14 August, 2011

The Obligatory ‘Rick Perry’ Is In Post

Apparently the Governor of TX made some big splash yesterday in South Carolina. Rick Perry (R-TX) announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

Melissa Clouthier has the text of his speech, and the video on her blog.

And here’s his first campaign vid.


From my timeline in Twitter, Perry is apparently either the Second Coming, or the ultimate Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Everyone seems to be excited about his candidacy, but that doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it.

I alone am not incredibly excited either way.

I’ve been a tepid supporter of former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). Perry appears to be a better candidate than Pawlenty, but he’s not perfect, not by a long shot (not that I expect him to be—but the adulation I’m seeing in Twitter is somewhat disconcerting). However, some of the criticism being leveled against him appears to be unfair.

There’s the article from the Wall Street Journal called “Rick Perry’s Crony Capitalism Problem”. Frankly, this is a poorly done article, and is more of a hatchet job than a piece offering legitimate criticism. Having done business with a number of state legislatures over the years, I can pretty much guarantee that there are programs like the one mentioned in the article in 49 other states as well. Some of them are very good programs, and some are little better than organized crime. But, a hardliner would probably find something to be concerned with in every single one. It’s the nature of the beast. This one might tilt a little bit too far on the ethical question, and it might not. But without something solid, I’m going to lean in the direction of…not.

The other question that is being brought up is his stance on illegal immigration. And, frankly, he appears to be weak here. Another poorly written and poorly titled piece about his issues here appears on Politico. There’s another one on TPM. Given the source, this article also needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. Weeding out the personal distaste the authors apparently have for Perry does leave the following facts (some good, some bad):

  • He wanted children of illegal aliens (whom he called “undocumented workers”—big red flag) to be able to attend state colleges at resident rates.
  • He cracked down on sanctuary cities.
  • He’s against E-Verify.
  • He opposed AZ’s SB1070 bill.
  • He’s in favor of Voter ID.
  • He’s strongly in favor of more manpower to secure the border
  • He’s in favor of some sort of guest worker program for illegals.
  • He’s also called for more open borders (note that that’s not quite a contradiction—you can be for more openness and yet still be against crossing illegally)
  • He was in favor of some sort of Mexican-Texas toll road. Meh.
  • He said giving amnesty to 13 million illegals was “Asinine”.

I will admit that there are things here that give me pause. Illegal immigration is one of my hot button issues, and not just because I believe it’s an economy killer. Perry seems to be trying to straddle the fence on this issue, and in my mind by doing so all he’s doing is sitting on barbed wire in a silk suit. He needs to pick a side on this issue. And if he picks the wrong one, it will be a big deal for me. I see some people claiming that his stance is ok or that it somehow makes him more electable. Amazingly, some of these same people were worried that the GOP might cave on taxes in exchange for promised future cuts. In my mind, that is incredibly inconsistent. This is an issue the GOP has given in on before, just like those tax increases, and gotten burned, just like those tax increases. There’s no acceptable middle ground here, and neither is it acceptable to be on the wrong side.

There’s a pretty good bio of Perry here, but in my mind it attempts to whitewash his stances on illegal aliens, and make him look farther to the right than he appears to be.

On the good side, Perry’s on the right side on taxes, and I believe he will open up offshore drilling. I hope he’ll open up ANWR, and investigate shale oil and other alternatives. From what I read about him, most of those things appear likely.

I have said before that while I’ll vote for my toaster over President Barack Obama (D-USA), that I can’t support former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) in the primaries. While I don’t really think she’s a long term player in the race, I have just as many issues with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06). I don’t believe legislators make good Presidents. I never have, and certainly the last 2 1/2 years have done nothing to change my mind. So, if I’m choosing between Perry and those two, it’s an easy choice. I choose Perry.

But assuming no new candidate enters the race, the level of my support will be one of three things, and it depends on what Perry says over the next few months:

  1. Reluctant. I end up here if he says other things that indicate that the Politico article may be correct, that he’s all bluster on this issue.
  2. Tepid. This is where I am now, but I admit I’m warmer to him than I was to Pawlenty. And this is where I’ll stay if he continues to straddle the fence.
  3. Enthusiastic. All he has to do to get here is make one simple statement, “I’m not even going to discuss what to do about the illegals (and I wanna hear that word, not ‘undocumented workers’) already here until the border is demonstrably more secure.”

My cynicism when it comes to politicians makes me believe that I’m far more likely to end up on #1 than #3, but we’ll see.

Regardless, I’m happy to have another viable candidate in the race. Welcome, Governor Perry.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Perry used to be a Democrat. I couldn’t possibly care less. That was 23 years ago. Pfft. President Ronald Reagan (R-USA) used to be a Democrat too. I care what he’s done lately, and he’s clearly a conservative. Also, it’s worthwhile pointing out that he was a TEXAS Democrat. That’s like a MASSACHUSETTS Republican, i.e., you can add the INO label without too much irony.


UPDATE 2: I should point out here that the good that I see in Perry far outweighs the bad. Illegal immigration is the ONLY thing I’ve seen so far that concerns me, and he’s not exactly on the wrong side. As I said, he appears to be straddling the fence. That just makes me nervous about him, not ready to throw him over the side. As I said, I was a supporter of Pawlenty, and from what I’ve seen so far, Perry is a far better candidate than Pawlenty.

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