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National Editorials & Columns

Another View: Perry’s indictment damages governor and the state

For a long time, Texas Gov. Rick Perry walked too fine a line between politics and policy. It caught up with him late last week.

For months, a grand jury has investigated charges that Perry abused his power by going too far in trying to get a Democratic county district attorney removed from office.

The DA, Rosemary Lehmberg, pleaded guilty to drunken driving last year, served 45 days in jail and went into treatment. But she refused to resign.

That wasn’t good enough for the governor. He wanted her out, and when she wouldn’t leave, Perry just couldn’t let it go. Instead, he used his veto power to withhold millions of dollars from the state’s public integrity unit, which Lehmberg oversees and which investigates misdeeds of state agencies and officials. The county had to stitch together funds to keep the crucial agency operating on a shoestring.

Of course, an indictment is a long way from a conviction. A judge and jury will have the final say on that.

In recent years, Perry has been focused less on governing Texas than on making sure his base understands just how conservative he is. If he had done more governing and less politicking, ousting Lehmberg would not have been a priority and he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Now he’s the guy under indictment for abuse of power. That’s even worse.

– The Dallas Morning News

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