Texas governor and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry participated in a Presidential manufacturing forum today in Pella, Iowa (hosted by the Vermeer Corporation): and it's pretty interesting viewing.
(The entire forum (and transcript) can be seen here.)
Governor Perry answered questions from both the moderators and the audience: if I had to sum up fifteen minutes of informed, fairly specific commentary in one sentence it would be "The single largest problem that the USA is facing in terms of job and economic growth is our own regulatory climate." Perry was obviously relaxed and confident throughout the proceedings, which leads me to wonder whether a large part of his past public appearance issues have been due to lingering pain from his recent back surgery. Certainly he was knowledgeable and engaging throughout this particular event.
There's one particular passage that people might find of interest:
[Iowa governor Terry] Branstad: What we would like to know -- the wind energy tax credit is going to expire, it has expired three times previously. Senator Grassley has been a real champion of this. We would like to see it extended for four years. Would you support extending that? And also would you support retaining the renewable energy standard which has helped us reduce our dependency on foreign oil?
Perry: I happen to believe the federal government needs to be completely out of the energy business picking winners and losers and let me share with you why. In exchange to get rid of all of those regulations that are out there and whether you're in the oil and gas business and the tax credits that they get, whether you're in the ethanol business and the renewable fuel standard or whether you're in the wind side, from Washington, D.C. I do not think it is the federal government's business to be picking winners and losers and frankly on any of our energy sources. I mean, these two solar debacles that we've seen are pretty good examples of that. But if a state wants to, which is what we did, Terry, we put into place in the state of Texas an incentive for renewables and the wind energy came in and took great advantage of that, that's the reason we became the number one wind energy producing state in the country. I think if states want to compete against each other by putting those types of standards, those types of incentives in place that is a correct and a proper way for the state. But at the federal level I do not believe that the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. ought to be picking winners and losers in the energy industry or for that matter in any other industry.
Bolding mine: and bolded to note that, contra Newt Gingrich, Gov. Perry is in fact calling oil subsidies 'picking winners and losers;' that his program will end those subsidies on a federal level; and that he'll do the same for ethanol subsidies, too. And - oddly enough! - upon hearing that Iowa voters did not rush the stage to burn him at the stake.
Speaking as a former Pawlenty supporter, it was nice to see.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I should note, by the way, that we should probably not read too much into the fact that both Herman Cain and Mitt Romney skipped this particular forum (Romney is fundraising among businessmen in NYC, while Cain... well, he was originally supposed to be networking with Dizzy City power brokers). It is a little more interesting that neither will be at Friday's Des Moines Ronald Reagan Dinner, though.