Rick Perry vs. the D.U.I. D.A. - Corruption at the Lowest Levels

I'm no fan of Texas governor Rick Perry. But as a resident of Austin, Texas, I am so outraged by the indictment against him that I'd be happy to pick up a placard and protest this insanity. Here's the story in a nutshell, in case you missed it:

  1. Last year, the Austin District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (a Democrat) was caught driving the wrong way with an open bottle of vodka in her car. She was almost three times above the legal limit.

  2. Brought to jail, she became erratic and violent, and kept trying to abuse her position to be released.

  3. She then refused to resign.
  4. Only upon public calls for her head on a platter, did she arrange for a 45-day "harsh" sentence to somehow "prove" that she was contrite and fit to remain in office.
  5. The Democrats in Texas did not want her to resign because Perry could replace her with a Republican. So they have fought to keep her in office.
  6. Rick Perry then responded by demanding her resignation, and in the event that she did not, he would de-fund her office with a line-item veto (allowed by the Texas Constitution).
  7. This is apparently an "abuse of power" and he has now been indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury. (Austin, Texas is in Travis County, and Austin is the capital of Texas.) If D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg is the driving force (ahem) behind this indictment, she is an idiot. She is now going to suffer having her DUI videos resurface and become fodder for national debate. Real smart.

Local talk radio was all abuzz when the Lehmberg story initially came out. Almost universally, everyone wanted this woman fired. Granted, the talk radio in Austin skews towards the right, but I cannot remember one person defending this woman. No-one wants a D.A. who so wantonly flaunts the law - well, maybe a few, apparently.

What angered a lot of folks was that she refused to resign - and that she seemed fairly unrepentant of her actions. She acted she like a victim of everyone else.

So we complain a lot about corruption at the top, but what about corruption at the bottom? Clearly, the Travis County justice system has lost its impartiality and now runs based on partisan politics, and not what is good, fair, or right.

You might remember the old show "The Dukes of Hazzard." In it, the Duke boys were constantly on the run from the corrupt sheriff, Roscoe P. Coltraine, and the mayor, Boss Hogg. Boss Hogg had his fingers in every pie. He loved money, and he wanted more of it.

Funny. Boss Hogg's brand of corruption was fairly benign - TV's romanticized version of corruption. And you never actually saw Boss Hogg endangering lives through drunk driving - though of course, all the crazy driving around Hazzard County was probably not very wise either.

So the Austin District Attorney - let's call her "Bessy Hogg" - has decided that she's above the law, even as she is tasked with prosecuting and upholding the law.

There seems to be a conflict of interest here.

Consider the following points:

1) Just because you are a woman, doesn't mean you are going to be a kinder, gentler politician than a man. Let's stop with this stupid idea that if women run the world, it would be better. No, if women ran the world, they'd be the corrupt Bessy Hogg's of the world.

2) Once people put political party above laws, character and ethics, we have a recipe for a Banana Republic. I could not believe a lot of the comments I read on the Austin-American Statement cheering Perry's indictment. These folks could care less that their own District Attorney goes out and risks their lives on the road with her open bottles of vodka. Destroying Perry is more important to them.

3) As noted in Dinesh D'Souza's film "America," we have so many laws on the books now, that on any given day, each one of us probably commits a felony and doesn't even know it. At what point will the surveillance state make it extremely easy for Big Brother to target you personally because of your opposition to a government policy or an official? If you think these types of politically motivated prosecutions are just limited to the D'Souzas, Perrys and Scott Walkers of this world, think again.

The thing is, I'm not naive. I don't think Rick Perry is as clean as a whistle. If he should be investigated for anything, it should be those donations from Big Pharma that might have influenced his campaign to force young girls to take the HPV vaccine.

But what he did in regards to Bessy Hogg was 100% right in my book.

Unfortunately, some people who are completely blinded by partisan hatred will simply try to abuse the legal system in any way they can to gain power. I find this despicable. It takes political power from other people and imposes your will upon them. It destroys democracy.

Look, I don't want Rick Perry to be president, but I would never stop him from running. Let him run and let the voters decide.

You may have heard the saying "As above, so below." Some people have suggested that the lawlessness of the Obama administration has or will trickle down to the local levels, because if he flaunts the law, everyone will.

I disagree. I think the saying needs to be changed to: "As below, so above."

Our federal government isn't out of control and lawless because it has somehow imposed this on the people. On the contrary, a good section of "the people" have become out of control and lawless, and they are now demanding government officials who enact their agendas.

