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USC Daily Trojan: Democrat D.A.’s Drunk Driving Arrest? So? Rick Perry’s the Problem!

Even when it’s tough to find a liberal or a Democrat (outside of Texas, mind you) who doesn’t think the lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry is frivolous, you can still count on a student newspaper op-ed to buck the trend.

Case in point: Chelsea Hernandez’s piece in the USC Daily Trojan:

On Aug. 15, Perry was indicted on two felony counts for abuse of power. He allegedly tried coercing Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg into resigning by publicly threatening to dismantle a public corruption unit she headed — all because she had pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 2013. In his attempts to control the unit and force a public servant to step down, Perry crossed an ethical line.

Ironically, Perry, not Lehmberg, seems to be the one who has truly “lost the public’s confidence.” Though his supposed intentions for wanting Lehmberg to step down seem moral, his actions say otherwise. By threatening to eliminate an important governmental unit just to force a public official to resign because of her personal past, Perry went too far. He not only abused his power as governor, but also lost the country’s trust — a dire misstep if he hopes to run for president in 2016.

On what basis does Ms. Hernandez claim that Perry has “lost the public’s confidence?” Here’s a Houston Chronicle headline: Poll: Perry favorability up among Iowa Republicans amid indictment. The Dallas News reports that the Texas governor’s indictment actually bolstered his appeal among GOP voters in New Hampshire, a key early presidential campaign battleground.

Ms. Hernandez concedes that Perry has the right to free speech (threatening a veto for the funding of Ms. Lehmberg’s unit) but says the governor, by using the threat of his constitutionally granted right of veto, “essentially blackmailed a public official into resigning.”

The veto threat couldn’t have been because of the ethical problem of someone with a drinking problem (and a DUI and belligerency towards police officers after arrest) leading a public corruption unit, could it?

Nope. It was because Perry “would have had the ability to assign a Republican to take her place, which could have further helped his political career.”

Given all the hyperbole about Governor Perry, Ms. Hernandez offered … nary a word about the “professionalism,” “ethics” and “abominable” behavior of D.A. Lehmberg.

Read the entire editorial here.

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About the Author
Assistant Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 15 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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