The PJ Tatler

On Rick Perry and Purity

Obviously, Josh Trevino has the better argument here.

At the moment, Perry is well positioned to be the candidate who can combine Bachmann’s charismatic conservatism with Romney’s experience and organization. Of course, at the end of the day, it is Perry’s record of job creation may be what puts him in the White House. At this point, job creation may cover a multitude of sins. As one conservative blogger recently told me (regarding the allegations of crony capitalism): “I don’t like state slush funds at all, but if a $200 Million fund was all it took to create 4 out of 5 net new private sector jobs in the past three years, every state would look like Texas.”

And so, with that background now established, it is probably not terribly surprising that the rhetoric has become heated.

RedState co-founder Joshua Treviño — who currently serves as vice president for communications at the Texas Public Policy Foundation — led the charge against Malkin’s criticism of Perry on Thursday night, when he tweeted this:

“For years, [Malkin] has walked up to the line between hardcore and fringe. Today she crossed it.”

Malkin, of course, is an incredibly popular conservative blogger and author. Calling her “fringe” is a serious charge to level.

Still, those who agree with Treviño’s characterization will take solace in the fact that Malkin’s allegation that Perry is “soft on illegal immigration” was linked to a Politico column written by Tom Tancredo (whom many consider to be an anti-immigration fringe element). Her worries about a “Trans Texas Corridor” also echoes the rantings of Jerome Corsi (whom most serious conservatives definitely regard as a fringe gadfly). And lastly, the “fringe” charge is reinforced by the fact that professional anti-sharia law activist Pam Geller is now convinced that Rick Perry is pushing Texas classrooms “to reflect a sharia compliant version of Islam.”

Malkin laughed off Treviño’s last tweet, writing: [Treviño] has … proclaimed me “fringe.” Curtains for me!”

Treviño then responded, writing: “Sorry, but if you’re charging RICK PERRY with being an Obamaesque, Latino-racialist, Islamist-friendly non-conservative …. you’re nuts.”

Is Rick Perry exactly where I am on immigration? No, but he’s miles closer to where I am than he is to Obama, and he has gone out of his way to try to get Obama to do something to secure the border. Obama has chosen not to do so, and now chosen lawless pandering to boot. The charge that Perry is some sort of stealth sharia supporter doesn’t square up at all with his staunch support of Israel, another point where he is miles closer to where I stand than he is to Obama, whose record on the Middle East is one of tilting dangerously toward Arabism. The charge of “crony capitalism” comes straight from the hapless Texas Democratic Party, which has leveled that charge at Gov. Perry for years. Why some on the right have taken to parroting that particular talking point is beyond me, but to play their game, have they suddenly become Democrats?

No. They’re just wrong.

There are times when pundits stake out positions for the right reasons, and there are times when they seem to stake out positions for the sake of attention. I’ll leave readers to judge for themselves what’s going on in some of this vitriol being hurled against Perry at the moment. I wouldn’t go as far as to throw around the “fringe” label. Vetting Perry is perfectly fine and necessary; smearing him is irresponsible.

The fact is, Perry can win. The other fact is, for us over here on the Right, Perry is in many ways the man the left thought George W. Bush was. He has a real record of success. That record is attracting positive attention from people who have been adversely slammed by Obama’s reign. Those who look for the “perfect” candidate will look forever in vain. But to the extent that some spend their time tearing down perfectly solid candidates who can defeat Obama and reverse the damage he has done, they’re inadvertently doing The Won’s bidding.