Dan Calabrese is a conservative columnist for Herman Cain's website. He's often very dismissive of libertarians, and I generally disagree with him. In fact, I disagree with a good portion of his article "Bill Bennett: This notion that marijuana isn't that harmful is just plain wrong." Yet, he wrote something in there that really made me stop and think about where our country is headed:

"There is also this: I do think American culture has changed in the sense that when lawlessness is rampant, we used to blame the lawbreakers. Now we are increasingly willing to blame the laws, figuring that if that many people are violating the law, it must not have enough public support to remain in place. I would suggest that in this case the problem is not the law but the denigration of culture such that people simply no longer care if what they're doing is legal or not - often to the point of self-destructive irrationality." 

Wow. I really hope you think about what he said, no matter how much you might be bristling about his anti-marijuana position.

I do disagree with him that we should never "blame" or look at our laws. What I think is happening is that we have such a mix of ridiculous, overbearing laws (like those that restrict the size of a soda) along with laws that really should be followed (such as not driving while intoxicated), that people have started to pick and choose which laws should be followed or enforced.

When this selective enforcement is used for political payback, and that becomes the norm, or laws are flaunted at will, there can be only one of two results in the long run:

America, the Banana Republic


Total Anarchy

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transplanted baby's picture


Had to do it.

Silvergunn's picture

Thanks, I'll grab the Thurd one

Kangaroo court from what I have seen!!!

Marcus's picture

"Nothing is more destructive

"Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced."          (Albert Einstein)

I wouldn't get too excited about democracy as it now stands, Stephanie, if only for the fact that it is tyranny by another name (tyranny of the mob, that is). But to have a democratic republic in which there is rule of law, people are held accountable for their deeds/misdeeds, the constitution is not regarded toilet paper, crony capitalism is unheard of, morals and ethics hold sway (rather than being contemptuously dismissed by sniggering idiots who regard their brand of cowardly cynicism as enlightenment)  and justice is truly blind, well, that's something else altogether, isn't it?

"Support organized crime: keep voting."      

stephanie's picture


I knew when I wrote "destroys democracy" someone would nitpick on that and go on and on about how we're really a "republic." I get that. I know that. But the average American does not care about that linguistic distinction and the sentence I wrote was simply shorter and more to the point. And it rolls off the tongue better than "destroys a constitutional republic and its rule of law."  :-)

Strongsidejedi's picture

Dukes of Hazzard? How dare you ...

I'm doing my darn best to stay out of your blasted threads. But, gosh darn it, Dukes of Hazzard?

You missed the entire point of Dukes of Hazzard. Listen to Waylon Jenning's opening again. The show is about the Duke cousins and their fight AGAINST corruption.

This is the Dukes of Hazzard...listen to the opening lyrics.

What you are discussing it Texas politics... which would be better represented by this URL:

That would be "Dallas" about Texas oil and Texas politics. Texas politics is exactly what's wrong with our nation. We had 8 years too many of LBJ and 20 years of Bushes. That's over TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS of Texas political hypocrisy influencing this nation.


That Gov. Perry story is ABOUT TEXAS and its not about Hazzard County, Georgia (a fictional county, but close enough to the real south). It's certainly not about a couple of red neck cousins "fighting the system like two modern day robin hoods", which is also a Southern conservative theme also.


For those who are not familiar with the analogy:


"Season one (a mid-season debut) began with 21.0 rating. In season 2, the series managed to average 18.39 million viewers in 1979. Season 3 grew 15.6% to 21.81 million viewers while Season 4 dropped 15.5% to 18.41 million viewers in 1980–1981."


Dallas originally aired on Saturday nights when it debuted as a regular series. Within a month, the show was moved to Sunday nights, where it would stay until halfway through the season, when it took a Friday-night slot. Dallas remained on Fridays until the show ended in 1991, alternating between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. airings.

The "Who Done It" episode of Dallas that revealed who shot J. R.?, the famous 1980 cliffhanger, received the highest domestic ratings at that point with over 90 million American viewers tuning in for the answer, a record broken only by the last episode of M*A*S*H in 1983. The final episode of The Fugitive, broadcast in August 1967, was watched by a higher percentage of television-owning Americans (72%), although it had lesser absolute numbers. Internationally, Dallas still holds the record for the most-watched episode, with nearly 360 million viewers tuning in to see who shot J.R.[26]

sierra skier's picture


For the 2nd time today.

Edit in:

After the read I must say that corruption is here at every level and here to stay. The last thing a DA should be doing is DUI. She deserves to be let go for failure to stand up to the  responsibilities of her office. Her Inditing the Governor is petty and bound to fail causing her more attention and embarrassment.

Obviously her values are misdirected.

stephanie's picture

I'll let Bag of Gold handle this one...

Maybe he can superimpose Rick Perry's head on a picture of J.R. Ewing from Dallas. wink

Longstreet's picture


Strongsidejedi's picture

Dallas TV show

If you're younger than 40 years old, you might as well watch this quick clip.

JR (a main character) gets shot in the finale/end show of Season 3.

(This led to the largest TV audience in the history of broadcast TV when the show's next episode aired in Season 4.  The reveal is classic for TV night time soap operas of the 1980 time period.)

