A Republican Occupy Protester and Republican Gay Activist Lead Rick Perry in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share  If a recent Suffolk University poll is an accurate indication of voter sentiments in New Hampshire, Rick Perry is going to have a tough time not only explaining why he should be President, but simply explaining why he should still be running for President.

According to the Suffolk University poll, Rick Perry shares last place in New Hampshire with activist gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger and is being beaten by former Democrat and Governor of Louisiana Buddy Roemer, a pro-Occupy Wall Street candidate who whines about how nobody cares about his candidacy.

The poll question and results were as follows;

Q7. If the Republican Primary for President of the United States were held today and the candidates were {alphabetical} Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum for whom will you vote or toward whom would you LEAN at this time?

Now I am not willing to conclusively state that Perry is done.  Some very strange things happen in politics…….very strange.  And we find ourselves surprised all the time.  Between that and the fact that a week in politics is a lifetime, you never know what miracle may occur to propel Rick Perry in South Carolina and beyond.

But at his point in time, if Rick Perry can not beat a relatively unknown, gay Republican who runs to the left of the Republican base, Perry will likely be the butt of more jokes in the conservative South Carolina Republican presidential primary, than a recipient of votes.

Just something for Perry think about before Saturday nights, debate.

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Perry’s Very Telling Decision to Stay in the Race

Bookmark and Share    When it became clear that Rick Perry was going to come in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus, it seemed as though his hopes to recapture the lead that he once held in the G.O.P. nomination contest were dashed.  The only two good bits of news to come out of Iowa for Perry was the fact that he won two of the 99 counties, the only candidate to win any county aside from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, and that he did not have a totally embarrassing last place showing.  That distinction went to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose sixth place finish put her ahead of only Jon Huntsman, the one major candidate who did not do any campaigning in the Hawkeye State and who summed up his appreciation for Iowa by saying “who cares”.

Then the writing seemed to be on the wall when Governor Perry came out to address his supporters and told them that he was going back to Texas to reassess his campaign.

But a strange thing happened to Governor Perry on his way home.  Between the time he decided to reevaluate his campaign and the time he woke up the following morning, an infusion of optimism compelled him to type a Twitter feed that read;

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State,” Perry tweeted, “Here we come South Carolina!!!

The electronic announcement came as a pleasant surprise to his campaign staff and stunned the political world.  Few thought it possible for Perry to continue with his campaign after making an inference to how bad things were by stating the need to “reassess” his chances of winning the nomination.  Most experts agree that given the poor showing and all the time and money that he invested in Iowa,  no sincere evaluation of his campaign have  possibly found any promising reason for Perry to stay in the race.

From my vantage point, I can only assume that  Rick Perry believes that if doesn’t give up too early, the short history of this election which has created a new frontrunner every month, will repeat itself enough times to give him another opportunity to be in that position.  Perry probably assumes that Rick Santorum will not be able to sustain the attacks he is undoubtedly about to face and will not have the money to respond to those attacks effectively.  As a result, he is holding out hope for another opportunity to became the clear viable alternative to Romney.

But there may very well be another reason why Perry has found the strength to continue his fight.

Not long before the Governor tweeted his battle cry and aimed his campaign guns at South Carolina, it was revealed that a group of national evangelical leaders will gather in Texas for the second time in five months and determine who other Mitt Romney, they can all get behind.

Having a very good relationship with these religious and their associates, Perry may know something about what they are inclined to decide and it just might be responsible for his going from the need to take a close look at if and how his campaign could move beyond Iowa, to determining that he still has a chance to make a last stand in  South Carolina.

No matter what was exactly responsible for Perry’s change of heart, it is mainly a leap of faith.  Especially since Rick Santorum’s surprise strength in Iowa makes him the more likely candidate for movement conservatives to get behind.

Iowa Faith and Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats, a leading voice among evangelicals, had already issued a personal endorsement  of Rick Santorum before the Iowa Caucus but now, in its wake, he called on Newt Gingrich to reassess his candidacy, in hopes of mobilizing conservatives to rally behind Santorum.  Gingrich came in ahead of Perry but Vander Plaats’ plea to Gingrich came before Perry surprised everyone by his decision to stay in the race.  Had it been known that he intended to remain in the race, Vander Plaats would have certainly requested the same of Perry that he requested of Newt Gingrich.

