He’s been in elected office for 26 consecutive years, and has never lost a race. In a Texas gubernatorial primary, he shellacked a sitting US Senator with an 85% approval rating, beating her by 20 points for the nomination. Fully a third of the jobs created in the US since the economic recovery began in 2009 have been created in the state he governs, and in August he gathered nearly 30,000 evangelicals at a Houston prayer rally billed as “A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis.”
Who is this paragon? He’s three-term Texas Governor Rick Perry, George W. Bush’s Lieutenant Governor and successor, and he might just be the next US President.
The 61-year-old Perry is a fifth-generation Texan, born in Paint Creek, near Abilene, the son of ranchers Joseph and Amelia Holt Perry. After graduation from Paint Creek High School in 1968, Perry attended Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1972. Immediately afterward, he joined the Air Force and spent five years as a pilot, then returning to the family cotton farm. Perry met his future wife, Anita Thigpen, at an elementary school dance recital, but the high school sweethearts did not marry until 1982. The couple has two children.
Perry was raised a Democrat, and dates his interest in politics from the 1961 funeral of US House Speaker Sam Rayburn, a Texan legislator who made it big in Washington, running the House for 17 years. Perry’s father took him to the funeral in Bonham, and the 11-year-old was impressed by the range of foreign dignitaries who had come to pay their respects in the little Texas town.
Perry’s first electoral victory was as a Democrat, in 1984, when he became the 64th District’s representative at the Texas State House. In 1988, he chaired Al Gore’s Texas presidential primary campaign, but a year later he “came to his senses,” as he describes it, and announced his switch to the Republican Party.
In 1990 he narrowly defeated incumbent Jim Hightower for the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner, easily winning re-election in 1994. In his new job, Perry was responsible for promoting Texas farm produce domestically and abroad, as well as supervising the calibration of weights and measures, in such areas as commercial food scales and gas pumps. In 1998, he opted out of a third term as Commissioner and ran for Lieutenant Governor, beating his Democratic challenger 50%-48%, becoming Texas’ first Republican Lieutenant Governor since reconstruction.
1998 was also the year of George W. Bush’s re-election as Texas Governor, and when Bush went on to “win” the 2000 presidential race, Perry succeeded him in Austin. Perry won a term as Governor in his own right in 2002, blitzing his Democratic opponent 57%-39%, but took a second term in 2006 by just a plurality of 39% in a four-way race with Democratic challenger former US congressman Chris Bell, and Independents state Comptroller Carole Strayhorn and country singer Kinky Friedman. A primary challenge in 2010 from US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison garnered national attention, but Perry easily eclipsed her in the March primary, winning a third term that November with 55% of the vote.
Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, and in both 2008 and 2011 acted as chair of the Republican Governor’s Association. But his tenure at Austin has not been without controversy.
Perry holds the record for most executions among Texas governors, with 234 to date, and in 2002 vetoed a legislative ban on the execution of mentally retarded inmates. Running on a tough-on-crime platform, Perry is also tough on the legal profession, supporting tort reform for malpractice suits and in 2003 sponsoring an amendment to the Texas State Constitution, later narrowly approved at the polls by voters, to cap medical malpractice awards.
Perry has also been tough on the unemployed, refusing $555 million in federal stimulus money for extended unemployment benefits. With an unemployment rate of 8.2%, Texas falls in the median of US states, with half the states having higher rates, and half lower. But Texas leads in the creation of low-wage jobs, both by number and percentage, so the post-recession job growth so vociferously touted by Perry and his supporters must be taken with a grain of salt. Texas has more than half a million workers compensated at or below federal minimum wage standards, nearly 10% of its workforce, representing a 150% increase in low-paying jobs since 2007.
Although he was a vocal opponent of the 2009 Recovery Act, and refused its funding for unemployment benefits, Perry was happy to take stimulus money to close a gap in the state’s budget, thereby allowing himself bragging rights to the retention of the state’s $9 billion “Rainy Day fund,” which otherwise would have been tapped to cover the shortfall. Texas produces a budget only every two years, and a projected $6.6 billion deficit for the 2010-2011 budget was plugged almost entirely by a $6.4 billion check from Washington.
