Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that a Texas hunting camp with a racially-charged name, which was painted on a rock on the property, had been leased by Rick Perry and his family. The property had long been known by that name, even before the Perry family had anything to do with it.
According to the Perry campaign, the rock was painted over by Perry's father in the early 1980s -- which could correlate with the Post's account. But we're not really sure, because of, well, this:
Most of those interviewed requested anonymity because they fear being ostracized or other repercussions in their small community. Some are supporters of Perry, whose parents still live in Paint Creek. Others, both Democrats and Republicans, are not. Several spoke matter-of-factly about the hunting camp and its name and wondered why it held any outside interest.
The Post relies on anonymous sources for the story, especially when those seeking anonymity contradict Perry's account. And then there's this:
As recently as this summer, the rock was still there, according to photographs viewed by The Washington Post.
In the photos, it was to the left of the gate. It was laid down flat. The exposed face was brushed clean of dirt. White paint, dried drippings visible, covered a word across the surface. An N and two G’s were faintly visible.
So these photos exist, but the Post either can't or won't show them to you. But take their word for it--the photos are damning! Hmm.
The name of the hunting camp is an unfortunate reminder of America's racist past, but the fact is that Rick Perry didn't name the place. Vestigial racist names for places are hardly unique to Perry or Texas. Just this summer, New York state finally got around to renaming a lake named after the N-word.
Naturally, the Post story opens the floodgates of media speculation and piling on. The non-story broke on the front page Sunday's Post. This morning, the following story was on the front page of the New York Times: "Perry's Link to N-Word Place Name Puts Campaign on Defensive."
For those of you keeping score, the number of days it took the New York Times to put incendiary racial accusations against a GOP presidential candidate on the front page: one.
When Barack Obama was running for president, how long did the Times go before mentioning that Obama's former pastor, the man who baptized his children and supplied the title for his second book, had responded to the 9/11 terrorist attack by saying "God damn America"? Six months.
And while the East Coast media is whipping up a frenzy about Perry's old hunting camp, he's being attacked because he supports providing in-state tutition to illegal immigrants in Texas. There may be a lot of reasons to criticize Rick Perry, but there's absolutely no evidence that he's racist.