In the course of his nascent campaign, "Slick Rick" Perry has already told some whoppers, misrepresented himself, and otherwise sought to pull the wool over the eyes of voters. Today, we highlight three of the most egregious offenses.
1) Rick Perry promised not to run for president, staking his belief in the 10th amendment upon it. Furthermore, he said he didn't even want to be vice president or go to Washington D.C.
Sure, you say, people say they aren't going to run for president and change their mind later all the time. *Ahem* well, most of them don't cross their heart and swear to die if there's even a remote possibility things could change. Consider the following Perry quotes on whether he might run for president:
"You know that's kind of up to the good Lord from that standpoint. I have no idea what my future holds for me four years down the road... What that means is that I've got a lot of faith in the Lord. I hope he's going to let me live for four years, and if he does, I will serve out my governorship... Yes, sir, absolutely. I think I have clearly stated, if your intent is to question where I would want to go any better than being the governor of the state of Texas, that place hasn't been made yet." (to Len Cannon in January 2010)Rick Perry didn't just change his mind about running for president. He flat out lied. He lied to the people of Texas when he told them that he would serve out his governorship. He lied when he told them there wasn't anywhere he'd rather be than governor of Texas. He lied about having no interest in going to Washington D.C. He lied about having made a final decision. And apparently, he lied about supporting the 10th amendment. If he really believed those things, he would not have changed his mind about running for President.
"No interest” in being the next president "in any form or fashion.” (to Politico in March 2010)
"That's correct." (to Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune in April 2010, asked whether he would run "under any circumstances?")
"No, no and no." (to KVUE's Martin Bartlett in May 2010)
"I don't want to be president of the United States. I'm not going to run for the presidency of the United States." (to Reuters in December 2010)
"No, no, no, no, no," (to Politico's Jonathan Martin in February 2011)
"No and no."
You are not considering running for president. You will not run for president.
Under any circumstances?
Vice president? Would you be willing to consider that?
"No. I don't care about going to Washington, D.C."
Your party could not come to you and say, "Governor, all the other alternatives are wanting. You're our guy."
There will be an alternative that is not wanting. I have a great interest in who this individual is going to be, but I want to be a governor who is leading a state.
(to the Daily Beast in March 2011, italics mine)
"Oh, I can't say I'm not tempted, but the fact is this isn't something that I want to do." (to Greta Van Susteren in May 2011)
"There are still a number of folks out there who haven't made a decision. I've made my decision. If I really believe in the 10th amendment, then being a governor of a state is where the action is." (to RNC state chairmen's meeting in May 2011)
Palin, ever the gracious leader (to whom Perry owes his re-election as governor of Texas), put it diplomatically:
I was quite sure he wasn't going to run because he was quite adamant about four months ago. So it surprised me. Evidently he evolved in his thinking.
Politifact was more blunt, rating his statements as "promise broken".
In comparison, Sarah Palin has always been upfront and honest when she says that she has not yet made a final decision, but that she is considering jumping into the race. I ask you, do we really need another politician in Washington D.C. who says one thing to voters on the campaign trail in order to get elected but does another once in office?
2) Rick Perry brushes off honest questions about his record by disingenuously faulting the questioner.
A student in Iowa asked honest questions about Perry's record of tripling his state's debt, increasing spending by two thirds, and passing pro-ACORN legislation. He received this response:
Hmm, reminds me of another "conservative" blog where certain questions about Perry are not allowed to be asked either. Maybe one which Perry courted by announcing his presidential run at their yearly powwow?
In any event, the questioner has the full write up of his encounter here. His conclusion?
The shaking of hands with Governor Perry went just as expected. He has a record of excessive spending and working with lobbyists against the people of Texas. When confronted with his own record, Rick Perry runs. He’s no different than either George Bush or Barack Obama.The savvy youngster also noted Perry's deceptive talk about disliking the Federal Reserve, given his previous support for the bank bailouts. He also points out that Sarah Palin has a much better record on state debt than Perry.
3) Rick Perry has fooled Tea Party conservatives into thinking that he will reduce government power.
Consider this from the latest Gallup poll:
Rick Perry's candidacy has attracted strong initial support from Republicans who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement. Perry leads by 21 percentage points over the closest contenders among this group, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.Through exchanges such as the one illustrated above, Perry has successfully been able to conceal his big government tendencies. From supporting Al Gore, to mandating Gardasil shots for all teenage girls in order to enrich his buddies at Merck, to creating slush funds to pick and choose winners and losers in business, to evading questions about increasing government spending and debt in Texas, Slick Rick has pulled off an illusion that would impress Houdini himself. I don't know how he does it, but if the Tea Party was serious about wanting to reduce the size and scope of government, it had better get busy unmasking this joker.
Included among the group of Tea Party supporters is a smaller group -- representing 12% of Republicans -- who say they are "strong" supporters of the movement. Among this smaller group, Perry's lead is even greater, 46% to 16%, over Bachmann, with all other candidates in single digits.
Perry, not surprisingly given his lead among Tea Party supporters, is the preferred candidate among Republicans who identify "government spending and power" as the set of issues most important to them. Perry is the top choice of 31% of these Republicans, with Romney (17%), Paul (13%), and Bachmann (12%) vying for second place.
Perry has immediately become the preferred Republican nomination candidate of Tea Party movement supporters and, by extension, those who view government spending and power as the most important issue.