Texas’ Perry seeks help from ‘oppressive hand’

TEXAS’ PERRY SEEKS HELP FROM ‘OPPRESSIVE HAND’…. A couple of years ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) was so outraged by Democratic efforts to address multiple economic crises, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have.

Indeed, two years ago this week, Perry denounced the federal government as “oppressive,” arguing that it was “time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.” Soon after, he said he doesn’t want to “dissolve” the union of the United States, “but if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

Apparently, Perry doesn’t perceive that hand as quite so “oppressive” anymore. (thanks to readers V.S. and T.P.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought additional federal help in battling wildfires across his drought-parched state as a woodland blaze gutted at least six homes on Sunday and threatened hundreds more in Austin, the state capital.

An estimated 1.5 million acres of tinder-like brush and grasslands have gone up in flames in Texas since January 1, about half of that during the past week alone under some of the driest conditions in Texas history. […]

“As wildfires continue to rage across our state, Texas is reaching its capacity to respond to these emergencies and is in need of federal assistance,” the governor said in a statement.

My point, obviously, is not to make light of a tragedy. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, a firefighter was killed late last week, and many communities are being evacuated. It’s an awful situation, made possible because of remarkably dry conditions throughout much of the state. Given all of this, it makes perfect sense that Perry would request a federal disaster declaration from President Obama.

But it’s also a reminder of how offensive Perry’s anti-government rhetoric was in the first place. He hates federal intrusion, except when Democrats in Washington are helping him balance his budget. He wants to keep federal officials out of his state, except when he’s facing a natural disaster.

I’m glad Perry has the sense to ask federal officials for some help with these dangerous fires, but I hope he remembers this the next time he’s inclined to refuse “their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.”