Jim Hightower

The Permanent Candidate

What’s driving Rick Perry?

What’s driving Rick Perry?

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In April 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases, though not pollutants in themselves, were subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act, because of the threats they pose to human health via climate change. It was not the sort of finding that Texas governor Rick Perry—long a skeptic, even outright denier, of anthropogenic climate change—was liable to welcome.

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True partisans don’t like to hear this—Texas Democrat Jim Hightower used to say, “There is nothing in the middle of the road, but yellow stripes and dead armadillos”—but American elections are most often battles for the political center. Whoever can marginalize their opponent by identifying them with the far left or right is likely to win. By that measure, the Democrats can be pleased with the results of the May 18 elections.

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Talking Back

EVERY WEEKDAY, FROM three in the afternoon until seven in the evening, Randi Rhodes delivers her brief against George W. Bush. Much of it is standard anti-Bush fare: He stole the 2000 election, he wrecked the economy, he led the nation into a disastrous war under dishonest pretenses. But sometimes Rhodes takes her critique into less familiar territory. Citing a book titled George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Rhodes alleges that in the 1940s Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather, sold raw materials to the Third Reich.

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