His presidential campaign ground to a halt after his lackluster performances in the interminable number of Republican "debates" in 2011 (marked often by pontificating and innuendo from the moderators of the Establishment Press). The media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) dropped into the ridicule mode that comes so naturally to them, but that doesn't gloss over the fact that Rick Perry suffered in his presentation.
He did miscalculate, true enough, but what the public typically doesn't know is the error centered around his optimism about how quickly he would recover from back surgery less than a month before the first debate. Complications from the surgery (the contorted way he would stand, or his shifting his balance in particular contrast to the ramrod-straight posture of Mitt Romney standing next to him) was a hindsight clue, and the occasional slight befuddlement ("oops"), probably assisted by pain medication, must have been an impediment to his delivery.
All this during the presidential debates, a showcase not so much of the contenders but the media talking heads who are striving to make an impression. It is the MSM who continuously tout the importance of the debates to a public who have little time to analyze or even recognize the important issues, and this claim always reminds me of one of my father's many axioms: "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut."
He campaigned exceptionally well in Texas (he is the longest serving governor in that state's history, no mean feat for Texas), with a delivery and style that works well there and in other areas of "fly-over" territory. The Sophisticati are contemptuous of that sort of style, which makes those outside the Acela corridor (and Chicago, and the mega-cities groupings along I-5) all the more attracted to him. But those same Sophisticati are the ones who swoon about the oratory of Obama, and how well has that worked out for the country?
Nevertheless, Rick Perry, still with ten months to go on his final term as governor, had a star turn at the CPAC conference this morning with a stem-winding performance that had the audience on its feet cheering. He reminded the audience of what conservatism in a state government can look like:
We have created almost 30 percent of the nation’s jobs while keeping taxes among the nation’s lowest. We have presided over not only an energy boom but the nation’s largest population boom and an economic boom of monumental proportions. We have demonstrated that no state can tax and spend its way to prosperity but with the right policies you can grow your way there.True enough, he was preaching to the choir, but this crowd has proven contentious about what conservatism looks like when applied to the Byzantine hallways of Washington DC. Some tidbits:
The vision that wins out – either this big government, protectionist nanny state version offered by liberal leaders – or the limited government, unsubsidized, freedom state offered by conservative leaders – will determine the future of our nation….
How can the greatest nation on earth continue to spend its way to astounding debt without the bill ever coming due? How can explode federal and state budgets with unreformed entitlement programs without the bill ever coming due? How can we appease a Syrian tyrant and embolden his Russian ally without the bill ever coming due?...
Nowhere does the Constitution say we should federalize classrooms. Nowhere does it give federal officials primary responsibility over the air we breathe, the land we farm, the water we drink. And nowhere does it say Congress has the right to federalize health care. See, it is inherent in human nature, once given power, to never give it back. Now let me tell you something, this human tendency is a bipartisan offense….
You have the power to change America! You have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams! You are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore, and you represent the renewed hope that America can be great again!
In an effort at full disclosure, Dear Readers will remember that my focus on Rick Perry is not new found but started many years ago as a classmate, in the Cadet Corps at Texas A&M. (Rick was as genuine then as he is now, and certainly knows how to pronounce the word 'corps'.) I stumped for him during his last campaign and would gladly do so again. If nothing else, this country needs his proven results in Texas.