Peggy Fikac: Same twang, but different message

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about Texas Gov. Rick Perry added an anti-groping bill to the special session of the Texas Legislature.

The Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- He refers to Twitter as "Tweeter," has been known to say "tryin' " instead of "trying" and might mangle a phrase here and there.

But when it comes to speechifyin', Gov. Rick Perry is no George W. Bush, and not just because Bush's verbal missteps earned a nickname ("Bushisms") and spawned paraphernalia including a talking doll. . .

After working all year to shepherd the House through political and policy minefields, House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, unloaded last week about a high-voltage measure Perry added to the special session agenda — a bill to restrict invasive airport security pat-downs.

Straus called the bill "a publicity stunt," an unusual public airing of differences with the governor.

 "This is the guy we thought had been elected speaker of the House three years ago - somebody who would actually try to cut through the silliness and do serious business," said Cal Jillson, SMU professor of political science. "He's been AWOL most of the session." Jillson added that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst "could have done this a month ago, rather than bobbing and weaving and worrying about Houston Sen. (Dan) Patrick," who's pushing the measure in the Senate and has suggested he may run for U.S. Senate, as Dewhurst also may do. "He could simply have said, as Straus did ... 'This is silliness. We've got serious business to take care of. We're not going to spend time on this.' I think he would have been in far better shape even with regard to Patrick had he done that."

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