Perry profits from preaching to the choir

Believe it or not, 434 members of the House of Representatives don't spend a lot of time worrying about what you think of them.

Believe it or not, 434 members of the House of Representatives don't spend a lot of time worrying about what you think of them.

Neither do 98 senators, 49 governors, or 1,137 mayors.

It's not that they don't like you. (You're in PR! Who wouldn't like you?) It's because you don't live in their district, state, or city, and therefore you can't vote for them. More specifically, you can't vote against them.

So get as mad as you want at Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) for using Cavalry Cathedral, an evangelical school in Fort Worth, to sign two bills last week. You're not who he had in mind when he did it.

Neither were the national media, which used acres of inches to decry the event as an affront to the separation of church and state.

Who Perry was trying to impress were the 1,500 parents and evangelicals who cheered him on as he signed measures restricting abortion and outlawing same-sex marriage - not to mention the countless other religious conservative Texans who vote.

Thing is, Perry faces a tough re-election campaign. And his likely primary challenger will be Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX). If he wants to beat her, conventional wisdom says, he will have to attack from the right.

Which is why in the past few weeks, Perry has aligned himself with evangelicals in a variety of ways. He's taken a lead role in the "Texas Restoration Project," a drive to register church-going voters, and in May he met with about 500 ministers in Austin.

So liberals and journalists: Write Perry all the letters you wish. Pen long, thoughtful pieces on the damage he's done to the Constitution. Because those voting for him don't see any problem with what he did. They do, however, care what you think.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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