Love him, hate him or simply unsure about him yet one thing is for certain: Governor Rick Perry’s entry into the 2012 Presidential Election has elicited strong reaction from grassroots conservatives, from prominent bloggers like Michelle Malkin and the PJ Tattler to well-known conservative activists on Facebook.
Steve Rosenblum and I devoted most of our CRF Weekdays broadcast to the topic yesterday, citing Michelle’s column, while we tried to remain objective and present both sides of the story. Steve as usual, was much calmer than I in discussing the matter. And while it is much too early in the primary process to be jumping on anybody’s bandwagon, preferring that this time around we as conservatives take the time to truly vet every candidate, I have not ruled out supporting Perry if Palin declines to get in the race (though I am praying she will).
I also understand that after suffering through such abominations as Obamacare (rammed down the throats of the American people in spite of the fact the vast majority opposed it), Stimulus 2, the takeover of General Motors and the insufferable class warfare rhetoric that emanates constantly from the Obama Administration — just to name a few in the endless stream of outrages — emotions are running high as our country stands on the brink of being “fundamentally transformed” into a socialist European-style state forever.
I get it, I want Obama out too. I also want to ensure that he’s replaced with the best possible candidate. Is that Rick Perry, assuming the field is set?
In February 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a shocking executive order forcing every sixth-grade girl to submit to a three-jab regimen of the Gardasil vaccine. He also forced state health officials to make the vaccine available “free” to girls ages 9 to 18. The drug, promoted by manufacturer Merck as an effective shield against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts, as well as cervical cancer, had only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration eight months prior to Perry’s edict.
Gardasil’s wear-off time and long-term side effects have yet to be determined. “Serious questions” remain about its “overall effectiveness,” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Even the chair of the federal panel that recommended Gardasil for children opposes mandating it as a condition of school enrollment. Young girls and boys are simply not at an increased risk of contracting HPV in the classroom the way they are at risk of contracting measles or other school-age communicable diseases.
Perry defenders pointed to a bogus “opt-out” provision in his mandate “to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children’s health care.” But requiring parents to seek the government’s permission to keep an untested drug out of their kids’ veins is a plain usurpation of their authority. Translation: Ask your bureaucratic overlord to determine if a Gardasil waiver is right for you.
Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner refers to Perry as the “cowboy corporatist”:
Perry promises to “get Americans back to work,” but his policies — from backroom drug company giveaways to green energy subsidies — eerily mirror the unseemly big business-big government collusion that has characterized President Obama’s presidency. Judging by his record in Texas, Perrynomics might just be low-tax Obamanomics.
Corporate welfare king Boeing provided a formative experience for Perry. Weeks after Perry took over the governorship in 2001, the jet maker announced it was moving its corporate headquarters out of Seattle and was considering Chicago, Denver and Dallas. Undoubtedly, Texas provided the best business environment: lower taxes, less regulation, better weather, less traffic. But Chicago won because Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. George Ryan offered Boeing $63 million in “incentives,” including a $1 million buyout to a tenant who was occupying Boeing’s preferred office space.
One problem: Texas’ slower legislative process prevented the state from making a counteroffer. Perry was determined to fix this inefficiency so he would never be out-corporate-welfared again.
In his next State of the State address, Perry pushed the Legislature to create the Texas Enterprise Fund, giving the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker the power to hand out multimillion-dollar grants to businesses seeking to relocate to or expand within the state. Two years later, Perry and the Legislature created another subsidy bank, called the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, using taxpayer money to invest in high-tech companies. Perry made government a venture capital fund.
Muckrakers at the Los Angeles Times and the Austin American Statesman have shown a strong correlation between Perry’s biggest campaign contributors and the money handled by these funds and Perry’s other public-private partnership. Almost half of Perry’s “mega-donors,” according to the Times, have received profitable favors from the Texas government. Poultry magnate Joe Sanderson, for instance, gave Perry’s campaign $165,000 and received $500,000 from the Texas Enterprise Fund to open a facility in Waco, the Times reports.
All told, the Dallas Morning News has found that some $16 million from the tech fund has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers, and $27 million from the fund has gone to companies founded or advised by six advisory board members. The tangle of interests surrounding the fund has raised eyebrows throughout the state, especially among conservatives who think the fund is a misplaced use of taxpayer dollars to start with.
“It is fundamentally immoral and arrogant,” says state representative David Simpson, a tea party-backed freshman from Longview, two hours east of Dallas. The fund “opened the door to the appearance of impropriety, if not actual impropriety.”
In April, the state auditor’s office called for greater transparency in the fund’s management, and some legislators began looking for ways that the fund might be reformed. With the state facing a $27 billion budget shortfall in the last legislative session, Mr. Simpson filed a motion in the Texas House in May to shutter the fund and redirect the money to other portions of the budget. That measure passed 89-37 to cheers from the chamber. But the fund was kept alive by the legislature’s conference committee. The fund currently has $140 million to spend, according to the governor’s office.
Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, sees in the Emerging Technology Fund a classic example of the perils of government pork. “The problem with these kinds of funds is that even when they’re used with the best of intentions, it looks bad,” says Mr. Sullivan. “You’re taking from the average taxpayer and giving to someone who has a connection with government officials.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, I voted for Perry in each of the three gubernatorial elections since 2002 and I am a conservative and a registered Republican. It was easy for me to vote for Perry since the alternative(s) were either uber-RINOs in the primaries or liberal Democrats in the general elections. Under the circumstances, my choice was always easy.
While researching Perry’s pros and cons, I’ve read every article and blog post that I could find – over several weeks. Many of those posts had 2-300 comments associated with them – I read them all.
After reading literally thousands of comments, it’s become apparent that there are quite a lot of anti-Perry activists out there throwing all sorts of disparaging rhetorical crap against the wall in hopes that some will stick and they can influence someone, anyone, to become anti-Perry too. The unfortunate thing is that most of their negative statements are either completely false, at worst, or misleading, at best. They’re simply parroting something they saw on another hater’s blog. Yet they maintain that they are the knowledgeable ones and those supporting Perry are ignorant clods who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – “ignorant” is an adjective that they like to use a lot.
It’s ludicrous to think that some asinine statement like “Gardasil, Perry blew it – ‘nuff said,” deserves any consideration. No, it’s not “’nuff said,” there is usually more to know about an issue before a reasonable person can make an intelligent decision. For that reason, I have attempted to present some additional facts that have not been widely publicized just to educate those who have not been privy to Texas politics until now.
Please visit Pesky Truth to read the entire piece.
Expect much more to come on the topic of Rick Perry. As Malkin notes today, a primary season is not a coronation so to suggest any examination of Perry’s record as governor is akin to “attacking” him is absurd. That being said, I have no time for actual character assassination, including this lovely tactic from the Ron Paul crowd or the knee-jerk response of RAAAACISM! from dishonest smear merchants like Ed Schultz.
Does anyone doubt the next 15 months are gonna be ugly? Time to fight like a girl!