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As Long as We Remember...

September 27, 2011

Deconstructing Rick Perry

Shawn Burns

As of right now, Rick Perry, governor of Texas, appears to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president. Of course that can all change in the blink of an eye, but assuming he is, who exactly is Rick Perry?


If Governor Perry remains out in front of the pack, how can the national Republican political machine actually support him?


Here is the first problem for this presidential candidate: career politicians are frowned upon in many circles across the country today. This breed of politician is referred to as a bunch of parasites and the root cause of many of our problems.


Governor Perry first jumped into politics in 1984 when he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives and he’s never looked back. He has been collecting checks at taxpayer expense ever since. He would be wise to avoid saying the words “career politician” at all costs in any speeches and in any context in order to avoid drawing attention to his own status as a career politician.


“Reagan” Republican? Really?


Everyone is entitled to the right to change their opinions, views and political party affiliations for any reason they see fit. That is indisputable. But it is curious that Governor Perry refers to himself as a “Reagan” Republican. Rick Perry was a Democrat the entire time President Ronald Reagan was in office.


There is nothing wrong with anyone from one party supporting someone from a different party. It happens every day. It just seems highly unlikely that he supported President Reagan during that time for a few different reasons.


First, in 1987, while President Reagan was winding down his second term, State Representative Rick Perry was voting in favor of a $5.7 billion tax increase for his fellow Texans. And no follower of Ronald Reagan would have voted for that.


Second, if Perry were such a big follower of Mr. Reagan, why would he have supported Al Gore for president in 1988 and served as the chair of Gore’s campaign in Texas?


There is nothing wrong with Governor Perry changing political parties, but it is disingenuous for him to run around calling himself a “Reagan” Republican. He would have been better off simply saying he admires President Reagan and the Republican ideals and agenda that President Reagan advanced during his years in The White House.


Savior of Texas?


In 2006, Governor Perry became only the third governor in the history of Texas to be elected to office with less that 40 percent of the votes cast. Not exactly a resounding victory for a man who claims to be the savior of his fellow Texans.


In many circles it is said that government doesn’t create jobs. Government only gets in the way of job creation.


But Governor Perry claims he is an expert on job creation in his state and wants to now export his wisdom to the rest of us. How can that be?


Let’s take a closer look at the numbers from Texas.


While Ann Richards was the governor there, job growth was around 11 percent over four years. When former Gov. George W. Bush was running the show in Texas (during the national boom) job growth in Texas was at 20%. Governor Perry has seen job growth at 11 percent since he’s been in office.


And it is interesting to note that since Mr. Perry has been in office, the number of government job in Texas has increased by nearly 290,000 – an 18 percent increase while private sector jobs increased 10 percent. The increase in the size of the state government under Governor Perry’s leadership should raise more than a few red flags among limited/smaller government advocates.


Limited Government advocate?


On April 9, 2009, Governor Perry said: "I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states' rights…”


That statement made more than a few small government proponents happy. But the problem is that Governor Perry then turned around and said he supports amending the Constitution to establish a national policy (administered by the federal government) on social issues.


So, he’s against the federal government in our lives when it comes to issues he believes in, such as gun rights, but he’s for the federal government intruding in our lives when it concerns issues or ideas he doesn’t like.


Wow, what a guy.


The hypocrisy is too great to be able to address it all in this column. Either Governor Perry has to believe in oversight by the federal government or he doesn’t. He can’t pick and choose when and when not the government can intrude.


Along those same lines, ole’ “limited government” Perry signed an executive order back in 2007 mandating that all girls in Texas must receive the HPV vaccine. This column is not going to delve into the pros and cons of the vaccine. The point is that Governor Perry claims to be a strong advocate of limited government, but then mandates government intrusion into the lives of his constituents.


Governor Perry needs to learn to walk the walk if he’s going to insist on talking the talk when it comes to being a proponent of limited government.


Then there’s the issue of Governor Perry’s close ties to drug manufacturer Merck who just so happened to have the only approved HPV vaccine on the market when Perry signed his executive order. And this circles back around to the issue of the ugliness and negative view of career politicians.


Governor Rick Perry is clearly a confused man. What’s worse is that Governor Perry doesn’t even have a clue as to his own state of confusion.


Poor fella.


Will the real Rick Perry please stand up?


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