During my career, I’ve worked with many very smart and many not-so-smart people. I’ve always liked the smart ones better, of course, because I could always learn from them. But ever so often, I have also disagreed with them and the arguments born from these disagreements have often brought us both closer to the truth. Or, at least, they’ve been much fun. It’s always more fun to argue with a genius than with an idiot, you see.
A very smart man who I had the honour to work with, said once, over some drinks, that every time the American people have put a Texan in the White House, the US public debt has skyrocketed. He mentioned George W Bush and Lyndon Johnson, and I don’t remember if he also mentioned Dwight D Eisenhower, but he could have. He didn’t mention George HW Bush though.
I, on the other hand, have always liked Texans, even when they haven’t been natural born Texans like the Bushes. I also have enormous respect for Ike, but strangely, I rather hate LBJ. But that’s another story.
I didn’t have to argue with that smart colleague, because he was right. Truly, Ike inherited a country in a mess that had just been in two exhausting wars. LBJ started his own war his predecessor had planted seeds for, or, shall we say, he escalated it. And GWB started quite a few wars.
Wars cost money. Amounts of it that are incomprehensible. And from the perspective of this blog post, it isn’t even relevant whether those wars were right or wrong, justified or illegal. The fact is—they cost money.
So criticism that some Texans have had the US debt skyrocket as presidents is justified. However, I somehow don’t think that Texas is to blame for it. I don’t think any ethnic, religious or national etc group can be judged by what some of its members do or have done (unless we’re talking about al-Qaida or other groups that have sworn allegiance to hatred or violence, of course). Not to mention that the current master of the White House, born in Hawaii and elected from Illinois, has been wrestling with still-growing debt and a threat of a default more than any president in recent history.
So perhaps it’s time we look ahead to see what Texas has to offer for the future.
Last Saturday, Texas Governor Rick Perry confirmed what had long been speculated—he’s running for the Republican presidential nomination. He said, rather cockily: “I full well believe I’m going to win.” I like confident people.
This 61-year-old, but rather young-looking gentleman could actually be the answer to the US troubles. The Republican Party has been in disarray in the last years, and the Democrats have looked up to Barack Obama as if he were not only the Messiah, but God himself. The fact is, neither of the mainstream parties has produced a presidential candidate for President since 2004. Considering that the Democrats will go for the outworn Obama in 2012, I think Rick Perry’s emergence as a candidate can actually solve the leadership problem for the United States.
Perry is a fiscal conservative who has often spoken and campaigned against raising taxes. In fact, he’s opposed creating a Texas state income tax and increasing sales tax, and at the end of the day, low taxes are what matter for most of the people. He has also spoken against “quantitative easing”, especially the looming potential of QE3, using some pretty harsh words: “I know there’s a lot of talk and what have you about if this guy prints more money between now and the election. I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.” Despite strong criticism from his opponents, he didn’t back down and stood by his words, adding through his spokesman, Ray Sullivan: “He is passionate about getting federal finances under control. They shouldn’t print more money. They should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget.”
According to a rather negative article in the New York Times (no surprise there, frankly), Perry has also cut real estate taxes to make housing more affordable.
“He’s been a promoter of stability in regulatory policy and stability in spending,” said Talmadge Heflin, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Fiscal Policy and a former Republican state representative. “That gives him something to show for whatever he runs for.”
Perry also is a social conservative. He is pro-life; he supports the rights of gun owners, carrying a gun himself; he is also a proponent of death penalty. While I have my reservations about death penalty serving as a penal tool (as I’ve said numerous times, dying is the easiest thing to do and therefore can’t really be a punishment), some statistics say that the existence of death penalty has often prevented a perpetrator from committing a crime that carries the capital punishment.
Very importantly, Perry opposes the suggestion of man-made global warming. He has constantly said, quite rightly, that there is no scientific consensus on the issue: “Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. … But you won’t read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story.”
Within the three days Rick Perry has been in the race for the Republican nomination, he’s already jumped to the lead, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll published yesterday—he had the support of 29% of likely Republican primary voters, while the former frontrunner, Mitt Romney, only had 18%. Michele Bachmann, the winner of the Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll, had dropped to 13%.
I am sure Rick Perry has his flaws. His alleged Christian fundamentalism, for one thing. But then again, a man with beliefs is a man of moral and ethics. And perhaps thanks to that, he’s a strong supporter of Israel. I’m sure if he were in the White House, “Israel” wouldn’t be disappearing from whitehouse.gov photo titles mentioning Jerusalem.