Commentary: Did Molly Ivins say that about Rick Perry?

Editor's note: Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced last Saturday that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. Here are excerpts of columns from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by the late, great Molly Ivins. Ivins covered the Statehouse in Texas for decades and spread her barbs widely. One frequent target was Perry, whom she called "The Coiffure" and "Gov. Goodhair."

Oct. 12, 2006

I sacrificed an hour Friday evening to watch the Texas gubernatorial debate on your behalf, since I knew none of you would do it. The Coiffure was in his usual form. As one opponent after another attacked his record, Gov. Rick Perry stood there proudly behind that rabid following he has so richly earned – hey, a whole 35 percent of Texans want him re-elected – and simply disagreed. The Coiffure seemed to consider blanket denials a fully sufficient and adequate response.

Jan. 12, 2006

The governor of Texas is despicable. Of all the crass pandering, of all the gross political kowtowing to ignorance, we haven't seen anything this rank from Gov. Goodhair since gee, last fall.

Then he was trying to draw attention away from his spectacular failure on public schools by convincing Texans that gay marriage was a horrible threat to us all. Now he's trying to disguise the fact that the schools are in free-fall by proposing that we teach creationism in biology classes.

The funding of the whole school system is so unfair that it has been declared unconstitutional by the Texas Supreme Court. All last year, Rick Perry haplessly called special session after special session, trying to fix the problem, and couldn't get anywhere – not an iota, not a scintilla, of leadership.

Instead of facing the grave crisis that might yet result in the schools' being closed, Perry has blithely gone off on creationism – teach the little perishers the Earth is 6,000 or so years old, that people lived at the same time as dinosaurs, and who cares if the school building is falling apart?

Jan. 11, 2004

I have failed to give sufficient recognition to our only governor, Rick "Goodhair" Perry, who is adding to the old je ne sais quoi in truly impressive quantities.

Goodhair gave such an amazing performance at his end-of-the-year news conference that I was forced to call a perfectly reliable reporter for the Dallas Morning News and ask if it was a joke.

The guv remains convinced that his greatest accomplishment was not raising taxes, even though fees, tuition, fines and everything else that the Leg could find to jack up without calling it a tax was jacked sky-high.

You may think the guv's had a rough year – three special sessions on top of the regular session just to pass that misbegotten redistricting bill, not counting the two bolts by Democrats and such minor unpleasantness as having to hack $10 billion out of the state budget.

For some, the budget-cutting, aimed mostly at services for desperately needy people, was a painful and even tragic exercise. Especially knocking 250,000 poor children off health insurance.

Fortunately, Gov. Goodhair has a firm grasp on priorities, and when asked his biggest disappointment of the year, he replied: "Aggie football."

Jan. 16, 2003

Gov. Goodhair Perry has already earned himself a new nickname after a stunning interview with the Austin American-Statesman in which he noted that Texas has two very serious problems that he, Rick the Reluctant, plans to do exactly nothing about.

"Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Texas is burdened by an outdated, out-of-whack tax system and a public education finance system that has to go," reported the paper. "But the state's top elected leader also said Texans shouldn't expect the upcoming legislature to do anything about either. Perry said tackling the dense issues is too much to ask of new leaders." That's leadership!

June 24, 2001

First, we Texans would like to salute the only governor we've got, Rick "Goodhair" Perry, the Ken Doll, for vetoing the bill to outlaw executing the mentally retarded.

We are Texas Proud.

Such a brilliant decision – not only is Texas now globally recognized for barbaric cruelty, but a strong majority of Texans themselves (73 percent) would prefer not to off the retarded.

Gov. Goodhair's decision – in the face of popular opinion, the Supreme Court and George W. Bush's recent conversion on this subject – is a testament to his strength of character.

Or something.

His Perryness announced, anent the veto, that Texas does not execute the retarded. I beg your pardon, Governor. Johnny Paul Penry, now on Death Row for a heart-breaking murder and the subject of two Supreme Court decisions, has an IQ between 51 and 60, believes in Santa Claus and likes coloring books.

And that's not counting the other six we know about for sure since 1990.