On the very day in 2009 when he formally requested the money, Perry set up a petition on his blog entitled “No Government Bailouts,” encouraging Texans to sign and “Join our fight and add your voice to a growing list of several thousand Americans who are fed up with this irresponsible spending that threatens our future.” Nice to have it both ways.
Early in his administration, Perry attempted to increase health and education funding by some $15 billion, but continued decreases in state revenue have left much of these efforts unfunded, with Perry refusing to sanction tax increases which would cover the shortfalls. Texas ranks at the bottom of many national education indicators—50th in acquisition of high school diplomas or GEDs by age 25; 43rd in high school graduation rates; 49th in verbal SAT scores, 46th in math. But as one of the largest textbook-buying states of the union, Texas controls much of the curriculum for the nation, and Perry endorses the teaching of both “Intelligent Design”, creationism’s city-slicker cousin, and evolution, while also charging that global warming is a hoax.
Perry is a fundamentalist Christian, a member of a Methodist church, and his social policy reflects these views. Perry supported Texas’ anti-sodomy law, calling it “appropriate,” until a 2003 US Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck it down. He opposes all legal recognition of same sex unions and supports a federal marriage amendment to ban them nationally. In 2005 he signed a bill limiting late-term abortions and requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion.
In May 2011 he upped the ante by signing the so-called “Mandatory Ultrasound Bill,” requiring abortion providers to perform sonograms before surgery, forcing pregnant women to view ultrasound images of the fetus and listen to its heartbeat. Additional 2011 legislation cuts all state taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and created an option for a “Choose Life” state license plate.
Perry is fond of stating that at age 27 he felt called to the ministry, and although his reasons for rejecting that call remain obscure, he has opined that the Governor’s office is his pulpit, and God has put him “in this place at this time to do his will.” Perry’s done a fine job at combining pastor and potentate, and as governor routinely attends churches across the state to sermonize.
On August 6, 2011, just a week before declaring his presidential candidacy, Perry spoke at a prayer rally he had organized for a “Nation in Crisis,” attended by some 30,000 evangelicals. Billed as a “Day of Prayer and Fasting,” the rally was held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, and somewhat hypocritically included long lines of the faithful at half a dozen of the facility’s fast-food concession stands (nothing puts the “fast” in “fasting” like fast-food!). The prayer portion of the day was well in evidence, however, with Perry himself giving a 13-minute orison which concluded,
”Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”
Perry’s prior attempt at intercessory politics was a dismal failure, when on April 21, 2011, he designated the following three-day period as “Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas,” at a time when drought conditions pervaded up to 20% of the Lone Star state and huge wildfires had broken out across Texas. But the bid for divine intervention fell on deaf ears. By late July, 75% of the state was experiencing exceptional drought conditions, and Texas set a record for its hottest month ever, with the Dallas/Ft. Worth area experiencing more than 40 consecutive days of triple digit heat. Thank goodness global warming is just a hoax.
Perry jealously guards the personal power of his veto prerogative, setting a record for more vetoes than any other Texas Governor, with 273 to date. He’s critical of what he sees as federal power-grabs as well, excoriating the 16th Amendment, establishing Federal Income Tax, and the 17th Amendment, mandating direct popular election of US Senators, alleging that by these the states handed over significant portions of their wealth and sovereignty to Washington.
He has also flirted with secessionism, intimating that when it joined the Union in 1845, Texas reserved the right to “opt out” at any future date, a sentiment which has endeared him to the Tea Party movement.
Given a stance like that, running for President of a Union he might be thinking about leading his state out of would seem to be an odd decision. But it’s one Perry made, making his formal announcement in Charleston, South Carolina, birthplace of the Confederacy, on 13 August 2011.”
