Wait, the Republican Debates Have Actually Been Really Informative
November 11, 2011

The clichéd phrase “debate season” is inescapable. There was a Republican debate on CNBC Wednesday night. Tomorrow will see another shootout, this one down in South Carolina. But these events seem to have won few fans. They are being mocked and denounced by everyone from Bill O’Reilly to MSNBC contributors.

Just a Tiny Bit of Sincere Sympathy for Rick Perry
November 03, 2011

It’s been a bad few months for Rick Perry—actually, just a really bad entire campaign. His poll numbers are in the toilet; recently he has found himself in the news mainly for his campaign’s possible role in stoking allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain, and for a strange and fumbling speech he delivered last Friday in New Hampshire, which led many to wonder if he was drunk. For the most part, we are relieved by this development. Perry would be a terrible president, far worse for the country than Mitt Romney.

This Ad Brought To You By Anthony Kennedy
November 01, 2011

We're getting our first glimpses of life in Super-PACistan, and it's not pretty. Yesterday, Rick Perry's campaign released a new television ad in which Perry describes himself as a "doer, not a talker" and goes on to talk about Texas' impressive job creation record. This morning, another new ad went up in Iowa and South Carolina, a classic biographical spot introducing Perry as the son of a tenant farmer and husband of a nurse, before going on to talk again about Texas' job creation record.

Rich Texas Kids [Heart] Perry
October 28, 2011

When I was in Texas last month reporting on, among other things, the remarkable fund-raising operation Rick Perry built for himself in that state, one of the lingering questions was whether he'd be able to duplicate it on the national stage. Texas has no limits on contributions, which is why Perry had, by 2006, 85 donors giving at least $25,000 to him every cycle.

Rick Perry Has a Path to Recovery—and He's Already on It
October 27, 2011

By any conventional standard, Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy should be a bad memory by now. From roughly mid-September to mid-October, he had about as bad a month as a candidate could have. He was consistently hesitant, defensive, and inarticulate in a series of high-profile candidate debates. But more importantly, he gave deep offense to conservatives by continuing to support a Texas program providing in-state college tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants.

Insider's Insights on the Perry Shake-up
October 25, 2011

When I was in Austin last month reporting on the rise of Rick Perry, Texas political insiders again and again would praise Perry's political team for its cohesion and stability -- a close-knit group of associates and advisers he'd accumulated over the years, each of which knew his or her role and strengths and weaknesses, and each of which ultimately deferred to the unquestioned leader, Dave Carney, Perry's acerbic chief strategist. There was just one caveat I kept hearing: it would not necessarily be an easy transition for this team to move onto the national stage.

Hey, That's My Line! (Updated Reader Quiz)
October 25, 2011

Reader quiz! Guess which pundit just said the following: There are moral, public health and economic reasons not to have the sick and injured go untreated. Hint: It's not Paul Krugman or Keith Olbermann. The answer is...  Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative blogger.* Just to be clear about the context, she wasn’t trying to make the point that Krugman or Olbermann (or I) would with a statement like that. In other words, this wasn't part of an argument for universal health insurance.

Sunday's Lunch Special
October 23, 2011

What's for lunch today? Once again, nothing at all if you're one of 23,000 inmates in the Texas state prisons, which have decided to eliminate weekend lunch in order to save $2.8 million this year.

Saturday's Lunch Special
October 22, 2011

What's for lunch today? In many Texas prisons, nothing. The Times had a remarkable story tucked inside Friday's paper noting that Rick Perry's administration has decided to stop serving lunch on Saturdays and Sundays in order to help deal with the state's budget troubles. Not serving lunch to 23,000 inmates is the better part of $2.8 million in prison-system savings being sought this year.

Rick Perry, Please Come Home: Why Texas Needs Its Governor Back
October 20, 2011

Austin, Texas—Rick Perry has a problem. No, it’s not the name of his hunting lease. It’s not his wobbly performances in the debates. It’s not even where he stands on the issues. Indeed, as the longest-serving governor of the nation’s second-most populous state, Rick Perry is perfectly qualified to run for president. Instead, the Texas governor’s big problem is that his state, contrary to the pitch he’s giving crowds nationally, is in trouble, big trouble.