The Reverend Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics, opined that an officeholder's Christianity can be measured by his or her budget--the point being that Christian teachings repeatedly admonish believers to be concerned for the poor.
On the other hand, it is my belief that the level of hypocrisy of a public leader can be represented by his or her vetoes. By this standard, Governor Perry has secured his place in history as the all-time Texas Hypocrite.
For years Perry and many of his fellow Republicans have attempted to do away with the fraud unit based in the District Attorney's office of Travis County. It seems to me that an honest, law-abiding officeholder should never worry about the existence of a governmental agency whose purpose is to investigate public corruption.
Republicans have been reluctant to simply say they want to obliterate an agency to investigate wrongdoing, particularly at the state level, and have under various subterfuges attempted to divert the attention from the Travis County's very effective District Attorney's unit. On more than one occasion it has been proposed that investigation of corruption be turned over to the Attorney General of the state. Those advocating this diversion know very well that the Attorney General of Texas does not have authority to preside over a grand jury or issue criminal charges.
Recently, Perry vetoed funds for the public integrity unit using the excuse that the current officeholder of the District Attorney's office in Travis County was convicted of a misdemeanor crime--DWI. To her credit, the incumbent DA Lehmberg immediately admitted her error, pled guilty and served one of the longest sentences handed out for first-time DWI in the history of Travis County. Perry said he vetoed the funds for the public integrity unit on the grounds that everyone had lost confidence in the officeholder. It seems that mainly Republicans--who have never had any confidence in anyone that investigates them for corruption--are the ones who want to dismantle the facility.
Probably the main cause for vetoing the appropriations for this unit is the fact that too many of Perry's cronies are being looked at. There are over 400 cases the public integrity unit is investigating, including the 56 million dollar boondoggle by Perry's appointees on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. It is quite possible as well that the unit is looking into the multi-million dollar slush funds which Perry has passed out to many of his generous political contributors.
Most of Perry's vetoes were not to improve government, but mainly for political reasons. One example is Perry's veto of the bill which would have required the three elected members of the Railroad Commission to resign their positions before seeking another term. The current practice allows members of the Railroad Commission to strong-arm those they regulate into giving large political contributions for the Railroad Commissioner to seek another office. This is nothing more than legal political blackmail. Additionally, officeholders such as the governor and Railroad Commission members can use perks of public office as a resource in their election efforts. Apparently our governor, who regularly hands million-dollar bills to the taxpayers for his travel in pursuit of his presidential ambitions, is in favor of allowing officeholders to campaign on the public dime.
Even Republican Kel Seliger said it's a sad day for integrity and transparency in Texas--referring to the Perry veto of a bill which would have required disclosure of names of large contributors to secret slush funds which were to be used in political campaigns.
While the governor continues to parade his Christianity, he continues to ignore the poor and protect the rich.