Perry was right on the issues in Presidential campaign

National Journal:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign was a slow-motion train wreck, capped off by his embarrassing brain freeze in a nationally televised debate. But as Perry mulls another presidential race in 2016, it’s striking that he was campaigning on many of the reforms that Republican Party leaders are now desperately pushing.

Republicans have spent the past several months figuring out how to win over more Hispanic voters, moderating their tone on immigration, pitching education reform as a significant issue, and they have reaped the political benefits of challenging President Obama on balancing budgets and reforming entitlements. On all those counts, Perry was a candidate ahead of his time.

“I think he remains a motivated public official and an energized political figure,” said Perry’s former chief of staff Ray Sullivan. “On that score, I could easily see him seeking another term as governor and making another run at the White House.”

Take immigration reform. Eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney hammered Perry for his support of in-state tuition for undocumented workers in Texas. That was in 2012. Now Republican standard-bearers Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have changed the GOP’s tune on immigration. Rubio teamed with Democratic colleagues to draft principles that could become the starting point for immigration reform, and Paul broke out some Spanish during a recent speech suggesting a pathway for illegal immigrants to become citizens.

Perry’s support among Hispanics in Texas was decent, especially compared with Mitt Romney’s awkward outreach. Perry won 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 2010 Texas gubernatorial race, while Romney only took 27 percent of the national Hispanic vote. Texas Republicans attribute that to Hispanic voters’ familiarity with Perry, who as the state’s longest-serving governor, has also appointed Hispanics as state Supreme Court justices, as well as secretary of state and transportation commissioner.

“They see his commitment to inclusion. I think Republicans make a mistake when they separate [Hispanic voters] out. They care about the same issues that other Americans care about,” said Deirdre Delisi, a former Perry campaign aide and Texas transportation commissioner.

Perry also staked out a critical position on entitlement reform, memorably comparing Social Security to a Ponzi scheme in his book. Romney attacked Perry for his positions, but then later tapped Paul Ryan, the Republican leader on entitlement reform, as his running mate. Now Republicans are united on the belief that trimming entitlement benefits is necessary to get the budget under control.

Perry is one of the GOP governors holding out against taking federal government aid for Medicaid expansion as part of President Obama’s 2010 health care law.

"The Medicaid expansion amounts to one large, incremental step toward single-payer socialized medicine. That’s where we headed, and I for one will not accept that as long as I’m governor of the state of Texas," Perry said during the Conservative Political Action Conference.

His education-reform ideas in Texas, challenging tenure at higher-education institutions as a way to cut costs for students, also seems prescient. Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia did a speaking tour recently to push for educational innovations.
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Perry has been a very successful Governor of Texas.  The state has prospered under his economic vision and his commitment to low taxes, low regulation and tort reform.  It has resulted in a job creation machine that is the envy of most other states.  He has shown fairness toward people of all backgrounds and has a kind heart.

His challenge will be to overcome the glitches of his first run, if he decides to make a second.  I have no idea whether he will run for another term as governor, but he might have a better chance of winning the presidential nomination if he is free to spend time in the early primary states as his main job after 2014.  He is very good at connecting with people, particularly in small settings and that takes time that he would not have as governor.  He also needs to get with a good debate coach and hone his skills so that he can avoid the mishaps of 2012.

My own view is that Rick Perry would make a great President.  His experience in cutting spending during the 2011 legislative session would come in handy in Washington.  His openness to the energy business could also help the government create revenue without raising taxes.

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