A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
August 17th, 2011
By Tom Carter
Rick Perry has jumped into the Republican primary race with both feet and mouth wide open. He’s sucking all the oxygen away from other Republican candidates, and before he’s through they’ll all be crawling on the floor and gasping for breath. Don’t think so? Look at his record, listen to what he says, and watch what happens.
Much of what Perry says is nonsense, but it plays well with the right wing of the Republican Party, especially among other evangelical Christians. Like their fellow extremists on the left, they tend not to think much beyond the boundaries of their biases. He’s going to force other Republican candidates to try to out-conservative him, and that will result in alienating the large moderate and independent segment of the electorate. Some will be driven back to Obama, and some will stay home on election day. Either way, Obama and the Democrats benefit.
Watch his announcement speech (transcript here). Listen to what he says, and look at him closely. This is probably the most natural politician since Bill Clinton:
Perry claims credit for the fact that Texas leads the nation, by far, in job creation during the last decade and during the last couple of years of high national unemployment. Like most politicians, he’s quick to claim credit for economic factors beyond his control and even quicker to lay off the blame when things go bad. But in his case, Perry does deserve some credit for Texas’ recent record of job creation.
Under Perry’s leadership, Texas became a magnet for businesses re-locating from other states, entrepreneurs moving into Texas, and new home-grown businesses. That was partly because of low taxes, business-friendly tort reform, generous incentives, and relaxed and limited regulation. However, there are always “buts,” and here are a few of them:
If you watched the video of the announcement speech or read the transcript, some things Perry said should have caught your attention. Two examples:
And I’ll promise you this: I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can. And at the same time, we’ll be freeing our families and small businesses and states from the burdensome and costly federal government so those groups can create, innovate and succeed.
All well and good, until you think about it. There are many things only the federal government can do. One is providing a source of money for states that need it — Texas, for example, which takes its share of federal largesse. Beyond that, the logical extension of Perry’s thinking would balkanize the U.S., with states lucky enough (oil income, for example) and, yes, smart enough to do better reaping all the benefits while other states suffer continuing long-term decline. Remember the non-existent free lunch — in Perry’s world, some Americans would prosper at the expense of others, particularly when states that are doing better have absorbed all the economic immigrants they can handle.
And I learned that not everyone values life like we do in America, or the rights that are endowed to every human being by a loving God.
This is breathtaking hypocrisy, coming from the governor of the state that is the American mecca for lovers of the death penalty. Perry himself strongly supports the death penalty, and he seems too thick to appreciate the irony inherent in opposing abortion (which is what he meant) while supporting government’s power to kill its own captive citizens.
Rick Perry is not George W. Bush by any stretch; he’s worse. He’s far more conservative, a much more ardent evangelical Christian, much less educated, and far less inclined toward bipartisanship. And, the thing that makes him really dangerous, he’s a much better politican. He’s clearly capable of overwhelming the current crop of Republican hopefuls, and, depending on what moderates and independents do, he might beat Barack Obama.
So, the choice we might end up with in November 2012 would be between a muddled, indecisive, insubstantial left-winger and a firmly convinced Christian praying to Jesus while trying to reduce these United States to a political and economic state of nature.
If that’s the choice, I think I’ll stay home on election day and watch re-runs of Law & Order.
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