The news channels were bubbling this weekend with the riots in Ferguson and the indictment of Governor Perry on two counts of abuse of power. These are sad and avoidable issues that left me confused. My morbid curiosity finally got the best of me after I watched the video video of Ms. Lehmberg’s arrest for drunken driving. Even though I lived in Texas for twenty years her behavior was appalling even by Texas standards so I was curious why she was still in office. The best source for information about Ms. Lehmberg’s arrest was the Austin Chronicle article from last year titled, “What Happens Next?” I suspect everyone thought this would be the time when leaders in both parties quietly agree to show her the door and quietly clean up the mess. A temporary district attorney would be in charge until an election could be held in November of 2014. That doesn’t sound too bad but that did not happen. The best explanations for the Perry indictment is that the public integrity agency is the only tool left for Democrats to attack their political rivals if they cannot win in the ballot box. Despite losing the appeal in the Tom Delay case and the continued allegations that this agency is overtly partisan, I guess it is not surprising that her office chose to double down on the issue and decided to indict Governor Perry for abuse of power when he threatened to veto her funds. The image of a district attorney conducting public integrity investigations from a prison cell has to look bad to independent voters. With the Democratic party struggling at the polls, this effort makes them look both foolish, desperate, and vindictive. In this case Ms. Lehmberg and the public integrity commission were better off when people thought they were a bunch of fools. Now they have removed all doubt.
Update: I read that some of the people on the grand jury have come out to discuss why they chose to indict Governor Perry. I do not know if discussing grand jury deliberations with the press is illegal but it is ill advised with so many of the cool headed Democratic and Republican political operatives saying the legal foundations for the indictment are very “sketchy”. The jurors’ willingness to talk to the press makes a strong case that the district attorney and the jurors are too personally invested in this decision for the average person to believe that this was the result of a careful evaluation of the evidence. If a Republican governor cannot get a fair grand jury in Travis county solely because he is a Republican then it is time to move the responsibility for public affairs investigations to a different location with less partisanship. Sorry Austin you blew it! It is time for a change and you have no one to blame but yourselves. You abused it so now it is time that you lose it!