Although Texas Governor Rick Perry has only been officially running for President for less than a month, one cannot deny the impact he has made on the crowded field. He is considered the front-runner by many major news sources. According to a poll released by Rasmussen Reports yesterday, he is the leading candidate in Iowa. Some Perry supporters are declaring his victory a near certainty at this point. But is such thinking premature? And, just as important, how well do we really know Rick Perry?
First of all, do I need to remind you that not a single vote has been cast in any primary or caucus anywhere in the United States? Polls are a useful tool, yes, but they are not nor should they be the determining factor as to who will win. After all, who was the supposed GOP front-runner four years ago today? Rudi Giuliani. At that time, John McCain’s campaign was in disarray. Few thought that McCain would ever be able to wrest victory from him, but we all know what happened there.
Second, is Rick Perry the type of conservative candidate that we want and need? After all, he started his political career as a Democrat. Now given the transition in southern politics during this time, one can make the case that he switched political parties as the parties themselves realigned. But far more troubling is Perry’s support of a $5.7 billion tax increase. Adjusted for inflation, it has been called the biggest tax increase in Texas history. The news doesn’t get any better. What about Perry’s enthusiastic and active support for Al Gore during the 1988 Presidential contest? Would many of us mistake Al Gore as the best choice?
Although there are admittedly good aspects of Rick Perry, one does have to wonder if he is the best standard bearer for either the conservative movement or the Republican Party given his political past. If you truly support the Constitution and the ideals of limited government, shouldn’t you stand behind a candidate who has steadfastly done likewise? Fortunately, we have such a choice. Yes, he is a Texan, but his name is not Rick Perry. It is Ron Paul.
Recently, the Ron Paul campaign released a video comparing these two Texans. Watch and enjoy!
On Monday, I got a brief email from the local Shenandoah Valley Tea Party. It told me that the candidates for the 6th district House of Representatives Seat were having a debate. Being the political animal that I am, I made certain to be free during that time so that I could participate. Here was my chance to listen to all three candidates for office and ask them about specific issues. I thought that the notice was written rather strangely. It read, “At 7:30 PM, Tuesday, the 26th, Stuart Bain, Libertarian candidate for Virginia’s 6th district will be debating his opponents in the Memorial Hall Auditorium at James Madison University.” Although I know that Representative Goodlatte did not return the Tea Party’s candidate survey, it seemed a bit strange to me that they did not mention the sitting Congressman by name in the debate announcement, but rather used the term “Bain’s opponent”. Therefore, shortly before the debate, I called Representative Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg office to make certain that he would be attending the event. Unfortunately, I was informed that he was not going to be there. Despite this considerable disappointment, I still showed up.
Overall, I thought the debate itself went pretty well. Both Jeff Vanke and Stuart Bain tackled a number of issues ranging from balancing the federal budget, immigration, and various disagreements they have with Congressman Goodlatte’s positions. As one of many questions from the audience, I appreciated the opportunity to ask the candidates about their positions regarding the war on terrorism. Before I conclude, I want to thank JMU and acknowledge their efforts in hosting the event. For more coverage on the specifics of the debate, you can visit both hburgnews and whsv.
As I’ve stated many times in the past, in order for our form of government to survive, we must have an informed electorate. Toward that end, before you vote on Tuesday I encourage you to visit the websites of all three candidates to learn more about them. As the debate was supposed to highlight, you can choose between the Republican Goodlatte, the Libertarian Bain, or the Independent Vanke. You should vote, but you should vote smart.