Like many conservatives, i have been researching and investigating the GOP Presidential candidates in order to make an informed decision when I pull the lever in the primaries. As of yet, I have not found any one candidate that I could get solidly behind. I have found several that I like (Bauchmann, Cain) and that I am considering voting for, but I am overall undecided.
Enter Rick Perry. Initially, when I heard that he was thinking of running, I was enthusiastic. I thought to myself, this might be the guy to unite the party and beat Obama. Needless to say, I was hoping that he would decide to run and waited anxiously to see if the rumors were true regarding his candidacy.
But as his announcement appears to be imminent, some issues have begun to crop up regarding Perry as a candidate. First it was the Gardasil issue, then it was his support of the TTC, and then I heard some questioning whether he reduced the budget in Texas or grew it. Added to that, he became the center of some rather bizarre conspiracy theories. I tried to research some of these issues, but much of the information was tainted by the above mentioned conspiracy theory websites. These theories are by and large bunk, but it would be dishonest for me to say that I was not a little disconcerted that his actions could even be grown into some sort of conspiracy theory.
Speaking of conspiracy theories, I would like to take a brief moment to explain how destructive to truth these things are. There are enough machinations and plots out there that are real and need to be exposed without these people running around with bizarre theories not based on fact. Their actions and words muddy the waters and actually make it more difficult for truth to win the day. People are off chasing rabbits that do not exist, while true evil goes on right under their noses. Conspiracists peddle fear and lies mixed with a sliver of truth, and only bring confusion and despair to their victims.
I will step off my soapbox now and return to the Perry question.
In light of these issues and the difficulty of finding an accurate and unbiased view of his governorship in Texas, I pondered some of the questions that I would like to have answered by Perry and/or asked of him. I might add that the way these questions are answered would determine whether I support him in the primaries.
1). Is Perry just another pro-life statist? I heard Erick coin this term on the radio yesterday and I though it an excellent description of many establishment Republicans. I do not want a pro-life statist for President! I want someone who is not only pro-life, but who is deeply committed to reducing the size of government in Washington. With all respect to former President GW Bush, I do not want another Republican President who actually grows government. I want the whole package: social conservative, fiscal conservative, and a staunch supporter of limited government. Isn't that what conservatism is anyways?
2). What did he do in Texas to reduce the size and scope of government? A good indicator of how a candidate will govern his how he/she governed in their previous position.
3). What did Perry do in Texas to balance the state budget and reduce spending and/or cut entitlements?
4). Does he believe in American exceptionalism and is he nationalist in his thinking or a globalist?
5). What are his plans to expand private sector development and to decrease onerous regulations on businesses?
6). What are his views on immigration?
These are important questions to ask of Perry and that he will need to answer. Some of his actions, ie the Gardasil issue, place him at odds with a limited government perspective. He will have to address that issue and some others during his campaign. If he lands on the side of conservatism in his answers to these questions, he may very well be the next President of the United States.
One final thing I would like to add, is that these questions should not and do not just apply to Perry. We should be asking these of every candidate for the GOP nomination. We cannot just blindly follow a cult of personality, that is how Obama got elected. We must fully vet all candidates and place the most Conservative nominee who can win on the ticket. If we do that, Obama will be a one-term President. So help us God.