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Monday, January 25, 2010

Does Perry Campaign Use ACORN Playbook?

Texas Governor Rick Perry held a Bloggers Summit over the weekend. One can assume this was to spotlight what the Governor considers to be his astute social networking skills. Also on the agenda was an outing billed as Shootin' with the Governor (Perry) by nationally known writer and columnist, Roger L. Simon. Simon regales a swell tale of fun on the shooting range - Red's Indoor Range South - in Austin with Governor Perry. Simon goes on to speak of Perry's re-election efforts and his appeal to the Tea Party crowd. Interesting, as this Governor is no more part of the Tea Party movement than his strongest challenger, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Mr. Simon also writes he was a part of "a smaller group" who were invited to dine with Governor Perry. Andrew Breitbart, new media star with his websites Big Hollywood.com and Big Gov.com, etc, was also there and equally impressed with Perry's new media suaveness. Why, the Governor whipped out his Mac right there at the dinner table and went online! Wouldn't most people, certainly those of the South, consider such a egocentric gesture just plain bad manners?

Something didn't sound right when this Bloggers Summit was first announced. It was all just a bit too cozy, this gathering of new media folk and the top Texas politician, running in a primary re-election bid against two challengers. Aren't these folks the same who denounce the tight relationship between traditional media and politicians, particularly President Obama and his administration? Just noticing a bit of a parallel.

Maybe out of state folks don't realize that Perry is not a grass roots candidate. Not in the Tea Party mode, certainly. Perry is beholdin' to just as many lobbyists as others running for office. Maybe these folks don't know Perry wanted a mandate that all young girls - by grade 6- be vaccinated with a new drug that was to prevent cervical cancer, conveniently connecting with his pharma lobbyist donors, as an example of his ties. Bowing to lobbyists and nanny state government all with one swoop.

The Dallas Morning News published a report that claims the Perry campaign has paid convicted felons as part of their "Perry Home Headquarters" program. This program also raised red flags with me at its inception. The program pays supporters to sign up friends and acquaintances as Perry supporters who pledge to vote for Perry. Paying supporters to vote? Isn't this a bit too similar to claims by those criticizing ACORN get out the vote efforts? With large efforts like this, the infusion of less than above board characters will surface. Apparently this has happened within the Perry program, too. A point brought up in the Dallas Morning News article is that convicted felons are not eligible to vote in Texas.

So far, the expenditure for 'grass roots' support by the campaign is at $360,000, according to Gromer Jeffers, Jr. - the reporter for the Dallas Morning News. It is reported that though the campaign urges these compensated part time 'volunteers' to recruit registered voters, many of the names given to the effort have been of people not registered to vote or from outside Texas.