|Rick Perry, the Texas Tea Party Governor|
By Ashton Ellis
Monday, June 13 2011
What is it about Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry and the mere possibility he may run for the presidency that get liberals so foam-at-the-mouth enraged?
For starters, he personifies the Tea Party movement. When Perry was locked in an uncertain primary fight in 2009 against U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, he countered her endorsement from the elder President Bush with appearances at three Texas tea party events. At the one in Austin, Perry fired up the anti-tax crowd by blasting the federal government’s interventions into state policymaking.
Afterwards, Perry repeated a line to reporters familiar to anyone who knows a Texan. When discussing how to fight back against federal overreach, Perry said Texas could – but shouldn’t – secede from the United States.
“We’ve got a great union,” said Perry. “There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
That statement is now being twisted by liberal media types into veiled warnings of a return to antebellum notions of states’ rights. One outlet even trotted out an email exchange it had with a University of Texas law professor describing how the 1845 annexation agreement between the United States and the Republic of Texas is unclear about secession, but is probably overruled by the Civil War.
Talk about missing the point. First of all, Texans are indeed “a pretty independent lot” who like to tell visitors about the state’s retained right to break up into five smaller states and elect five times as many U.S. senators. Another point of pride is the fact that the state’s Lone Star tri-color is the only one of fifty state flags that can fly at the same height as Old Glory.
It is obvious now and at the time he said it that Perry wasn’t calling for Texas to secede from the union. He was just speaking like almost every native Texan who takes a public or private school state-themed history class.
But unlike most Texans, Perry had a chance to give form to his beliefs. In April of 2009, Perry again made headlines with his defense of “states’ rights.” In this case, it was his support for a state representative’s non-binding resolution to reassert Texas’ – and its citizens’ – rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For those who think ObamaCare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, the 10th Amendment’s text gives a clear indication that it is: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
According to the Founders who wrote and passed the Constitution, the 10th Amendment helps define the limits of the federal government’s powers. If a power is not expressly given to the federal government – like mandating an individual citizen to buy health care or pay a penalty – then such a power is reserved to the states or the people.
Other Perry policies come in for similar distortions. Like a majority of Texas Republican lawmakers, Perry prefers to balance budgets by cutting spending instead of raising taxes. This year, he is trying to corral enough votes to lower state spending by $15 billion. And while it’s true that state services will be reduced, Perry and other pro-growth conservatives are betting that keeping taxes low creates better conditions for long-term success. With 730,000 new jobs since he took office in 1999, Perry believes that the best way to help the poor is to increase the number of jobs.
If he were to win the GOP presidential nomination, Rick Perry would offer voters a stark contrast with President Barack Obama: a job creator with more than three times the experience as a government chief executive, a former Air Force fighter pilot and a politician who checks every box on the social conservative wish list.
That he looks good and drawls his words are just added bonuses for conservatives looking for a reliable candidate once in office – especially if those qualities annoy the liberal establishment into fits of incoherence.
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