Defying conventional wisdom, like I usually do, I do not believe that the GOP must nominate a “moderate” or “liberal” squish to win the 2012 presidential election. On the contrary, I believe that to win it, the GOP needs – not merely can afford to, but needs – to nominate a staunch conservative with a proven track record of getting the job done who would be a stark contrast to Barack Obama, who has failed abysmally both on domestic and on foreign issues. To borrow a line from Ronald Reagan, the GOP needs bold colors, not pale pastels.
The question that consequently arises is: Who is the best Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama?
This is my answer to that question.
The election is less than 11 months away, and we already know what issues will determine its result. Although many affairs will be hotly debated and will at least somewhat influence the outcome of the election, it will nonetheless be decided by three key issues foremost on the minds of the American people: socialized medicine, energy, and economic issues (the budget, taxes, jobs, etc.). By that score, Rick Perry is the best candidate by far. On these three issues, a vast majority of Americans opposes Obama’s radical, extremely leftist policy; they are his three biggest vulnerabilities. Let’s see how Rick Perry compares to his GOP rivals.
Despite the media’s insistence to the contrary, the unconstitutional socialized medicine scheme Obama signed in 2010 is very unpopular; a majority of Americans still wants it repealed. This is not only due to the provisions of the bill itself, but also the arrogant way that Obama and his Congressional pals shoved it down the throats of the American people. This should be a great opportunity for Republicans.
Yet, the current two frontrunners for the GOP nomination cannot challenge Obama on that score. Newt Gingrich has supported an individual federal mandate for 18 years and still supports it. Mitt Romney not only supports it, he signed it into law with a grinning Ted Kennedy in the background. And in the first version of his book, he wrote that it should be done for the entire country! The advisors who helped him craft his state scheme then helped Obama devise his federal scheme. As Doug Brady of Conservatives4Palin says, if Romney is nominated, Obama’s biggest vulnerability will be removed from the table and this would amount to unilateral disarmament; why, asks Brady would any party interested in victory do this?
On the other hand, Rick Perry has been a lead fighter against socialized medicine. He has always opposed it, and has dispatched Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to fight in in federal courts; the case will be heard by the SCOTUS by no later than June. Whichever way the SCOTUS rules, that will be an embarrassment for Romney. If the court invalidates the individual mandate, Romney, along with Obama, will suffer a huge embarrassment. And if the court rules that the individual mandate is constitutional, Romney will be hated by the American people as its original architecht.
And how to really reform America’s medical system? Rick Perry has shown how: by reforming tort laws. No wonder why doctors are flocking to Texas.
Energy promises to be as big an issue in 2012 as it was in 2008, with high prices at the pump, high oil prices on world markets, and Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Neither Gingrich nor Romney can credibly challenge Obama on this score, however. Both of them believe in global warming and that drastic action is needed to counter it. Gingrich has even cut a commercial with Nancy Pelosi to promote the global warming scam. Both Gingrich and Romney also used to support a cap-and-trade scheme, as has (and still does) Jon Huntsman. Both of them also support lavish ethanol subsidies and mandates, with Gingrich even saying these subsidies should be continued until flex-fuel vehicles are mandatory for all Americans.
Rick Perry has long been, and remains, a global warming skeptic and strongly opposes any cap-and-trade scheme and any federal mandates. He supports drilling everywhere where this is economically feasible, except possibly the Everglades, and also supports the Keystone Pipeline, which would not only create 20,000 jobs but also deliver large quantities of Canadian oil to refineries in Houston, Texas, which these refineries need or otherwise they will be standing idly. Texas stands to hugely gain economically from the Keystone Pipeline, and Perry, as Governor of Texas, is its biggest supporter. He also promises to rein in the EPA, and has not ruled out abolishing it entirely.
