I'm underwhelmed by the foofaraw about the indictment of Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, on charges of abusing the power of his office. As I understand the story, the charge stems from an incident last year when the Travis County district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, was arrested for driving while intoxicated. She breath-tested at four times the legal limit, was uncooperative with the arresting officers, pled guilty, served a short jail sentence, was fined $4,000, and had her driver's license suspended. Governor Perry said at the time that she should resign and threatened to veto the state measure that financed her office if she would not resign. As it happened, she did not resign -- she continued to draw her salary while jailed -- and returned to her desk when released.
She evidently got busy when she returned to her desk, because it was her office that presented and obtained the indictment of Governor Perry for attempting to use the veto power of his office to pressure her to resign hers, giving the Perry-Lehmberg war the character of a highbrow version of the Hatfield-McCoy feud.
My Democratic friends, many of whom are chortling at the indictment of Governor Perry, might consider these alternative points of view of the P. and L. statements:
1. Governor Perry rightly opposed having a convicted drunk driver as the district attorney, and tried to get her to resign using a legitimate power of his office.
2 Governor Perry rightly opposed having a convicted drunk driver as the district attorney, but it was unjust of him to threaten to cut her department's budget to persuade her to resign.
3. Governor Perry wrongly opposed having a convicted drunk driver as the district attorney, and should have done nothing to encourage Ms. Lehmberg to resign. Being a convicted drunk driver should not disqualify someone from prosecuting other drunk drivers.
I agree with the first view: Mr. Perry tried to persuade someone unfit for her office to resign, and she is now using the power of her office to try to get revenge. Whether Mr. Perry is fit for higher office is a question for another day, but the indictment doesn't make him less fit for his current office than Rosemary Lehmberg's guilty plea and conviction make her for hers.