ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports:
With Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the cusp of announcing a presidential bid, one of his fiercest Democratic critics from the Lone Star State is preemptively taking Perry to task for his record on the economy.
“Certainly his tenure has made many of us long for Gov. George W. Bush, who was not a Democratic favorite,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, told ABC News’ “Top Line.”
While Texas has fared comparatively well in the recession, maintaining a balanced budget and $6 billion in its rainy day fund, Doggett said the picture isn’t as rosy as it might seem.
“Twenty-five states have lower unemployment than Texas does today. We have a tie with Mississippi on many things,” he said, but “we’re tied with Mississippi for more minimum-wage jobs than anywhere in the United States.”
Doggett also decried Perry’s support for axing $4 billion from public education budgets and imposing a new corporate-style model for keeping state colleges and universities profitable.
“Some of his allies are even suggesting we need individual cost-benefit analysis of whether a professor is worth having: do they generate enough revenue for the institution of higher education, rather than looking at research as a valuable thing for the human condition but also a value as a way of encouraging economic growth and innovation,” he said.
Perry has defended his record, most recently in an interview with Time’s Mark Halperin, saying spending caps, budget cuts, and low taxes in Texas have helped it weather the recession “better than any other state from the standpoint of job creation.”
What does Doggett think a Perry administration would look like?
“Under a Perry administration, we would see significantly more prayer across America,” he said. “People would be praying for our country to survive someone whose primary emphasis will be on right-wing ideological zealotry.”
Doggett said he hopes it doesn’t come to that, and he’s prepared to hit the road to make the case.
“We do have a powerful weapon called truth with regard to the Perry record, and I believe we need to take that message,” he said. “It’s essential we use the insight that we gained here in Texas and carry that message across the country.”