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Perry is Texas Monthly's Bum Steer of the Year

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Image courtesy Texas Tribune
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Oops, they did it again.

For only the second time in its history, Texas Monthly has named a Texas governor its Bum Steer of the Year. The first was Dolph Briscoe, who earned the distinction, if you can call it that, back in 1976. This year, Gov. Rick Perry takes the (booby) prize, thanks to a stumbling presidential campaign that has been grade-A fodder for late night talk show hosts and cable TV comics.

In a note accompanying the unveiling of the January 2012 cover, editor Jake Silverstein acknowledges that his staff was reluctant to "confer the lowest honor on our highest office" — if only in a show of solidarity against the "Texas-mocking Yankee press." But Perry's now-infamous brain freeze in the middle of a GOP debate pushed them over the edge.

"The end came swiftly, in a matter of seconds," Silverstein writes. "Fifty-three of them, to be exact: the time it took the governor to go from trying in vain to name the third agency of government he would shutter as president to giving up and muttering—in a phrase that will surely go down, should his campaign expire, as its perfect epitaph—'Oops.' In that moment all our resistance melted away, and we rushed, shaking our heads in disbelief, into the arms of our unquestionable 2012 Bum Steer of the Year. We didn’t want to, but we had to."

Evan Smith is the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, which, in its first year in operation, won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and a General Excellence Award from the Online News Association. Previously he spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down in August 2009 as the magazine's president and editor-in-chief. He previously served as editor for more than eight years — only the third person to hold that title. On his watch, Texas Monthly was nominated for 16 National Magazine Awards, the magazine industry's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and twice was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. For eight years, Smith hosted a Lone Star Emmy Award-winning weekly interview program, Texas Monthly Talks, that aired on PBS stations statewide. He currently hosts a new show, Overheard with Evan Smith, that airs on PBS stations nationally. A New York native, Smith has a bachelor's degree in public policy from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University.