Be Very Wary Of Perry
There has been much buzz about the possibility that Texas Governor Rick Perry will throw his hat into the GOP presidential ring. Many conservatives and Tea Party activists see him as a very attractive and viable candidate, one who would liven up a field that seems devoid of exciting prospects.
But before Republicans start salivating too heavily, it is important to examine Perry closely. His conservative bonafides leave much to be desired.
Let’s examine his record.
Prior to 1989, Rick Perry was a Democrat, who supported Al Gore for president. Perry was Gore’s campaign manager in the state of Texas that year.
As Governor of Texas, Perry would have us believe he is a small government guy. But the facts say other wise.
Total spending in Texas the year he became governor in 2000 was approximately $49 billion. Last year it was approximately $90 billion. That is hardly reducing the size of government over a 10 year period.
The total debt of the state of Texas has more than doubled since he became governor. The debt to GDP ratio in Texas is 22.9% and the debt per citizen is $10,645. That’s worse than California.
Perry claims he is for keeping taxes low. Not true. He has raised taxes repeatedly during his tenure as governor. Texans have higher taxes and fees than they had before he was elected.
While everyone lauded Perry’s leadership by pointing to the low unemployment rate in the Lone Star State, it should be noted that 23 states have a lower unemployment rate than Texas. And Texas has the highest percentage of workers making minimum wage out of all 50 states. In 2007, 221,000 residents of Texas were making minimum wage or less. By 2010, that number had risen to 550,000.
The education system in Texas is abysmal. Barbara Bush, in an op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle, wrote:
• We rank 36th in the nation in high school graduation rates. An estimated 3.8 million Texans do not have a high school diploma. • We rank 49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores. • We rank 33rd in the nation on teacher salaries.
What does that say about the stewardship of Rick Perry with regard to education?
Rick Perry also claims to have a tough stance on illegal immigration. But the facts indicate otherwise.
He signed the DREAM Act in 2001, giving in-state tuition to undocumented students. Perry said at the time, “We must say to every child learning in a Texas classroom, ‘We don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get there”. This measure is similar to the one the Democrats are pushing at the federal level, one which conservatives vehemently oppose.
Perhaps the biggest issue people opposed to the nanny state should be concerned about is Perry’s issuance of an executive order back in 2007 that would have forced almost every single girl in the state of Texas to receive the Gardasil vaccine before entering the sixth grade. Perry was in the tank with Merck. There were apparent financial connections between Merck and Perry reported by news outlets, such as a $6,000 campaign contribution and Merck’s hiring of former Perry Chief of Staff Mike Toomey to handle its Texas lobbying work.
The Texas legislature put the kibosh on that idea by crafting a bill that overturned the executive order.
Subsequently, very serious safety issues with the vaccine came to light. The biggest problem with regard to the Gardasil issue was that Perry appeared to be condoning premarital sex, or at least assuming that middle school girls were going to be engaging in sexual activity, which is the only way that the cervical cancer that the vaccine prevents can be contracted. Many parents and conservatives were justifiably outraged.
When one takes into account these facts about Rick Perry, the only conclusion that can be reached is that Perry is for the expansion of government and its intrusion into our lives.
On Perry’s possible run for the White House? No thanks. I think I’ll pass.