There was a time, a far, far better time, when people invented a famous saying. “Close enough for government work.” It was profoundly complimentary. It wasn’t a joke. They were not kidding. They were not accusing humble Civil Servants such as me of living large on the struggling plumber’s dime.
Today, quite sadly the meaning of that phrase has undergone a tragic transformation. The Colorado Region of the EPA literally brought in a workforce violence consultant to figure out how to deal with an employee who insisted in leaving scatology strewn about the hallways. To me, there was a simpler idea. Make like a regulatory agency and enforce a (Bleep! Bleep!) standard. Where was Crucifixion Al when the EPA needed the guy?
A recent turn of events in Texas perhaps partially explains why government leaders do such a poor job of combating blatant corruption and professional disinterest in their ranks. This involves a disgusting turn of events starting with a Texas DA doing her best impression of Jabba The Hutt pickled in Stoly and ending with Texas Governor Rick Perry being indicted for two felony counts of abusing his powers. His abuse of power consisted of him attempting to enforce a basic standard of conduct and decency among people paid on the public dime.
Here we see Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg getting arrested for DWI.
Here she is in jail after being practically scraped off the side of the road with a spatuala.
So Rosemary goes to the can for 45 days. She then decides that having a DWI conviction is not a problem that should make a District Attorney resign from office. At this point Texas Governor, Rick Perry intervened in disgust. He threatened to veto any funding to Rosemary Lehmberg’s office unless she stepped down.
In response to this veto threat, Rick Perry has been indicted on two felony counts for abusing his executive power. Here’s what happens when a governor attempts to enforce a basic standard of competence and decency against a grotesquely corrupt bureaucracy.
The criminal investigation involving Mr. Perry and his aides began when a nonprofit government watchdog group, Texans for Public Justice, filed a complaint last June accusing the governor of misdemeanor and felony offenses over his veto threat. A judge appointed a special prosecutor — Mr. McCrum, a San Antonio lawyer and former federal prosecutor — and the grand jury began hearing the case in April.
So Governor Perry steps up and demands some basic accountability from this wretched lush of a harridan by vetoing state funding for her cantina- oops, I mean office. The response to this isn’t utter outrage that this disgusting, stone-livered excuse for a public servant lives large off the public burse, but rather an indictment of Governor Perry because he sees this disgusting scene play out and decides to put his foot down.
There are an awful lot of people in America who feel an intense disrespect for the class of individuals who govern our land. They see nothing to admire about the tawdry spectacle of how our political class operates with open baronial arrogance and a complete lack of any regard for the public trust they have sworn to uphold. Governor Perry, who could go to jail for 5 years or longer if convicted of having a high enough standard decency to do something about the revolting behavior of Rosemary Lehmberg, had the following to say.
Perry stood firmly behind his actions, saying Lehmberg, who remains in office, behaved in “an incredibly inappropriate way” after her arrest, was “abusive to law enforcement” and had to be restrained. Lehmburg, who was shown in a video kicking the door of her cell and sticking her tongue out, had a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, Perry said. “Americans and Texans who have seen this agree with me that that is not an individual who is heading up an office that we can afford to fund,” Perry said. “Given that information, and given that choice again, that is exactly what I would do.”
This case is about a lot more than whether Rick Perry gets to run for President. He did that four years ago and his performance in part inspired my endorsement – of Rick Santorum. Don’t get me wrong, Perry would make a serviceable Veep. The point here is not just the electoral jousting match. Our government needs to have a basic standard. Whether you like it or not, how Civil Servants such as myself behave sets a standard by which the rest of society is judged. Rick Perry serves his state well be upholding common decency among public employees and elected office holders.
If Rick Perry goes to jail for putting salt on an odious slug of public malfeasance like Rosemary Lehmberg, we can start seeing the sands running out of the hour-glass for decent representative government. Incarcerate Rick Perry for enforcing basic decency and you can watch basic decency go bye-bye. Short of an armed threat of violence, nothing will make the average American uphold a higher standard of conduct than Rosemary Lehmberg except for their personal codes of honor.