I’ve been more than a little lukewarm about a Rick Perry presidential candidacy.
We already have a great conservative candidate who does a stellar job of representing Republican values in Rep. Michele Bachmann who has been at or near the top of most polls for the past month or so.
I’m also not real keen on a few aspects of Perry’s record. For example, a few years ago, he sought to mandate Gardasilvaccinations for the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV). Experience has taught us that trying to “immunize” young people from the consequences of sexual irresponsibility tends to foster more sexual irresponsibility. Further, this is simply a decision properly made by parents, not government officials. To his credit, Perry now admits he made a mistake here, which is more than most politicians will do.
I’m also not real thrilled with the way he referred to this Muslim imam Aga Khan as “Your Highness” and “His Highness” 15 times in the course of a speech praising the imam. It seems improper for an American government official to refer to anyone as “Your Highness” when we fought a rather long and bloody war to rid ourselves of the tyranny of people who liked to be called “Your Highness.” Considering that this imam is a representative of areligion that is diametrically opposed to many core American values, Perry’s behavior is even more unpalatable.
I’m also seeing signs that Perry is too soft on illegal immigration and border control. I’m sorry, but people who are here illegally in the first place don’t deserve special breaks on college tuition–they need to be sent home. We also need to punish employers who knowingly (or with intentional ignorance) hire illegal aliens. We need a fence, not open borders, so we can get control of our borders and establish a solid immigration program that rewards lawful behavior, not unlawful behavior.
I also learned today that Rick Perry proudly signed “hate crime” legislation into law in 2001. Most conservatives understand that there are no “love crimes” or even “ambivalence crimes,” but rather all crimes stem from hate for the victim and their welfare. “Hate crime” laws seek to punish thoughts and emotions rather than actions, something that seems right at home in a George Orwell novel, but has no place in a free country like America. Further, “hate crime” laws tend to create two classes of people and give special protections to favored classes. Instead of punishing crimes more severely because of a certain status of the victim and/or motivation of the perpetrator based on the status of the victim, how about simply punishing all crimes equally? If someone is murdered, punish the perpetrator accordingly, regardless of the status of the victim. If someone is assaulted, punish the perpetrator accordingly, regardless of the status of the victim.
But just as I gave credit where it was due a few days ago, even though Mitt “RomneyCare” Romney is completely unworthy to even call himself a Republican, so it’s only fair that I give Perry credit where it’s due now.
Asked about how the country copes with the growing cost of Social Security and other entitlement programs, Perry said political leaders had to show “courage” especially in dealing with Social Security, which he labeled a “Ponzi scheme.”
He said: “I can promise you, my 27-year-old son, Social Security, under the program that we have today, will not be there.”
Perry, himself 61, pledged to back a base level of support for needy retirees, but he said calling the current retirement system a Ponzi scheme – in which contributions from one group is to pay immediate benefits to another group – is the first step in deciding how to alter it.
“I’m not afraid of having that conversation,” the governor said. “Do I have a plan yet to lay out and say here it is in black and white? I don’t. But I can promise you … these challenges are not overcomable, at all. We are Americans and we will find the way to do it.”
I have to say, any national candidate who has the courage and intellectual honesty to call Social Security the Ponzi scheme that it is, has to have some guts tucked away somewhere. Like all Ponzi schemes, it seemed to work as long as there weren’t too many people sucking money out of the system and no one looking too closely at the math.
There is no reason the United States could not employ a plan like that of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to wean us off the government system, one that preserves what is in place for those already on the system and nearing it, but moving those of us who are younger onto a private system. If a small South American country likeChile can do it, certainly the mighty and rich United States should be able to do it. After all, our Constitution provides no authority for the federal government to create and run a retirement system or a wealth redistribution system in the first place.
I still have my doubts about Perry, and still believe Michele Bachmann is the best candidate to turn our country around, but I’ll put a mark in the + column for Perry for having the guts to call a Ponzi scheme a Ponzi scheme.