Rick Perry  

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I recently commented on the recent speech at CPAC by Mike Pence, and have found transcrips of a couple of other good speeches. Here's my take on Rick Perry's speech.

Most of this speech is good, from a Federalist perspective. He makes some awesome points as to how the problems we have today came about, such as

In fact, after seeing deficits explode spending rise to unprecedented levels entitlement programs take control over more of our federal budget and our border left neglected and unprotected it seems as if conservatives won the war at the ballot box, and then let the opposition keep most of the land.

The one thought I want to leave you with today is this: having built a Republican majority, it is time to build a conservative majority. America needs more leaders willing to govern and not just campaign as conservatives.

Today we find liberals campaigning as conservatives to get elected, and conservatives governing as liberals in order to be liked. Either way, the end result is the same: they spend too much.

We need to return to our conservative roots rather than redefine them. We have already won the debate of ideas.

The other side cannot even admit what they are. They have to run around calling themselves progressives, or "the new mainstream" or moderates because it sells a lot better than being called a liberal. Conservatives don't have to engage in that nonsense we just say what we are because that is what the people have elected.

The debate has been won. Let's stop trying to defend our victory and accept it. And most importantly, let's do something with it. I say let's start by returning to our roots on the issue of spending.
All of these things are right on the money. Candidates and those who win the elections need to stop the practice of running as conservatives and then governing as liberals. Spending is definitely the place to start.

Rick goes on ...
As one of my old Democrat opponents, John Sharp, used to say "both Democrats and Republicans will spend every dime they can get their hands on. The only difference is that Republicans will tell you they feel bad about it." I'm starting to think John was right.

But there is one other fundamental difference. The public expects Democrats to spend every dime in the treasury and then ask for more because that's what Democrats do. On the other hand, they elect Republicans to stop that from happening and if Republicans keep spending like Democrats, the public will elect the real thing.

Like President Reagan, I believe the cause of conservatism is not to dismantle government, but make it work. It is about making the right investments in the right priorities, recognizing government cannot be all things to all people. And I will be the first to say some priorities deserve more money, not less.
The cause of conservatism IS to dismantle government. Perry is wrong about that. However, he does come across as conservative on the whole, though not as conservative as Pence or, as we will see later on, George Allen.

A position that Perry takes that I would judge as essentially liberal is his position on MediScare. While his position that states need more control and flexibility with regard to MediScare would be a conservative position, the idea that there should be a program like MediScare in the first place is liberal. As a Federalist, I believe that if a state, such as Texas, wants to instate and fund such a program, they should be able to. But as a conservative individualist, I also believe that for a state to do such a thing would be a bad idea. So, while Texans have the right to a MediScare program within their state (not as a federal program), they also have the responsibility of dealing with its unavoidable failure. MediScare is not authorized under the Constitution, so as a federal program it must be rolled back and abolished. Since Mr. Perry isn't talking about doing the right thing and just putting MediScare on the scrap heap of history where it belongs, I'd call him liberal on that point. His points on border security are right on.

As for education, Perry stops short of advocating the right thing (getting the federal government out of it altogether and handing it over to the states), but does hit on a good point that the states should all consider: merit pay. Great idea if used properly in the context of education programs run by the individual states. The whole federal education thing has been a dismal failure and will continue to be as long as the fed has its sticky hands on it. He also advocates vouchers. Again, great thing if it's done by the states and not the fed.

His closing statements were inspiring:
We have to fight for our principles: that money alone is not the answer to every challenge and that freedom should not only be exported to foreign countries, but imported to our inner city children and that the compassion in our hearts is not measured by the size of our government.

Those ideas must be more than campaign slogans they should be the foundation of conservative governance.

Any elected group or class that values being elected or liked more than pursuing their principles will achieve neither for very long.

We have won the debate. Now let's begin to reclaim our ground. And let the conservative revolution begin.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless America.
Money is NOT the answer to every challenge. Freedom should be exported, sure, but should also be re-emphasized here at home. Big government does NOT equal big compassion. Conservatism must be applied, not just run on. Talking the talk and walking the walk are two totally different things.