In 2010, Texans either will lead the nation forward according to conservative principle and under conservative leadership, or they will put their trust and faith in the ways of Washington. In the last several weeks, current Texas Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison - each vying for the Texas Governorship in 2010 - have each made significant public statements that make their positions crystal clear. Perry is for Texas. Hutchison is for Washington.
This past Friday, the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled "Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP," centered around an interview of Governor Perry. In that article, the Governor outlines his view of the current state of affairs and of the appropriate path forward... for Texas and for the nation. It is absolutely rich with solid, well articulated conservative position. For example, he acknowledges that the reason the GOP has "been hurting" is that "they spent too much money. They acted like Democrats." He gets quite specific, stating "When they passed that pharmaceutical bill for everybody forever—I mean, one of the most expensive entitlement programs that this country's ever seen before—we started on the road to hell." Amen.
He blasts Obamacare - calling it "one of the scariest policies." He touts tort reform. He notes the absurdity of focusing on a flawed immigration plan as a way to "win" hispanic votes, and shows an understanding of that community which represents more than one third of his state demographically. He recognizes good people to follow and miserable people to follow. For example, stating, "I love Sarah Palin... [s]he is substantially more the face of this country than some other people who might want to be..." He points to Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom," and the more contemporary book by Amity Shlaes, "The Forgotten Man," as books currently occupying his thoughts. On the other hand, he notes the squandered opportunities by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he rightfully calls Senator Voinovich (R-OH) a "piece of work," in response to the Senator's idiotic and misplaced dismissal of southern conservatives. Finally, he calls out the Obama administration directly, saying, "[t]o me, this is one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We've seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940."
In short, Perry "gets it." He swatted issue after issue out of the park - relying on limited government conservatism to make the case for Texas and for the nation, and possibly more importantly, unabashadly calling people out who fail to stand on principle and praising those who do.
Now let's take a look at a recent op-ed by the Senior Senator from Texas - in which she makes the case for blowing your brains out while sitting around a table with a bunch of Washington insiders rationalizing their way to mediocrity and obsolescence while bowing down at the altar of the national government. Overstatement? Well, go ahead and waste a few minutes of your life reading the uplifting masterpiece she "wrote" (we know some staffer wrote it, but her name's on it...) in the Austin American-Statesman a few weeks ago. Ok - feel inspired yet? Uh-huh.
The purpose of the article is obvious - to take a swipe at Perry for turning down the $550 Million for unemployment assistance included as part of the various stimulus bills. The problems are multiple. First, she tries to call Perry out for being a hypocrite - by saying he took 97% of the total monies offered while turning down this particular funding (the $550 Million). Yet, her whole point is that he should take the money - which she acknowledges he took to the tune of 97%. She then goes on to criticize Texas' use of $12.1 Billion in "federal" money to close its deficit - yet, she neither suggests she would have done something differently nor explains how this does not contradict her own premise of this piece - TAKE THE MONEY!
Finally, even if we accept her arguments (which we should not), the bigger point here is the fact that what she wrote is absolutely dripping with Washington-itis. That disease of all diseases... After criticizing the Governor for taking the money described above, she said "so this anti-Washington rhetoric seems a little hypocritical." (Just picture her stamping her feet really hard when saying it.) Then, she goes on to defend Washington... asking rhetorically where the Governor was going for a loan, and answering "Washington, D.C." Then she rattles off this passage, just for good measure:
A fair question to ask: What would you have done? I would have sought a way to cut the excessive federal strings. If that didn't work, I would have urged the Legislature to accept the funding and reduce the blow to Texas employers now. Then I would have had the political courage to make certain that unnecessary benefits were reversed once the current economic crisis has passed... In fact, by engaging legislative leaders, a strong governor likely could have obtained commitments to make those future changes before accepting Texas' allotment.
Just shoot me. This is the same kind of nonsense the GOP "leadership" batted around the table for the last 8 years while accomplishing nothing except driving the Party, and to some degree - the nation - into a ditch.
Look, reasonable people can disagree whether and how to tell the federal - that is, national - government to go stuff it. That's not the point. The point is this - just reading these two pieces... which political leader do you want on your team? Which one do you wish to follow? Which one is more likely to defer to Washington, D.C. as Governor? Which one is likely to fight for limited, not expanded government, at any level? Which one is likely to cut deals and then declare victory while liberty becomes a faint memory?
In the WSJ piece, Governor Perry offered the following about the race against Hutchison... "She's in Washington, I'm in Texas... I'm busy running a state . . . I'm a results guy and that's process . . . It's important to run the state. Politics will take care of themselves." "Washington is not the place that great change is going to occur in America. It will occur in the laboratory of innovation called the states. I want to be a part of that."
Right. And Texas has been doing pretty darned well relative to the nation lately.