Born James Richard Perry on 4 March 1950, Rick Perry’s birth chart establishes him as a force to be reckoned with, and his transits on Election Day 2012 suggest that if he makes it to the GOP nomination, he may well be the victor. The natal Sun at 13 Pisces opposes Saturn at 16 Virgo, itself conjunct the Black Hole at 14 Virgo; this opposition becomes a Galactic T-Square with the addition of the Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius.
The Sun linked with Saturn can indicate executive ability, one who is driven by and self-identifies with career, and the conjunction of Saturn with a Black Hole frequently manifests as promotion via the sudden, unexpected departure of superiors, as was the case when Perry succeeded George W. Bush as Texas Governor upon his Supreme Court selection to the presidency.
Sun/Saturn can also result in a degree of authoritarianism, a hyper-critical attitude, and a certain coldness or lack of feeling. For all his fundamentalist precepts, Perry is not noted as a humanitarian, as evinced by his vetoing the ban on execution of mentally retarded inmates and his refusal of federal funds for unemployed workers. The “tough on crime” mantra, the record number of executions and the record use of the veto pen speak to the authoritarian streak in Perry, as does the sidelong glance at secession, which presumably would leave Perry as head of an independent Texas, increasing his personal power and authority.
The Sun also conjoins asteroids Vesta and Hebe, named for the Roman and Greek versions of the handmaiden of the gods, at 12 Pisces, identifying Perry as naturally drawn to public service. Also at 12 Pisces and conjunct the Sun is asteroid Perry (#5529), further linking him personally with that theme.
The Sun is involved in two Yods, or Fingers of Destiny, denoting some fated or predestined circumstance for the native. In the first, the Sun at its apex is inconjunct to natal Pluto at 16 Leo, representing personal power, and natal Neptune at 16 Libra, representing spiritual values, ideals and zealotry; deception, duplicity, fraud and charlatans or impostors; and delusion, illusion and actors.
The other has Pluto at the apex and repeats the inconjunct to the Sun, with the other leg formed by an inconjunct to asteroid Washingtonia at 17 Capricorn (recently highlighted by the January 4, 2011 Solar Eclipse), together encouraging Perry (Sun) to view the nation’s capitol (Washingtonia) as the lodestar (apex) of his personal power (Pluto). Pluto conjoins the Maser at 13 Leo, implying some level of controversy or volatility regarding how Perry expresses his personal power; Neptune is conjunct a Quasar at 14 Libra, making his religion one of the most visible aspects of his character, with Perry wearing its badge proudly; and Washingtonia is conjunct two Black Holes, at 16 and 19 Capricorn, making the US capitol and the power to be attained there a doubly strong magnet for Perry’s psyche.
The Sun is also conjunct asteroid Pandora at 11 Pisces, and this Sun/Pandora conjunction repeats both for the day Perry announced his presidential campaign, and for the 2012 election. Pandora’s myth may be key to understanding Perry’s character, so we’ll briefly review it now. After Prometheus (literally “forethought”) angered Zeus by stealing fire and instructing humans in its use, he warned his brother Epimetheus (“afterthought”) not to accept any gifts from the king of the gods, lest they be punishments in disguise. And this was in fact Zeus’ plan: he instructed Hephaestus to form the first woman, to be offered to Epimetheus as wife, and all the gods and goddesses imbued her with the finest they had to offer, with Aphrodite teaching her the arts of femininity, seduction and love; Athena bestowing knowledge of crafts and weaving; and Hermes encouraging her curiosity and deceit. Finally Zeus gave her a large urn (later reinterpreted as the famed “box of Pandora”) as a wedding present, secretly filled with all the ills that would later plague mankind, admonishing her never to open it, and she was sent down from Olympus to the unsuspecting Epimetheus, who instantly became enamored with her and brought her into his home.
Of course Pandora, primed by Hermes with a curious and deceitful nature, was unable to resist the temptation of the urn, opened it and released the evils of disease, pain, death and sorrow into the world. Appalled, she attempted to shut the urn, but only Hope remained trapped within, some say as a solace for mankind, and others as the final insult, for hopefulness prevents acceptance of the vile reality of existence.
