This week was a big week for Texas Politics. Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to talk about Rick Perry's indictment and whether or not the controversy will be a political win for the self-described "awesome" governor.
"They sound serious, but we don’t know what they’re about," Smith says of the charges. "The reality is that nobody knows what they’re about."
On the charges:
"The liberal pundits at the national level – as well as the conservative defenders of Rick Perry who have dismissed these indictments as insignificant, unworthy – don’t know anything. They haven't heard the evidence that the grand jury has heard. As well, the Democrats in Texas who are rushing to call for the governor’s resignation have not heard the evidence that the grand jury has heard. Nobody knows anything."
On Travis County-led Public Integrity Unit:
"Rick Perry for 14 years has been an immensely powerful governor who has played hardball politics – surprise surprise. Hardball politics are part of the job, and he has been excellent at it. And his critics hate him for doing exactly what they would themselves do were they only in office again. They charge cronyism against him, but when Democrats ran the state for years, Democratic governors and office holders appointed their contributors and their friends to jobs. And if you look at the history of the Public Integrity Unit – to flip this around – many more Democrats have been targeted by the Public Integrity Unit over time, because for years it was only Democrats that were in charge."
On the media coverage:
"From the standpoint of the news business, what a great time to be covering this stuff and what an interesting story. This stuff does practically write itself."