Off the Cuff By Chris A. Porter firstname.lastname@example.org WNI Web Developer and PVtrib.com webmaster shares his perspective on technology, local and national politics, and life in the Quad-city area.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Blog: Spotlight on 2012 Presidential Candidates - Part 1: Rick Perry
NOTE: This is Part 1 of a multi-part series of blog posts spotlighting the 2012 candidates for President of the United States that I will use to preface the upcoming election.
Rick Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. He is in running for the Republican nomination in the upcoming election for President of the United States later this year.
The Texas-born candidate's father is Joseph, a Democrat and former longtime Haskell County commissioner and school board member. His mother is Amelia June Holt. Perry graduated from Texas A&M in 1972 with a BS in animal science. At university, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
After graduation, Perry was commissioned to the Air Force where he completed pilot training and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the U.S., Middle East and Europe.
Perry entered politics in 1984 as a Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives. He served on the House Appropriations and Calendars committees during his two terms. In 1989, Perry announced he was switching parties and becoming a Republican. In 1990, he was elected to Agricultural Commissioner.
Rather than seek a third term as Commissioner, Perry ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1998 and won. He assumed the office of Governor in 2000 following the resignation of George W. Bush, who became President. Perry won re-election in 2002, 2006 and 2010 becoming the first Texas Governor to be elected to three four-year terms.
Perry's 2012 campaign platform spotlights the following key issues:
Get America Working Again - He wants to cut taxes and regulation as well as balance the budget and expand energy production. He believes all job creation comes from the public sector and that Government must not prohibit growth. Perry's Cut, Balance and Grow plan predicts strong stimulation of growth in the economy and a balanced budget by 2020.
Fix Washington - Perry feels Washington is currently run by politicians using 'lukewarm half-measures' that fear repercussions from offending 'elites.' He will cap government spending at 18% of the national economy and replace current corporate tax code with a flat tax. He also promises to freeze federal hiring, salaries of Congressional members and drastically reduce the size of government.
Pursue Peace Through Strength - Rick Perry is a firm believer in American exceptionalism. He rejects the notion our president should 'apologize for our country.' He believes America needs to present a strong, modern presence to defend our global interests. He wants to secure our borders by increasing technology and manpower utilizing National Guardsmen until a sufficient number of border patrol agents can be trained and hired.
Repeal 'ObamaCare' - If elected, he promises to repeal 'ObamaCare' because he feels it is an unsustainable, unconstitutional government takeover that will increase red tape & costs to taxpayers, patients and healthcare providers. Perry also calls for serious reform to programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
Restore Conservative Values - Perry considers himself pro-life and supports traditional marriage. He also supports a ban on tax dollars for abortion as well as adding a human life amendment to the Constitution. He considers himself an ardent defender of the Second Amendment. In Texas, he signed a bill ensuring citizens have a right to defend themselves and stongly favors concealed weapons licensing for citizens. Read More >
As Governor of Texas, Perry has been responsible for some key votes:
June 17, 2011 - HB 335, Implementation of Health Care Laws - vetoed
June 17, 2011 - HB 242, Bans Texting While Driving - vetoed
June 17, 2011 - HB 1, 2011-2013 Budget - vetoed
May 31, 2011 - HB 2403, Internet Sales Tax - vetoed
I see Rick Perry as the true moderate in this race of party extremists. Conservative true believers consider him another 'Republican in Name Only,' but I think the truth lies somewhere in between.
Beginning his political career as a Democrat, Perry was a supporter of and worked in Al Gore's Texas campaign for President. The sudden switch to the Republican party a year later seems completely politically motivated and reeks of opportunism. It could be a pretty big red flag among certain party-line Republican voters.
For a self proclaimed 'Conservative,' Perry seems to have been everything but as Governor of Texas. Under his administration, the total debt and government spending for the state has almost doubled in size since 2000.
Conservatives mostly oppose the raising of taxes, yet Perry has signed into law higher taxes for fireworks, cigarettes, used cars and franchises during his terms. He actually has a history of voting for tax increases, so it's difficult to take his current 'Conservative Values' platform at face value.
As Governor of a border state, Perry seems surprisingly soft on illegal immigration, which was such a hot button issue during the 2008 election.
Perry also proposed the Trans-Texas Corridor, a 145+ billion-dollar project to cover the state in a series of toll toads, rail and utility lines. A foreign company was awarded the contract to plan the route. Some 584,000 acres would need to be purchased or acquired through eminent domain for this project. It was officially cancelled in 2011. The TTC project would seem to be the antithesis of Conservative values - namely less spending as well as a smaller, less invasive government. Yet another red flag.
Would I vote for him?
Absolutely not. Perry seems like more of a 'business as usual' type of politician. A George W. Bush 2.0 opportunist, if you will. However, his campaign seems to be running out of gas pretty fast these days and I don't think he will hang around for that much longer. It is left to be seen, and it's still a bit too early for predictions.
UPDATE (1/19/2012): It seems I was correct regarding Perry's longevity. He officially dropped out of the race for President today, endorsing Newt Gingrich for the nomination.