​This was way before the day of "reality TV" and "America's got talent" or DWTS.

stephanie's picture

Who Shot J.R.?

Don't forget the song! :-)

lakedweller2's picture

Get Rid of Both of Them

The DA needs to go and it is normally the Governor that appoints mid-term replacements. Done.

Get rid of Perry just because he says stupid stuff.  Done.

Appoint Kinky Friedman to fill out the term.  Have a Willie Nelson concert on the Capitol steps and raise money for the children crossing the border before they are put to death by Homeland Security. Problem solved.

Return Texas to Mexico and have all the refugee children enter Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and North Dakota.  Problem solved.

Ozymandias's picture

I think Rick Perry did abuse his office

in this case. I believe Rosemary Lehmberg is a disgrace to the DA's office and should have resigned but if not, then recall is the next step. The action which Mr. Perry took that is the basis of the indictments is the vetoing of funds for the Public Integrity Unit of the District Attorney's Office. This unit conducts investigations throughout the state of politicians’ ethical breaches as well as tax and insurance fraud, and which among other cases is inquiring into the alleged misuse of $56 million intended for cancer research that is suspected of going into companies with investors who support Gov. Perry.  I think it is important to distinguish between an employee and an elected official. Who knows, she might get reelected by the citizens of Austin County next election. My understanding is that DWI is not an offense which would disqualify a person from being a District Attorney nor has Ms. Lehmberg ever been charged with an offense which would disqualify her from the Office.

stephanie's picture

@Oxymandias - who's watching the watchers?

"My understanding is that DWI is not an offense which would disqualify a person from being a District Attorney nor has Ms. Lehmberg ever been charged with an offense which would disqualify her from the Office."

Here's more footage of her booking:

She's the DA. Who is going to prosecute her for abusing her office in the manner that she did in that video? Because she's not going to prosecute herself! And that is the problem.

And we all know the Democrats are just coming up with an excuse to go after Perry. This is not about cancer research funding. Give me a break.

lakedweller2's picture


On the serious side, all good points concerning the DA and Governor.  The Austin DA is critical because of jurisdiction over the respective counties in that Circuit, but also the jurisdiction over the political "criminal actions" for the State Government.  The Austin DA has a real credibility problem irrespective who the current, past or future "idiot" governor may or may not be.

Strongsidejedi's picture

About that idiot DA

The DA would be investigated by both the Federal DOJ and the State Attorney General.

The DA is also checked and balanced by the local county board of supervisors who pays the DA's paycheck.

lakedweller2's picture


Most states have the State Attorney General prosecute cases where there is conflict of interest.  My guess is the Grand Jury was not a local circuit GJ, but a State AG GJ.  The jurisdiction still would be in Austin.  They have a special prosecutor appointed who was a former US Attorney.  Sounds like an AG action and not a DA action.

This sounds like a State action and not a Federal action.

SS121's picture

Rick should demand speedy public jury trial

RP: "ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, i couldn't in good conscious allow your fake foreign issued currency to be spent on this fat depraved slob p.o.s. that you see oozing out of her chair over there.  I rest my case"

Judge: "ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, you now... " (Jury interrupts judge)  Jury: "We're good, NOT GUILTY, let's get out of here!!"

RP: "Wait wait wait... before I buy everybody lunch, I would like to announce that free pardons will be issued to anybody who can Tar-n-Feather Rosey's fat ass and duct tape her to the flag pole in less than 20 minutes!!"


Libero's picture

Facts are the facts are the facts

Stephanie writes,

  1. "Rick Perry then responded by demanding her resignation, and in the event that she did not, he would de-fund her office with a line-item veto (allowed by the Texas Constitution).

So the point of the indictment as I see it, is that Perry shouldn't publicly threaten to defund an agency that the woman was in charge of... and then do so.  That was a stupid thing to do.  He announced he was linking the defunding to force this woman to resign. Stupid republican.

Nothing should be defunded because of the drunkeness of a department head. I believe this is why he faces an indictment.

It's like...  MacArthur is a jerk in World War 2, Truman wants him to resign, he doesn't... so Truman cuts the defense budget.  Pretty good analogy I think.

stephanie's picture

@libero - "facts" and then reality

The Dems are going after Perry claiming he had some sort of pay-to-play corruption going on with big money donors. Big effin' deal. They all do it - Republicans, and Democrats. It's the same charge the right has against Obama and Solyndra. I don't like crony capitalism, and I'd like to see it stop, but if you were going to indict any politician who did it, you'd probably need to remove 99% of them.

What does matter to me is that the DA in my city is still in office after driving the wrong way drunk and having an open bottle of vodka in her car.

This woman endangers my life and the lives of people I care about. She has not suffered any real consequence and arrogantly thinks she's above the law.

