Rick Perry on 2016: ‘We’re Not Electing a Critic-in-Chief’

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Republicans have to nominate a presidential candidate who can heal the divisions of the nation after “the most partisan president of the modern era” leaves office.

“Let’s be clear about something. The American voters' rejection of the Democrat policies doesn’t mean that they’re embracing Republicans. A congressional majority is a terrible thing to waste. See, the power granted to the Republicans by the people has to be used to serve the people. It’s not good enough to say what we’re just against. We must articulate what we are for,” Perry said at the American Principles Project gala in Washington.

“In that respect, we look at 2016, we’ve got to remember we’re not electing a critic-in-chief, we are electing a commander-in-chief and after the most partisan president of the modern era, it is vital we elect leadership that rises above this partisan bickering, rises above the grandstanding and the gridlock, bring Americans together and heal the divisions in this nation,” he added.

In his speech, Perry agreed with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who recently called Texas crazy.

“We are crazy. We’re crazy about jobs. We’re crazy about opportunity. We’re crazy about liberty. We’re crazy about the Constitution. I’m particularly crazy about the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment. What we’re not crazy about is a government that taxes too much, borrows too much, spends too much,” he said.

“Americans face this very important choice about the future – whether we’re going to continue to pursue the Washington model of reckless spending and taxes, job-killing regulations and government that’s too big to work or whether we’re going to choose the red-state model that I have in my home state and many other good red-state governed states, where taxes are low, regulations are reasonable and opportunity is on the rise,” he added.

Perry said the American people issued a verdict on those issues in November, rejecting the Obama administration’s policies, including the trading of five terrorists for a “military deserter.” Perry called for the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline and work with Congress to lower the corporate tax rate.

“We need to create this climate where entrepreneurs are willing to start new businesses,” he said. “We also have to be honest with the American people about this immoral debt that’s being placed on the next generation. No great nation has ever taxed and spent itself to prosperity, never, but that’s exactly what our current leaders seek -- well, I should say, the president doesn’t call it spending, he prefers to call it ‘investing.’”

Perry, a 2012 presidential candidate, named some of his home state’s accomplishments during his time as governor.

“For 12 straight years, we have led the nation in international exports. In 2013, we surpassed California to become the No. 1 high tech exporting state in the nation,” he said. “Our formula for success is pretty simple, keep the taxes low, implement smart regulations, have an accountable public school system that in turn develops a skilled workforce and stop lawsuit abuse at the courthouse.”

He specifically criticized the Obama administration for not doing enough to secure the border and for having a weak foreign policy.

“As a border governor, I can think of no greater example of Washington’s ineptness than their refusal to secure our border with Mexico,” he said, declaring that Texas will continue to combat drug cartels with or without the federal government’s assistance.

“They are the face of evil,” he said. “Texas has done more than any state in the nation to secure that border.”

Perry said Obama left Iraq vulnerable to a terrorist resurgence in the form of ISIS.

“This happened because of this president’s inaction in Syria. He allowed opposition forces to Assad to become radicalized. They grew in strength and number and they eventually crossed over that border into that border in Iraq,” he said.