If all I knew about the Republican presidential candidates is what I saw on that stage in Ames, Iowa on August 4th, my candidates would be Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Newt was feisty, knowledgeable and the smartest guy in the room; and Santorum's impassioned defense of traditional marriage and innocent human life was truly inspiring. He also held his own when cranky old Ron Paul tried to sell the ridiculous idea that a nuclear Iran would pose no threat to us or to Israel.
Of course, we do know other things about Gingrich and Santorum, and neither is likely to make it to the Iowa Caucuses in January, let alone be nominated for president. Gingrich is morally compromised and yesterday’s news, while Santorum is damaged goods, having lost his Senate re-election bid to lightweight Bob Casey Jr. in 2006.
With Michele Bachmann emerging as the winner of the Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty dropping out, and Mitt Romney hanging on as the presumed frontrunner, Republican primary voters are still pining for another Ronald Reagan. Conversely, many of these same party faithful are cringing at the prospect of another George Bush or John McCain winning this year's GOP nomination.
So now comes the question: Is Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who has just joined Bachmann and Romney in this week’s top tier of viable candidates for the presidency, another Reagan or another Bush?
There is little question that Perry enjoys the support of the Bush family. This is no small item, especially in the fund-raising department. Before Obama came along, no one could match the Bush clan’s ability to rake in the greenbacks. In fact, those money contacts have served Perry well in Texas over the past decade. Perry was George W. Bush’s lieutenant governor, thereby elevating him to the governor’s office when Dubya became president in 2001. He then went on to be elected in his own right in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Clearly, there are ties to the Bushes.
While Barack Obama was presiding over (and contributing to) the decline of the U.S. economy, Rick Perry was working with Texas legislators to make his state a magnet for entrepreneurs. Indeed, the centerpiece of his presidential campaign is sure to be the astonishing fact that 40 percent of all jobs created in the entire country in recent years have been in the state of Texas! Even the Gipper would be impressed with such a record.
Perry's positions on the issues of the day will surely be brought to light in the coming weeks and months. Some are questioning his bona fides on illegal immigration and the defense of life and marriage. For now, until I actually decide who will ultimately win my vote, it is enough to know that John Podesta's far-left Center for American Progress hates him and has published their top ten reasons, such as:
- Perry supports the repeal of the 16th Amendment, which shackled the American people with a federal income tax, and the 17th Amendment, which took the election of U.S. Senators away from the state legislatures and put it in the fickle hands of ignorant voters. Repealing these two Woodrow Wilson era laws is an excellent idea.
- Perry designated as "emergency legislation" a bill requiring all women seeking abortions to have sonograms first. The death of unborn children has been an emergency of epic proportions for the last 38 years. Enough said about that.
- Perry was a strong supporter of Texas's anti-sodomy laws. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence vs. Texas that the act of sodomy is a right. Perry dismissed the High Court's decision, calling the justices "nine oligarchs in robes." After the law was struck down, Perry supported the Texas Legislature's refusal to remove the law from its books.
- Perry floated the idea of Texas seceding from the United States, saying "If Washington continues to force these programs on the states, if Washington continues to disregard the 10th Amendment, who knows what happens?"
God bless Texas.