The fiscal mess that the Obama Administration and its Congressional pals have made is a scandal. The public debt is an astounding $15 trillion. When the debt limit was reached in July, what did the Administration do? Demand a blank check for more spending. When Republicans demanded budget cuts, Obama threatend to veto them unless Republicans would give him a corresponding debt ceiling hike. Republicans ultimately agreed, but rather than balance the budget and prevent more debt, the Obama Administration and the Congress abdicated their responsibility and ceded it to a politically-appointed Super Committee. As I feared, the Super Committee failed to come up with any solution at all, and now defense will be gutted to pay for that failure.
Rick Perry has made no secret of his opinion on the subject. His solution is to cut government spending from 24% to 18% of GDP (what it was during the Reagan years), balance the budget using the plan developed by either the Republican Study Committee or the Heritage Foundation, and entirely abolish at least three federal departments: the Education Department, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Commerce. He will, furthermore, veto any spending bill he deems unconstitutional or wasteful, as he has been doing in Texas for the last 11 years. The veto and line-item veto that the Texas Governor wields is strong, because when the Governor usually signs or vetoes bills, the Legislature has already adjourned. His vetoes are sometimes overriden, but it doesn’t happen often. As Governor, Rick Perry has cut spending and balanced the budget – as required by the Texas Constitution, which requires that spending match tax revenue.
On job creation, Texas has been the national leader. It has no state income tax of any kind, a low sales tax, a mild and predictable regulatory climate, a right-to-work law, a reformed tort law system, fair and predictable courts, and a state government that welcomes job creators and investors instead of scaring or demonizing them. And that is partially because of Rick Perry.
Rick Perry proposes that the US follow the proven Texas formula for economic growth and job creation: low taxes, a simple tax code (he supports the flat tax), tort reform, fair and predictable courts, low government spending, a mild and predictable regulatory climate, and a pro-business government. He will implement the flat tax, rein in federal courts, reform tort law, cut spending, eliminate unnecessary regulations (i.e. the vast majority of them), and end class warfare.
Fiscal and economic issues, of course, cannot be analyzed in a vacuum. High fuel prices will mean high prices at the pump, vulnerability to oil shocks, higher prices of everything, fewer jobs, more people on welfare rolls, less tax revenue, and more welfare spending. And by creating a new federal entitlement, namely socialized medicine, President Obama has already worsened the nation’s fiscal situation while America’s old Big Three entitlement programs are going bankrupt.
Neither Gingrich nor Romney can challenge Rick Perry on this score. Romney opposes the flat tax, calling it a “tax cut for fat cats”. He grew, rather than cut, spending in Massachusetts, above inflation. He created a new entitlement in that state, causing state spending to explode. During his term as Governor, Massachusetts was 47th in the country in terms of job creation. Gingrich has, during his long political career, repeatedly supported debt ceiling hikes and various big government spending projects from the infrastructure to ethanol subsidies to the Education Department to the prescription drug benefit; both he and Romney also supported the TARP program. Furthermore, Gingrich voted for the creation of the Department of Education in 1979. Neither he nor Romney pledge to abolish it. Rick Perry does.
Of course, Rick Perry will positively address every other issue along the way. On the judiciary, he does not support hauling judges before the Congress, but he does want to rein in the federal judiciary by ending judges’ de facto lifetime tenures, and as Governor, he actually appointed conservative jurists to state courts, and where the courts are elected, he helped conservative jurists get elected. The TX Supreme Court and the Texas 3rd Circuit Court (which hears all lawsuits against the State of Texas) are now dominated by conservatives. For Perry, nominating conservative judges is not a mere campaign pledge; it’s something he has already done.
Do you now see, Dear Reader, why Rick Perry is the best of the eight Republican candidates and why he’s vastly superior to Gingrich and Romney?
Like I wrote above, the GOP needs bold colors, not pale pastels. A true conservative, not a moderate squish. Replacing one Washington insider (Obama) with another insider (Gingrich) or a golden boy of the GOP establishment (Romney) will not change anything. The country needs an outsider as President. Someone who is not a career politician, who has actually had a real job, has had to work hard, and has a conservative record of deeds. There is only one candidate who meets all of these requirements, and that person is Governor Perry.