As a Sun/Pandora native, Rick Perry is a living embodiment of the myth, capable of unleashing untold evil through his ill-considered actions. Reinforcing this possibility for the US specifically is a triple conjunction of the Sun and Pandora with asteroid America, at 20, 24 and 25 Leo, when Perry announced his candidacy on 13 August 2011, a combination which repeats on Election Day, 6 November 2012, with Pandora, the Sun and America at 12, 14 and 17 Scorpio. This triple reiteration of the Sun/Pandora combination at key points in Perry’s story is certainly an indicator to be noted, if not a warning to be honored.
Perry’s natal Mercury at 25 Leo conjoins natal Jupiter at 21 Aquarius and asteroid Richard (#3972, for “Rick”) at 20 Aquarius. Mercury/Jupiter is a natural pairing for a politician (Jupiter), granting a gift for effective public speaking (Mercury), while also blending religiosity and populism, and these are directly personalized to Perry with the conjunction to asteroid Richard. Somewhat broadly opposing Pluto at 16 Leo, this suggests that power is behind Perry’s attraction for public office, and that he is a master of verbal manipulation and control. Indeed, much of what has emerged in the short time since his debut on the campaign trail supports this.
What the left-wing blogosphere decries as faux pas and dog-whistle politics, in describing such Perry statements as the “black cloud” hanging over Washington and the “treasonous” actions of Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke in printing more money, are in fact lines perfectly crafted to enlist crucial far right support for the primary, which can later be explained away to a general electorate.
The racial implication of the “black cloud” phrase can be eased by Perry’s completion of the line with “of debt,” equating the nation’s fiscal problems with that black cloud over the capitol, which might otherwise suggest Obama (and which will still resonate as a racial slur for those inclined to so interpret it).
Similarly, Perry parsed his “treasonous” comment by stating that it was “almost” treasonous, further clarifying with the caveat that it was so only if the Fed was “printing money to play politics,” implying that the cash infusion was being done to prop up the economy and create circumstances suitable for an Obama re-election win.
Such verbal gymnastics perfectly portray the Jupiter/Mercury conjunction, which in addition to being conjunct a Quasar at 24 Aquarius, making it easy for Perry to disseminate his views and receive popular attention and acclaim for them, is squared the Black Hole at 24 Taurus, hiding his meaning in shades of grey and conveying tremendous power and gravitational attractive force to his utterances. With both Black Hole Sun and Black Hole Mercury, Perry’s ability to captivate and draw others into his orbit, for good or ill, should not be underestimated.
A square from natal Uranus at 0 Cancer to Mars at 8 Libra suggests a volatile, quick temper, but Mars’ retrograde status helps Perry largely keep it in check, with more simmering resentments and grudge matches than open conflict (although he acted as Dubya’s Lieutenant Governor, there is no love lost between the Bush and Perry camps, as reflected even today in the rather sniping commentary on Perry from former Bush advisor Karl Rove on Fox News). Mars’ conjunction with natal Neptune at 16 Libra also impedes full expression of that Mars anger and aggression, implying an almost oily, suave approach to conflict, where a deceptively (Neptune) conciliatory (Libra) attitude appears to encourage compromise (Libra), while actually creating a false (Neptune) security which enables Perry to attain his goals (Mars) by underhand means (Neptune), yet continue to seem reasonable (Libra).
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the chart, viewed from a national perspective, is the exact opposition from asteroid America at 26 Virgo to TNO Chaos and asteroid Achilles at 26 Pisces, forming a T-Square with the supermassive Black Hole at the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius. America opposed Chaos/Achilles suggests continued entropy, disruption, disorder (all Chaos) and vulnerability (Achilles) for the nation (America), with a major reversal or implosion (Black Hole) which garners global attention (Galactic Center). This potential was energized and highlighted by the Lunar Eclipse of June 2011 at 24 Sagittarius, less than two months before Perry entered the race.
