Rick Perry on Principles and the Presidency

Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave an interview to Time’s Mark Halperin, and spelled out his philosophy of governance:

You’ve been pretty busy doing lots of stuff including looking at possibly running. Have you had time to think about how you’d like to do the job of President if you got elected?
That is obviously an issue that is always in conversation or in your mind. At lunch today, [South Carolina Rep.] Tim Scott and I were talking about, “What do you do in the first 100 days?” So, yes, it’s not a, as we go through the appropriate thought process of making a decision about whether or not we’re going to run for the presidency—there’s certainly a parallel track that is ongoing about what do you do when you get there. What [are] America’s needs? And I’ve boiled it down pretty quickly to the four principles that we put in place in Texas that have worked rather well while the rest of the country has been going through some—most certainly the big states—pretty rough times. Texas has—I won’t say we’ve somehow totally missed this recession—but we’ve weathered it better than any other state from the standpoint of job creation. I think that is inarguable. But, don’t spend all the money. I mean, in Washington D.C. if you want to just get down to the pure epicenter, the nucleus of the problem in Washington D.C., is they’re spending too much money. Have a tax structure that’s fair, and as low as you can have it, and still deliver the services that the people require. Have a regulatory climate that is fair, predictable. Predictability is so important. Today in Washington D.C. the idea of predictability in the regulatory climate—it’s not there. That’s the reason there are so many people sitting on their money rather than investing it and taking the entrepreneurial risk. Then obviously, the fourth is to have a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing. And then government needs to step back and get out of the way.


In that answer, Perry has told us more about how he actually thinks and governs than Barack Obama has told us in his four years on the national stage. Perry’s four principles: Don’t let government spend all the money; have a fair tax structure that supports essential services; have a fair and predictable regulatory climate; and keep frivolous lawsuits down. And then to tie it all together, get the government out of the way. It’s so clear and sensible that Washington is bound to hate it.

Having been back in Texas for more than a couple of years now, I can say that these principles have been the bedrock of Perry’s message and governance. I’ve heard him articulate them many times and I’ve seen the Texas government come to grips with living by them. They’re among the reasons that Texas is one of only three states that have more jobs now than before the recession began, and they’re among the reasons Texas is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. Companies as diverse as Caterpillar and Facebook have moved to Texas in the past year or two; these principles help explain why.

Having watched Barack Obama as president for nearly three years, it’s clear that he never states his actual philosophy of governance. But there are enough clues now to put it together: Use the regulatory state to assume powers not granted by Congress or the people; push massive transformative legislation through before anyone has had the time to examine it at all; demagogue the job creators at every turn and demand more of them to spend on entitlements; use the federal treasury and bureaucracy to enrich your allies, divide the country and punish your political enemies.


Now, as to Gov. Perry’s desire to run for president, and what his wife thinks of him running.

Did you two say, let’s sit down and figure this out today?
That is a good description. We sat down. My wife, who is a nurse, whose father practiced medicine in that little hometown [that] she grew [in] 52 years is greatly concerned about what’s going to happen to the ability to access health care, the innovation that goes with. I mean we’ve got one of the finest, if not the best, health care systems in the world. She sees Obamacare as destroying that. Obviously as a CEO of a state, the cost associated with this is going to just going to be monstrous—$2.7 billion dollars a year for taxes. And then the secondary, and just as important reason, but I’ll just say the second reason we had this conversation is a 27-year-old and a 24-year-old who are our children. And this monstrous debt that’s been created that’s going to be on their back. They’re going to have to be the generation that doesn’t have the same opportunities that we had because of this out-of-control spending in Washington D.C. Basically, this experiment that this President has sent this country through has been an absolute disaster. So her concerns about the profession that she has spent her lifetime in and loves, being destroyed, and the impact on her children, and the conversation, if I can paraphrase was, “I know you love what you do. I know you think it’s the greatest job in the country. But our country is in trouble, and you need to do your duty.” And at that particular point in time, a person that I greatly love who I’ve been either dating or married to for I think 45 years now, made me realize that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines if my country’s future truly is at stake. And I believe our country truly is at stake, and the future of what we’re going to look like is a problem.


So it looks like Perry is running. He has the desire, he sees it as a mission, and his wife is telling him it’s his duty to run. Is he announcing that run at Red State this weekend? We’ll see, but I don’t think so. The smoke has not quite become a fire yet. But it will soon enough. I’d say he’s in by Labor Day and then we have ourselves a race to watch.


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