I would liken the crowded and growing field of Republican presidential candidates to a high-school class where the teacher asks an easy question. All hands go up.
Americans don’t need convincing that something is wrong.
In Gallup’s monthly polling, the highest percentage expressing satisfaction with the direction of the country since President Barack Obama first assumed office has been 36 percent, which was back in early 2009. It has been as low as 11 percent. Most recently, it was 28 percent.
We’ve now got a large field of very qualified Republicans — about 18 declared or about to declare — for whom it is clear that Americans need exactly the opposite of what they have been getting for 6 1/2 years and who want to be the one to do the job.
Among the latest to jump in is former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. To some, whom we might call the sophisticates, Perry is, well, not serious. And to them, Perry’s never-to-be-forgotten memory lapse in a 2011 debate verified what they had already thought to be true.
If Americans want a Harvard man in the White House, they’ve already got one. However, if we are looking for someone with clarity about core American principles and the dependability to carry them out, Perry has a pretty powerful record.
I see four principles to focus on for getting the nation back on course: limited government, traditional values, free markets and strong national defense.
The Cato Institute provides a biennial fiscal report card on the nation’s governors, rating them on keeping taxes and spending low. The latest report card, issued in 2014, shows Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tied for the best score among the field of current and former governors in the Republican contest — including Florida’s Jeb Bush, Ohio’s John Kasich, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee.
But the big headline is the economic performance of Texas under Perry’s limited-government stewardship.
American Enterprise Institute economist and blogger Mark Perry calls Texas the “great American job machine.”
There were 1,444,290 new jobs created in Texas from December 2007, when the Great Recession began, through December 2014 — a gain of 13.1 percent. Over the same period of time, employment nationwide — less new jobs created in Texas — was down 275,290 jobs.
Economist Perry points out that job growth in Texas was not just in the booming energy sector.
During 2014, employment in construction increased 7.7 percent. In financial services, it went up 5.8 percent, and in professional and business services, it increased by 5.8 percent.
When Rick Perry left office in January 2015, unemployment in Texas stood at 4.4 percent, compared with 5.7 percent nationwide.
Perry also has been stalwart on traditional values. In 2013, he signed into law powerful pro-life legislation, banning abortions after 20 weeks and tightening restrictions on abortion clinics. When Wendy Davis, then a state senator and more recently a failed gubernatorial candidate, led a filibuster, blocking passage of the bill in a special session of the Legislature, Perry called the Legislature back to get it passed.
Military service is becoming increasingly rare on the resumes of presidential aspirants. This is unfortunate for someone who will be our commander in chief. In the current field, only Perry and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are veterans.
Perry speaks and understands Spanish and garnered a respectable 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2010. His Texas grass roots and traditional values persona — in great distinction to Mitt Romney — can help him reach out to all minorities.
We are hurting at home and abroad for absence of a leader who understands and believes in America as a beacon of individual freedom, traditional values and strength. Anyone who doesn’t see Rick Perry as an outstanding candidate for the nation’s highest office is not looking at the facts.
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