So it would be hard to imaging that evangelicals leaders would choose to get behind Perry instead of Santorum, but either way, it would seem that Rick Perry is counting on some kind of divine intervention to turn things around for him.  And as for those evangelical leaders, I have a word of advice.  It took God seven days to create the earth but with less time than that remaining before New Hampshire, if their main goal is stop to Mitt Romney, they better get moving fast.

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Perry’s Populist Proposal: Political Pandering or Realistic Reform?

  Bookmark and Share    As Texaxs Governor Rick Perry desperately tries to keep his poll numbers from falling through the fall, his campaign has adopted a strategy that is designed to capture the attention of voters by injecting politically unorthodox policies and reforms that are meant to portray him as the anti-establishment candidate. 

Perry began his campaign by declaring that he wanted to make government as inconsequential in our lives as possible.  That line drew attack from those on the left who can’t fathom government not being a major factor in our everyday lives, but it sparked hope in those on the right who believe that drastic measures must be taken to limit government.   If the Perry campaign had the discipline to move that message forward from the moment he uttered his presidential  intentions, he would probably be a lot further along among the Republican base and even the TEA Movement. 

For whatever reason, Perry’s stated intention went undeveloped as the campaign failed to focus and articulate that theme.  This strategy did briefly show itself when Perry came out with a flat tax proposal several weeks ago.  But in that proposal he was not alone.  Herman Cain had already his 9-9-9, hybridized flat tax plan and Newt Gingrich had introduced his own flat tax proposal months before Perry did. 

But the launch of his own flat tax proposal was a good, strong first step in the direction he set out in when he first launched his presidential.  It was late, but better late than never. 

However, since then, Perry has found himself spending more of his time making and explaining mistakes and verbal gaffes than he has spent defining himself.  In fact, instead of being able to define himself as the Beltway outsider and reformer-in-chief that he wants to be known as, he has been defined by verbal gaffes.   So much so that he has become a form of political comic relief and established a reputation as the blunderer in chief.

It is amid that backdrop that Governor Perry now tries to get back to being a serious reformer and he does so with an aggressive plan that proposes reforms the judiciary and Congress and the way it does business.

In its entireity, the proposal is a populist plan designed to tap in to the TEA movement-like frustration with government and politicians. 

While the proposal does indeed seem to be a collection of common sense reforms, and in many cases do offer some reforms that are worthy of following up on in general, it is little more than a shallow wish list of pandering political rhetoric.  So much so that, when lumped all together, the plan is rightly or wrongly seen as little more than a desperate attempt to  remain or given the reality of Perry’s campaign, to become a candidate who is not inconsequential in the race.

As I stated, not everything contained in the Perry reform plan is a waste of time.  There several significantly valuable reforms that should and must be pursued. In fact, most of it is quite reasonable.  The problem is that  when combined with some of the unrealistic aspects of the proposal, it is hard to understand how much of this plan is based on perry’s political resolve and how much of it is simply political pandering.

 I have long been an advocate of several of Perry’s suggestions, most notable is the proposal to require a 2/3 majority vote in order to raise taxes.  For the purposes of of a site called U4Prez, I included such a provision in y own Flat Tax proposal (note point #6).

Other realistic proposals of merit include, Perry’s entire section pertaining to regulatory reform, rreigning in the federal bureaucracy.  Many of these proposals which include such things as , eliminating three federal agencies, restructuring the Department of Homeland Security, auditing all federal agencies, privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cutting duplicative services, and capping federal spending, are certainly what I would  I would consider to be “givens”.  While they are obvious to you and me, they are not obvious to politicians.  That makes them worth mentioning.

Other aspects of Perry’s plan seem to redundancies designed to make his proposal look more meaty.  This is especially the case when it comes to Perry’s numerous calls to audit each agency and to review all federal agencies from top to bottom.

All in all, the Perry proposal is a mix of good ideas and obvious campaign propaganda.  it is up to you to consider which is which and whether Perry is displaying his true political heart, or simply stretching his fingertips in a desperate attempt to hang on the cliff’s edge.



