Texas A&M

The magazine's current cover story on Rick Perry takes a close look at the cronyism and funny math involved in his two job creation funds, which have doled out more than $800 million in taxpayer money, including to many enterprises backed by his top campaign contributors, in return for the "creation" of jobs that prove hard to find on the ground.

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Something about Rick Perry seems to inspire conversation that is awfully elemental. First, he was praying for rain. Then there were the Texas wildfires last month, and the question of whether or not they were related to the man-made climate change in which Perry does not believe. And now comes the rock. We'll leave it to others to litigate just exactly when a certain offensive word was visible on the boulder at the entrance to piece of land that Perry and his father starting leasing as a hunting ranch starting in the 1980s.

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The Permanent Candidate

What’s driving Rick Perry?

What’s driving Rick Perry?

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Neither Rick Perry nor Mitt Romney should have been surprised by a single serious question during Thursday night’s clunker of a debate sponsored by Fox News and an obtrusive Google promoting word clouds and grainy average-citizen videos.

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Rick Perry is wrong about many things, including (but not limited to) the reality of climate change, the treasonous nature of quantitative easing, and the execution of innocent men. But give the man credit: He’s got some smart ideas about higher education. The fact that most liberals think otherwise reveals a glaring weakness in the progressive education agenda.  Perry’s push to reform the academy came late in his decade-long tenure as Texas governor, after he finished filling the state’s public university governing boards with his personal appointees.

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  What Rick Perry has achieved in his inaugural strut on the political stage is unprecedented in the annals of modern conservative history from Barry Goldwater to Sarah Palin. It is not just that the Texas governor has dominated the news cycle, overshadowed the Iowa Straw Poll, vaulted over every GOP contender except Mitt Romney in the national polls, and reduced Karl Rove to sputtering frustration.

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In the popular imagination of large portions of the pundit class, Rick Perry is not only a popular Republican governor of Texas, but a legendary campaigner the likes of which the nation hasn’t seen for years. Here is a man, we’ve been told, who has never lost a single race, a person whose personal charm and keen political instincts had proven, time and again, irresistible to voters. But, a closer look at his history on the stump reveals that, while it’s true that Perry is undefeated in electoral contests, his mythic reputation isn’t entirely earned.

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Missile Man

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon By Neil Sheehan (Random House, 534 pp., $35)   In late March 1953, a colonel named Bernard Schriever sat in a briefing room at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, listening as John von Neumann, the brilliant mathematician, and Edward Teller, the physicist, discussed the future of the hydrogen bomb, the far more powerful follow-on to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki eight years earlier.

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Brief Reviews

Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing by Frank E. Vandiver (Texas A&M Univ, Press; $35, 2 vols.)  Arthur M, Schlesinger, Jr. divides the American military tradition between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers: on the one side, Grant, Marshall, Ridgeway; on the other, McClellan, Patton, MacArthur. Pershing was a Roundhead, although which side he would have chosen between Cromwell or Charles I is a matter of conjecture; he was probably the finest example we have of this better side of American generalship.

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