Even the New York Times editorial board thinks the grand jury indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry is baseless. In an editorial dripping with contempt for their own conclusions, the Times is compelled to confess that there is really no there there.
“One has to read this editorial to appreciate the angst it engendered in the Gray Lady’s panel of handwringers,” Ed Morrissey observed. “It’s an expert lesson in the use of weasel words.”
Conservatives have rallied to Perry’s side following this baseless indictment. Democrats have scrambled to disassociate themselves from his accusers. Many thought that Perry may end up emerging, paradoxically, in a better political position for having been indicted on corruption charges.
But Rosemary Lehmberg, the local district attorney who managed to secure this indictment and who many believe was exacting political retribution against Perry after he sought her removal from the bench for her DUI arrest, may end up with the last laugh.
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to turn himself into authorities Tuesday afternoon at a local Texas jail on the heels of his indictment for alleged abuse of power, a member of the governor’s legal team told Fox News,” a report read on Tuesday. “Fox News has learned Perry will have his mugshot and fingerprints taken.”
That’s really bad news for those who backed Perry’s prospective 2016 presidential campaign. No matter how frivolous the charges Perry faces, and they are frivolous, few politicians can recover from having a police mugshot follow them around wherever they go. And Perry’s mugshot will do just that in 2015 and 2016.
Life isn’t fair, and neither are high-dollar Republican donors – the kind of people a prospective candidate needs to woo in order to mount an even remotely competitive presidential campaign. Perry has been effectively positioning himself as a more conservative but still electable alternative to more centrist candidates like Chris Christie and Jeb Bush in his pitch to donors, but the notoriously skittish GOP donor base will be nervous about backing a candidate with optics as bad as those the Texas governor will earn today.
Maybe Perry can turn this around and turn even his mugshot into an advantage, as he has so effortlessly with the indictment that precipitated it. But that remains to be seen. When the Republican base’s protective instinct has worn off, that mugshot will still be there. Make no mistake, this is a serious blow to Perry’s viability as a national candidate.