The Perry Reform Plan


Fundamental Reform of the Legislative Branch

•Establish a part-time, Citizen Congress, cutting congressional pay in half and allowing them to hold jobs in their states and communities.
•Slash congressional staff budgets and force lawmakers to do more of their own work.
•Criminalize insider trading by members of Congress.
•Amend the Freedom of Information Act to make it apply to Congress and the White House. 

Fundamental Reform of the Judiciary

•Nominate judges who respect the Constitution and who will not make law from the bench.
•End life-time appointments to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary through Constitutional Amendment.
Fundamental Reform of the Executive Branch

Regulatory Reform and Reigning in the Federal Bureaucracy

Regulatory Reform

•Halt all pending federal regulations, order an audit of every regulation passed since 2008 and repeal those not affordable, effective and appropriate.
•Pass legislation to automatically end federal regulations unless Congress renews them.
•Require federal agencies to justify every dime every year – including a specified regulatory budget for each agency.
•Develop an online, searchable database of all current federal regulations.

Federal Bureaucracy

•Eliminate the Department of Commerce, Department of Education and the Department of Energy, consolidating key programs into other agencies.
•Restructure and reform the Department of Homeland Security (including transitioning the Transportation Security Administration to a public-private partnership) and the EPA.
•Review all federal departments from the top-down.
•Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
•Order a Full Audit of all federal agencies to identify waste, fraud, and abuse within the executive branch.
•Work with Congress to require that duplicative programs actually get cut.

Fundamental Spending Reform

Balance the Federal Budget

•Fight for a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) that protects against tax and spending increases.
•Cut Congressional pay in half if Congress fails to propose a long-term balanced budget. Freeze federal civilian hiring and salaries until the budget is balanced.
•Veto any budget bill that contains earmarks, and work with Congress to ban them.
•End federal bailouts.
•Cap federal spending at 18% of GDP and balance the budget by 2020.
•Reduce non-Defense discretionary spending by $100 Billion in the first year.
•Pass a law that requires Congress to reduce existing spending equal to or greater than any new proposed federal spending.
•Work with Congress to institute automatic Government Shut-down Protection.
•Veto bills with new, unfunded mandate on states, local communities, or schools.
•End Baseline Budgeting and require common-sense scoring rules.
•Require Emergency Spending to be spent only on emergencies.
•Pass legislation requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax increase.

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How Others Have Tried To Make the Case Against Rick Perry

   Bookmark and Share  Rick Perry is currently the longest serving Governor in the nation.  He is also the only person to have ever been elected Governor of Texas three times. Such distinguishing accomplishments are not achieved by luck.  He has to be doing something right.  At the same time you can’t spend over a quarter of a decade in politics and half of that time as the Governor of a state, without making some enemies and some mistakes and no enemies.  However in Perry’s case, it is quite obvious that he still has more friends than enemies in Texas .

When George W. Bush stepped down as Governor to assume the presidency of the United States, Lt. Governor Rick Perry took his place and in 2002 he ran for Governor in his own right. Perry proceeded to handily beat millionaire South Texas businessman Tony Sanchez by a margin of 58% to 40% and that was even after Sanchez spent $75 million of his own money in the race.

By 2006,  Perry was plagued by budget woes, embroiled in battles over school financing reform, and on the receiving end of a controversial and contentious redistricting battle. His approval rating had dropped to 38% during the latter part of the 2005 legislative session and by September of 2006 it had improved but still found Perry in the red with 44% of Texans approving of him compared to 51% disapproving of him.

In that election, Democrat Chris Bell ran an aggressive campaign that relied on uniting Democrats into a coalition that would win a plurality by seeing a divided Republican vote splinter itself among Perry, the G.O.P. nominee and several Independent candidates who were mounting strong campaigns.  One of which included the  State Comptroller of Public Accounts, Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  The strategy did not work.  In the end Perry won but with only less than 40% of the total vote.  A result that made Rick Perry the first person elected to the Lone Star state’s executive office with less than 40% since 1861.

