Besides Muammar Qaddafi, Rick Perry may be having the worst day in politics. His extremist belief that everything from consumer protection to Social Security to federal child labor laws is unconstitutional keep dogging him on the campaign trail.
Now he’s been caught on tape in South Carolina comparing the civil rights movement to the GOP’s fight for lower corporate taxes and deregulation. He could hardly have picked a worse day to fundamentally misunderstand and misrepresent the struggle for civil rights in America. Today marks the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to commemorate the great civil rights leader who died marching for economic justice for poor communities. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, a reporter pointed out to Perry that this year also marks the 50th anniversary of a historic sit-in in the town:
QUESTION: And coming to the Old Town Bistro you’re actually visiting a very important place in Rock Hill and the nation’s civil rights history. This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Friendship Nine sit-in here. Care to comment on that?
PERRY: Listen, America’s gone a long way from the standpoint of civil rights and thank God we have. I mean we’ve gone from a country that made great strides in issues of civil rights. I think we all can be proud of that. And as we go forward, America needs to be about freedom. It needs to be about freedom from overtaxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation. And Americans regardless of what their cultural or ethnic background is they need to know that they can come to America and you got a chance to have any dream come true because the economic climate is gonna be improved.
Watch it, courtesy of American Bridge:
To compare the “struggles” of corporations who often pay virtually nothing in taxes to the plight of black Americans in pre-Civil Rights America is remarkably ignorant, even for Perry. Martin Luther King Jr. argued that economic rights for the poor were as essential as political rights, and was a great advocate for unions and the very anti-poverty programs that Perry believes are unconstitutional. While King fought for a living wage and more welfare for the poor, Perry fights for more corporate welfare.