If Texas Democrats, or even Republicans for that matter, thought they'd have a quieter, gentler Rick Perry on their hands in the wake of his . . . um . . . temporary diversion into Presidential politics, they know better today.In a speech Monday in Houston, Perry laid out five fundamental conservative principles for the Texas Legislature to follow, essentially throwing down the gauntlet to any legislator -- or wanna-be legislator -- who thinks they'll be able to bring a tax and spend mindset to the Texas Capitol building.Perry's "Texas Budget Compact" is pretty much bedrock conservative fare: no higher taxes, stricter limits on spending, truth-in-budgeting, cutting of wasteful programs, and maintaining a healthy "Rainy Day" reserve fund. They're basic enough that it's hard to imagine any candidate running for office in the reddest state in the union can ignore them without having some serious explaining to do.
Bear in mind, the Texas Legislature, which only meets every other year, doesn't even convene until January, and primary voters don't even go to the polls until late May. By seizing control of the narrative this early in the process, Perry has served notice that he continues to be the lead conservative voice in Texas and plans to govern that way.Democrats, and centrist-thinking Republicans, should bear that in mind. They should also bear in mind that the people of Texas agree. Texans realize their state's strength depends on making their government even smaller and "more inconsequential" as the Governor aptly described his approach to Washington, D.C. What is good for the goose... and Perry should be applauded for recognizing this and drawing a line in the sand now.If you live in Texas - go to http://www.rickperry.org, and sign the Texas Budget Compact. Let your legislator know you plan to follow these principles... and help Texas become even stronger and to serve as a model for how the rest of the nation should operate.