critical of Perry. “It was just, ‘whop.’ It was a big rock, big enough to write that whole thing out.”
Actually, I should say "isn't" and not "wasn't," because, as of earlier this year, the Post says the rock was still at the entrance, with the word still visible underneath a thin coat of white paint. The easy thing to do would have been to broken the rock up, not just paint it over.

That said, Pizza Man Herman Cain, the one black GOP presidential candidate has awakened from his earlier denialism about the history of Republican racism.and called Perry "insensitive."

And the rock "insulting":
There "isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country," said Cain, who is running against Perry and a group of others for the Republican presidential nomination.
If Fox is giving it this much play, that's a BIG trouble sign for Tricky Ricky.

And, the Cain anointing continues, this time from Michael Barone.

Perry himself has issued a boilerplate  press release denial, with a heaping helping a weaselry, through his staff.
Governor Perry and his family never owned, controlled or managed the property referenced in the Washington Post story. The 42,000-acre ranch is owned by the Hendricks Home for Children, a West Texas charity.
So, you couldn't have said anything? Done anything? But .. .you DID! Your dad was the one who allegedly painted over the name. Or halfway covered it up.

It appears like Perry's dad, Perry himself, or both, wanted to have their cake and eat it, too. Cover up the name enough to make it look like they were racially sensitive, but still leave the name showing enough to others to indicate that, if not racist, at least they had no problems with what was accepted old heritage for most of white Texas not so long ago. (See my original post for more on the story, the sundown town background of the area and more.)

Now, where did the sourcing on this story come from?

Two words: Karl Rove. Coming just two weeks after the AP ran a story about how George W. Bush, at Rove's prompting, refused to name Perry's brother-in-law to a state appeals court vacancy, where else would this come from? The number of people whom were interviewed, etc.? The initial information, and specific people to contact, came from Rove, certainly.

Unless Perry wants to get really dirty in fighting back (and wouldn't THAT be fun?) he'd be best suited by finding a graceful way to pull out. Who knows what else is in Rove's holster?

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