The major news in the conservative world this week has been the goings on at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in Washington, D. C. It seems to have become a sounding board for possible future presidential candidates to stretch their legs, testing the wind beneath their wings, so to speak. Many of the speakers may be in the running for the 2016 Republican nomination for President. Since I am nowhere close to deciding who my favorite will be, I have not listened to any of the speeches, before now. I suppose I have just not been in the mood for the coming battle to regain the White House. That was before I came across Rick Perry’s speech at CPAC.
In 2012, Rick Perry was my early favorite in the Republican primaries. Maybe it was just his style, but I also like what he had to say. His flop in the primaries is well-known. What I didn’t know then was that he was fighting severe back pain at the time. If anyone had an excuse for being off their game, it is anyone fighting that kind of pain. I know that from experience. It isn’t really an excuse, but just a statement of fact. As I was reading through John Hayward’s commentary about Rick Perry’s speech, I was struck by just how true his words really are. Pay special attention to the last paragraph in the quote.
Human Events – Perry has a terrific campaign theme for 2016, simple and powerful: Voters can take a look at red states versus blue states, and decide which model of government gets better results. It’s no contest, and Rick Perry is here to tell you the score. Why, he might even mention the wee little red state he happens to preside over… a state that’s been pumping out a disproportionate share of the nation’s jobs during the Obama years.
The great division between red and blue states, in Perry’s telling, is that red states, “the freedom of the individual comes first.” He cited the achievements of Republican governors such as Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Rick Scott of Florida – tossing in a great wisecrack about how it’s appropriate for Scott’s prospective opponent, Charlie Crist, to switch parties and become a Democrat, seeing as how he presided over the loss of 800,000 jobs the last time he nested in Tallahassee.
But even as opportunity flourishes in these prosperous red states, the big blues, such as New York and California, are bleeding population so fast that it’s hard to find moving trucks to facilitate escape. A remarkably experiment has been under way for the past decade, and the results are clear: in states where the government plays a growing role in the lives of its citizens, prosperity diminishes, and exodus soon follows. ”From east coast to west coast, no two states have lost more personal income to other states than New York and California,” Perry noted.
On the other hand, conservative policies have been so successful that the people of Wisconsin rallied behind their governor, Scott Walker, through multiple attempts by powerful union bosses and left-wing activists to remove him. ”What is the common denominator in these states?” Perry asked. ”It is conservative governors, who cut taxes, who control spending, who invest in jobs… It is conservative governors who trust the people more than the machinery of government. It’s conservative governors who know the freedom of the individual must come before the power of the State.”
This is an argument often made in the abstract by conservatives, portraying Big Government as a sign of distrust towards a dominated populace that can’t be trusted to manage their own affairs. But Perry is making the argument concrete, not abstract, citing impressive real-world results to show voters the advantages of trusting people over government machinery. That’s a sturdy platform for a presidential campaign. It’s long past time for the Democrat Party to be shamed, good and hard, for the mess they’ve made of states where they have power.
I know the Republicans have a fair amount of ammunition with which to go after the Obama administration and any possible successor the Democrats may come up with. The fight against ObamaCare is chief in that arsenal, as is the push for more government spending and higher taxes. However, Rick Perry raises a very important point about the differences in governing between red states and blue states. Those differences are on full display for all of America to see. Even though some of the governors he mentioned are possible opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries, should he decide to run, Perry had no qualms about citing their accomplishments.
I am not writing this post as an endorsement of Rick Perry for President. Rather, I am writing it as an endorsement of the campaign theme he espoused in his speech at CPAC. The differences between red states and blue states could not be more stark. Would you believe Oklahoma has actually been cutting taxes in the last few years? And yet, our tax revenues have grown. That sort of does away with the theory that the only way to get more revenue into the government coffers is to raise taxes or create fees with which to raise money. Other conservative states have also figured this out.
Not only do red states seem to be doing much better than their blue state counterparts, but the people who are living in blue states are leaving in droves, moving to states that are more conducive to conservative thinking. Simply put, individuals and businesses alike are moving to states that are more welcoming to individual freedoms and liberties. To those of us who champion those ideals, this comes as no surprise. I would humble suggest that no matter who becomes our presidential candidate in 2016, this concrete argument should be a part of their campaign arsenal. We have many examples we have of how conservative thinking and governing really works. Coupled with the examples of how liberals are ruining the states they control, as well as the failures of the Obama administration, I believe it can be a winning argument.