Then in 2010, Perry faced a significant challenge for the Republican gubernatorial nomination from incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Despite many powerful negatives to campaign against Perry with, Hutchison didn’t even leave much of mark on Perry and lost the primary with 30.03 % of the vote to Perry’s 51.1%.  He won the primary handily and went on to defeat his Democrat opponent, former Houston mayor Bill White.  But that race did not always look like it would be very easy for Perry.    At one point the highly respected Charlie Cook of the Cook Report moved the Texas governor’s race from the “leaning Republican” column and placed it in the “toss up” side of the ledger.  But Perry wound up besting White with 54.97% of the vote to White’s 42.28%.

So how did Perry do it?

Well in 2010, Perry successfully shut out Kay Bailey Hutchison with a, “if you think I’m bad, wait till you see her” strategy that painted Hutchison, a three term incumbent in the U.S. Senate, as the ultimate Washington insider.  And in the general election, Perry ran as the ultimate conservative in one of the most ultimately conservative states in the nation.  In his 2010 victory speech, Perry stated that Texans were tired of big government raising taxes and added  “I am genuinely optimistic that we’re one day closer to seeing fiscal conservative approaches applied at the national level as well,”  and then he told the audience who earlier that same evening saw nearly 80 new Republicans get elected to Congress that he wanted to “challenge those new faces in Washington to press for change sooner than later”.  He added “I want them to go in there and really go to work.”  Now, a year later, and Rick Perry is trying to go Washington to make sure that they do just that.

But the question still remains if he is the right person for the job.

While Rick Perry’s natural Texas swagger helps to emphasize his conservative language, there are plenty of potent arguments to challenge the authenticity of his conservatism.  They are questions which although they did not keep him  from getting elected in Texas, could help create quite a negative and damaging impression of Perry among conservatives in places like Iowa, South Carolina, Utah Montana, Wyoming, and Florida.

Here is just a brief look at how Rick Perry’s opponents shaped the case against Perry in the recent past.  We will see how effectively people like Cain, Romney, Bachmann and others may be able to do it in the near future.

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Rick Perry’s Attack Ad Ties Romney to Obama. But Does it Help Rick Perry Any?

Bookmark and Share   With some polls showing Rick Perry in fourth place behind Herman Cain and even the doomed candidacy of Ron Paul, the Governor, is at least for the moment, on the ropes.  His immediate strategy is to attack the man  who many polls currently have in first place, Mitt Romney.

The ad is produced by the same young, creative wiz kid that produced Tim Pawlenty’s ads and it ties Romney to President Obama through the  healthcare plans Romney created for Massachusetts and that Obama created for the nation.  The problem is, the ad may not work as well as Perry hopes.  First of all, the comparison between RomneyCare in Massachusetts and ObamaCare in the nation, is not new.  The secret about the similarities with the two plans is out.  Secondly, like Tim Pawlenty, the attack is probably not going to help Perry very much.  When he was running for President, Pawlenty was the one candidate who attacked Romney the most on the issue.  Who can forget the waves he made when he coined the phrase “ObamneyCare”

While Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts certainly raises enough questions about Romney’s limited government credentials and is perhaps what is most responsible for making him a flawed candidate, it has not been enough to derail his candidacy and as we saw with Tim Pawlenty, it is not enough to help others move ahead of the pack.  Furthermore; Obama’s Massachusetts healthcare plan has nothing to do with Perry’s own precipitous drop in the polls.  On the flip-side, it is not likely to be the cause of an equal precipitous rise in the polls for Perry.

Going negative this early is a sign of desperation.  Perry’s slipping popularity apparently has him trying to find a rung on the ladder that he can grab on to and lift himself up.  But this approach to focus on Mitt Romney.  Besides, at the moment, Perry has to go through Ron Paul and Herman Cain before he can realistically challenge Romney.

In the meantime, Mitt Romney is essentially running a general election type of campaign and building his own candidacy up without having to tear down anyone elses candidacy.  All that the new Perry attack ad does is show that while Romney is gaining ground, Rick Perry is trying hard to compensate for ground he lost.  This is not the way for him to do that.  And by the way, despite all his opposition to “ObamneyCare”, who did Tim Pawlenty endorse for President?  It wasn’t Rick Perry.

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