The Campaign Spot

David Frum’s Suspicion About Rick Perry’s Fortune

David Frum characterizes the argument in the post below (and today’s Jolt) as, “If Rick Perry is dumb, why is he rich?” (Not exactly what I wrote, but I’ll put that aside.) He points to the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s tracking of Perry’s net worth, and the number of times the governor has made real-estate deals with developers who had business with state government, and the number of times those real-estate deals have paid off quite well for Perry.

The insinuation, of course, is that Rick Perry is corrupt, that those with business dealings with the state government have used the real-estate deals as a back-door way of bribes.

I’d note that for the Horseshoe Bay property, Perry bought at a relative trough in the real estate market (2001) and sold near the peak of the bubble (2007), and Texas home prices enjoyed some particularly good years in there. One of Perry’s earliest land deals ended with a modest profit ($70,000 over three years) and for another one, Perry enjoyed the good fortune of owning the land that computer magnate Michael Dell needed to connect his new home to municipal sewer lines.

Last year the Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Texas, Bill White, tried to make an issue of it, and Texans largely yawned. Some of these deals go back to Perry’s time as Texas agriculture commissioner in the early 1990s. Fascinatingly, through six statewide general-election races in addition to some brutal primary fights (even by Texas standards), none of Perry’s rivals have managed to get the accusations to stick or persuaded voters that anything corrupt occurred. Throughout the 1990s, the Texas attorney general was Dan Morales, a Democrat, who would seemingly have no partisan reluctance about investigating a bribery accusation of a Republican state officeholder.

Perhaps it is voter cynicism. Perhaps the cacophony of negative attacks in Texas politics makes voters tune out or discount all charges.  Or perhaps, as Perry claims, he “did everything open and honest, at arm’s length” and there’s not enough there to justify charges, or even implicit suggestions, of corruption.

UPDATE: I would add that to the best of our our knowledge, these deals have not generated even any preliminary investigations from any U.S. Attorney’s offices.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More