Perry has some strong connections to the US chart as well. His Sun at 13 Pisces is exactly trine the USA’s own at 13 Cancer, and activates its natal square to the US Saturn at 14 Libra, inconjunct Perry’s Sun, conjoined by his Neptune, and currently experiencing its own Saturn Return, with transit Saturn conjunct the US natal Saturn when Perry began his campaign.
Perry’s natal asteroid Washingtonia at 17 Capricorn transforms the USA’s Sun/Saturn square into a T-Square, heightening the natural tension between the country’s self-image and essential core (Sun) and its government (Saturn), while his natal asteroid America at 26 Virgo conjoins the nation’s natal Neptune at 22 Virgo, promoting confusion, disappointment, and disillusion, but also enabling Perry to craft an idealized, religiously-colored, nostalgic image (all Neptune) of the country which feeds the fantasies (Neptune also) of a significant portion of the electorate.
When Perry announced his candidacy on 13 August 2011, transit asteroids Washingtonia and Texas (#35352) were exactly conjunct at 9 Scorpio, both exactly opposed transit Jupiter at 9 Taurus, forming a T-Square with transit asteroid Perry at 3 Aquarius. This bringing together of the politics (Jupiter) of Texas and Washington, in the person of the Texas Governor (asteroid Perry), could not be more astrologically elegant, and may be predictive of his move to the nation’s capitol.
A second T-Square of transit asteroids James (#2335, Perry’s given first name) at 14 Aries and Richard (for Rick) at 14 Cancer with transit Saturn (chief executive, governor, president) at 13 Libra tells the rest of the tale, and grounds it to the US with Richard’s conjunction to the US natal Sun and Saturn’s return to its natal position in the US chart.
Throughout the campaign year, Perry will receive several eclipse jolts which heighten his public profile and accentuate his gifts and public image. The Solar Eclipse of 25 November 2011 at 2 Sagittarius activates his natal asteroid Texas at 29 Scorpio, which squares the US natal Moon (the people) at 26 Aquarius, providing impetus for the campaign and helping to make inroads into the populace. Two Lunar Eclipses (one at 18 Gemini on 10 December 2011 and a second, even tighter, at 14 Sagittarius on 6 June 2012) bring out the natal Sun/Saturn opposition by T-Square, emphasizing Perry’s experience, accomplishments and executive ability, and helping to make him seem presidential. The June Lunar Eclipse may well signal the Texas Governor’s final locking down of the GOP nomination, as new proportional division of state’s primary delegates (as opposed to the old winner-take-all format) may cause the Romney/Perry battle to extend into late spring or early summer.
Perry’s transits for Election Day 2012 are quite favorable for victory. The Solar Eclipse which follows a week later on November 13 (and whose window of astrological opportunity opens two weeks before the astronomical event) falls at 21 Scorpio, exactly squared his natal Jupiter (politics, victory, luck, beneficial outcomes) at 21 Aquarius, also squared natal Mercury (voting, votes, tabulation) at 25 Aquarius and natal asteroid Richard at 20 Aquarius. In contrast, this same eclipse squares Obama’s natal Uranus at 25 Leo, possibly bringing disruption, turmoil and upset.
Additionally, transit Jupiter at 14 Gemini on Election Day will be forming a T-Square with Perry’s natal Sun/Saturn opposition, and itself lies exactly trine the USA Saturn at 14 Libra. Jupiter will be traveling with transit asteroids Texas and Perry at 10 and 17 Gemini, also astrologically suggestive of a good day for the Lone Star state and its governor, while transit asteroid Richard at 24 Libra exactly squares the USA Mercury at 24 Cancer, perhaps enabling Perry’s rhetoric and ideas (both Mercury) to connect with the American voter (also Mercury). Finally, transit asteroid James (Perry’s given first name) at 4 Scorpio conjoins transit Saturn (the presidency) at 3 Scorpio, and squares transit asteroid Washingtonia at 3 Aquarius, exactly where asteroid Perry was when the campaign began.Put it all together, and Election Day 2012 could be a very big day indeed for Rick Perry.