I hope and pray she does not kill someone. But I bet she's still driving drunk on a regular basis. Someone like that does not give up their alcohol overnight, especially when enabled in such a spectacular, public manner.

Urban Roman's picture

Haha, it's just Austin politics

Tempest in a teapot. It'll blow over in a few weeks. Nothing will happen to Perry; no idea whether Lemberg's funding will be restored. Probably will. Democrats pull a lot of shit like that in Austin. The Texas AG will probably dismiss the indictment.

I wish Molly Ivins were still alive, she'd have a field day with this.

Libero's picture


I understand what you are saying, don't see the "fed" connection you see, but the reason why Perry is in trouble is that he vetoed funding of her department which had nothing to do with her drunkeness.

His mistake was saying he was going to do it (the veto defunding), a threat, he had no legal basis to make this connection. -drunken incident with the whole funding of her department!   My McArthur and Truman analogy stands.

You can spin this event, (evil payback, gotcha politics, dems vs. repubs) anyway you want, but he exceeded his authority by holding her department hostage and then punishing the department because of her stupidity.

stephanie's picture

@libero - and my answer to you was in my article

3) As noted in Dinesh D'Souza's film "America," we have so many laws on the books now, that on any given day, each one of us probably commits a felony and doesn't even know it. At what point will the surveillance state make it extremely easy for Big Brother to target you personally because of your opposition to a government policy or an official? If you think these types of politically motivated prosecutions are just limited to the D'Souzas, Perrys and Scott Walkers of this world, think again.

Bugzy's picture

Thrice wise

As above so below, the light seeker?

Re too many laws.

Folk are learning to ignore laws. Dog beach today had many dogs at the "prohibited" time. The goons who dress like police and ride ATV would probably not dare hand out tickets. Too many "violators".

I increasingly see more without cycling helmets...

I suspect statutes are only really enforceable with the consent of the governed. They are rapidly losing our consent.

30 years ago that woman would have been out and her feet would not have touched the ground. Obviously, those who have her on their team obviously believe that public opinion will not be affected by her actions and hence voting...

It is more a testimony to the apathy of the populace than anything else.

Good post Steph, nothing confrontational to report; yet ;-)

Dark Horse's picture

Shanghai Coop Organisation - New Members

Effective 12 September 2014 Indian, Pakistan, Mongolia and...Iran will be welcomed as full members of the Shanghai Coop Organisation. 


This is highly important. 

The SCO is the NATO equivalent of ASIA and has been setup to:

"oppose intervention in other countries internal affairs on the pretexts of 'humanitarianism' and 'protecting human rights;' and support the efforts of one another in safe guarding the SCO members national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and social stability."

So in summary, China/Indian/Pakistan/Iran will protect Russia's economic and "national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and social stability."

Ps India joins the SCO just days ahead of PM Modi's trip to the US

here is a YouTube video that helps explain the SCO 

Kerbouchard's picture

I thought the policeman who

I thought the policeman who stopped the DA (first video in Stephanie's essay) showed remarkable restraint.  (Perhaps he was aware of who she was, and played it safe.)

I'm no fan of the thuggery we often see coming out of our militarized police force(s) so I was happy to see common sense and patience, on the part of the cop, prevail. 

Very good essay, Stephanie.  All your points are balanced and well thought out.

admin's picture

Completely agree,

Completely agree, Kerbouchard. The policemen not only showed remarkable restraint, but they gave her many opportunities to complete the standard tests.

There are a number of local groups and people within the community who said she should have stepped down when this came out last year, including the Austin Police Association, Austin American-Statesman newspaper editorial board, and the Austin Police Chief, who said:

“If I myself was arrested for DWI and conducted myself in a manner that was unbecoming of this position I can tell you that I would resign,” said Acevedo. “It’s not appropriate for a police chief to make a statement on whether or not an elected official should resign just like it is not appropriate for me to endorse people in political campaigns.”

AlienEyes's picture

Another great post, stephanie !!!

One of the great things about your post is that you draw out the liberals and commies that are Johnny on the spot to defend pieces of garbage like the fugly ass, dishonest Travis county D.A.

Rick Perry is not one of my favorite politicians but he gets a hat tip for figuring out how to cut the dirty bitch's water off.

Libero's picture

Agreed that DA did wrong

and should have resigned, or be recalled in an election.
But Perry did a stupid thing and the charges against him are legit.
Try to separate the DA from Perry.
No elected official should designate a single person as the "baddie" and therefore, and because of this dislike, not fund the whole agency she was in charge of. To allow overt quid pro quo (with a wink wink because the DA is a "baddie") goes against most of what is posted here in Turdville.
Do we want elected officials to flaunt the law? Or does it depend on what elected official breaks the law.
Consistency please.

And Stephanie, I can honestly say that I do not commit felonies. And I doubt you do either. Unless you want to come clean here and now :)

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