Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Like What I'm Hearing From Rick Perry So Far

Time published an interview of Rick Perry, who looks like he will announce his candidacy for President soon.  It's pretty good stuff and quite refreshing from what we have been getting out of the White House lately.  Here are some key excerpts (note:  I cut down some of the answers in the interests of space, click the link above for the entire interview):

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?

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. Stepping back and getting out of the way at the federal level is about allowing the states to compete against each other, the idea that Washington knows best how to educate our children, or knows best how to deliver health care our citizens, or for that matter knows best how to clean up the air. There are examples of each of those that I could go into, but I don't want to filibuster here.

You've talked about how all of the social issues are important and this election is going to be about what the voters care most about: economy and jobs. Is it your hope, if you become a candidate, that even voters who disagree with you on social issues will find your record and argument on jobs so compelling that they vote for you even though they did disagree with you?

So, what's the most important thing that's facing this country? It's getting this economy back. I am a pro-business governor. I will be a pro-business President if this does, in fact, ensue and I'm blessed to be elected President of the United States—unabashedly [so] because the fact of the matter is, there's nothing more important than having an environment created by government that allows for the private sector to risk its capital to know that they have a good chance of having a return on the investment. Because at that particular point in time, the men and women who are out of work today can be back employed. They can take care of their family. They can do the things they desire in their lives. And without that strong economy, America can't be strong militarily. We can't have, frankly a presence in the world that we need to have. It all goes back to having an economy that people are comfortable with—they can risk their capital and they'll have a return on the investment. We don't have that today.

There are people who've looked up—even though you're not yet a candidate—your record and your endorsement of Mayor Giuliani in the last campaign, some of the positions you've taken on immigration, etcetera, and they say Rick Perry is not actually as conservative as he says. What do you say to those people?

Well, you know, I stand on my record. I thought Mayor Giuliani did a wonderful job of managing a city. He was very strong militarily. He was as strong on crime as any big city Mayor has ever been. He and I were 180 degrees on social issues, but he would put strict constructionists on the Supreme Court, which dealt with those social issues. I happen to be comfortable that I was making the right decisions and that as President, when it comes to those social issues, it's very important to have that strict constructionist view of who you put on the Supreme Court. Because they'd look at the constitution and say, you know what, that issue dealing with abortion is not in the constitution. We will put it back to the states. Now if the states want to pass an amendment and three quarters of the states want to pass an amendment to make this be a change of our United States constitution, then just follow that process. And I'm a big believer that that's how our country should work.

I know if you run, you would have foreign policy positions—you give speeches on that. But what are sort of the basic tenets of Rick Perry's view of America in the world?

Our friends need to know that we're their friends. The Latvian Prime Minister was in my office three weeks ago and we were having this conversation about the current administration and the almost aimless or wavering position that he takes from a foreign policy standpoint relative to eastern Europe and those counties who are abutted by folks who might not be their friends. Might have thoughts of impacting their country. The idea that the President would make this statement about going back to the '67 borders sent a chill down all of my friends' back and certainly mine. Israel is our friend. Israel is a democracy in the middle of a part of the world where having a democracy is really important. Our friends, if I am blessed to become the President of the United States, will know that we will be there day in and day out. I think the most important thing that we can do from a foreign policy standpoint is to be strong economically. Because if we're not strong economically, we cannot have the resources to be strong militarily. And if we're not strong militarily than our foreign policy becomes haphazard at best, because countries look at the United States and go, "Well we'll do what we please because you don't have the for with all to sent a message that we're going to be strong militarily. It's funny how all these things point back to one thing. And that one thing is putting policies in place in the United States to create an environment where job creators have the confidence and can risk their capital and have a good return on the investment.

So far he sounds like a sensible pro-growth conservative who will fix many of the errors of the current administration in both domestic and foreign affairs.  I also like the Ronald Reagan hair.  Anyway, we'll see what happens, it's a long way until the primaries.  At this point I would probably vote for either Perry or Bachmann, as both aren't Mitt Romney, who I don't really trust to cut government.  I still think Pawlenty would probably be the best President out of all of them, as he is a principled conservative with a successful record in a blue state, but he just never caught on with voters.  He just seems to be uncomfortable in his own skin sometimes and by the looks of things he won't be around by the time I'll have a chance to vote.  Either way, I'd vote for just about ANY Republican in November 2012.

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