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Today's Republican Party, Part IV: Yes Sir, Mr. Carlson

As long as we are on the subject of Republican governors who will do anything for a little attention from the right-leaning media, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) is back in the news with a really icky story.

At the center of this particular drama is Sgt. Daniel Perry, who spent much time and energy fantasizing about and bragging about the possibility of killing members of Black Lives Matter. In the summer of 2020 (i.e., shortly after the murder of George Floyd), there was a BLM protest in Austin, TX, near Perry's residence. He got into his car, hightailed it to Austin, and then drove into a crowd of protesters. When Perry was challenged by a gun-wielding Air Force veteran named Garrett Foster, Perry rolled down his window and shot Foster five times at point-blank range. Foster died, of course.

When he turned himself into police, and again at his trial, Perry claimed self-defense. Somewhat dubious for a person who made a point of insinuating themselves into the situation that led to the killing, though of course it worked for Kyle Rittenhouse. Perry's problem is that his pre-murder bragging was done using mediums (like text messages) that leave a paper trail (well, metaphorically). And part of his bragging was his claim that not only would he be able to kill a BLM protester, he would get away with it by claiming self-defense. It took the jury 16 hours, but they returned a verdict of murder in the first degree. That's a capital offense in Texas, of course.

Guess who was not pleased that a white man was convicted of killing a BLM protester? Fox entertainer Tucker Carlson, who isn't even trying to hide his white supremacist views anymore. Within 2 hours of the verdict, which was delivered last Friday, Carlson was on the air demanding "justice" for Perry. This turned up the heat on Abbott, who very clearly takes his orders from Fox's primetime lineup.

In Texas, governors do not have the power to pardon someone all by themselves. They have to ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a review, and then if the Board recommends clemency, the governor can give the thumbs up. Abbott has already ordered such a review, and has insisted it be expedited. The Board knows full well what result the Governor wants, and if he gets it, he's already said he will overturn the jury's verdict and free Perry from prison. It's one thing to review a case if, say, new evidence has come to light. It's another thing to review a case because Tucker Carlson told you that you better do so if you know what's good for you.

Ultimately, the pecking order of the modern Republican Party could not be clearer. Every GOP officeholder is terrified of Carlson, and what he might do to them if they displease him. Carlson, for his part, is terrified of Donald Trump. And Trump is terrified of Alvin Bragg, Fulton County DA Fani Willis and special counsel Jack Smith. Very strange times, indeed. (Z)

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