There is a lot to admire about Rick Perry. In an era of reticent politicians afraid to speak truth to power for offending some individual or group, Perry is an admirable straight shooter. His strong defense of Texas' death penalty against the whiny leftist MSNBC questioning during the Reagan Library debate is a welcome corrective to those who are enamored with criminals facing the death penalty for their violent crimes. I lived in Texas between 1989-1994 and got familiar with the sometimes smash mouth nature of Texas political culture and debate. I voted for Perry as Agriculture Commissioner in 1990 and 1994. Although he has some rough edges, he has been a generally effective leader. He would be a significant improvement over Barack Obama and I would support him if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee.
Sometimes, though, Perry has demonstrated he doesn't have the intellectual maturity to be President. He is correct to criticize Social Security's long-term financial failings. Calling it a Ponzi scheme is flat out wrong and unnecessarily frightens individuals who have made it their sole source of retirement income. He should follow up his rhetorical criticism of Social Security with an intellectually credible plan for reforming Social Security and other entitlement programs while also promoting a culture of savings and long-term financial planning. Perry was also wrong in saying that Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke would be considered as treasonous in Texas. The fed's quantitative easing policies and other decisions by Bernanke have not helped our economic problems and can be legitimately criticized for many intellectually credible reasons. Saying they are treasonous reflects intellectual superficiality not fitting for a would be President.
Perry also was wrong with his decision mandating the use of Gardacil to vaccinate Texas girls against cervical cancer. There was absolutely no public health reason to mandate this vaccine. Decisions about children's health should be made by their parents and family doctors instead of government bureaucrats without compelling public health requirements for such vaccination such as an epidemic. Fortunately, Perry has apologized for this. I am also troubled by Perry's essentially pro-illegal immigration stance including giving illegal aliens college tuition benefits. While Texas' Hispanic population is increasing, these individuals can best be assimilated into the mainstream of American life by following the laws for legal immigration and by promoting policies for securing our border with Mexico.
Perry needs to move beyond Texas machismo swagger and exert the ice cold steely and disciplined resolve of an assassin when addressing national security threats to the U.S. While such swagger may appeal to the conservative base, and that includes me, he needs to recognize that not everyone in the U.S. is enamored of rhetorical exaggeration. Although Perry leads the GOP field in most polls, additional polls show that he trails Obama in a potential matchup and that Mitt Romney LEADS Obama in polls positing a election contest between these two. Republican primary voters need to select someone who can appeal to independents if we are to be rid of the Barack Obama plague. We also need to choose someone who's geographic electoral appeal transcends the south which Perry is not likely to do.
Romney has actually produced a substantive economic plan that addresses creating jobs, energy, spending, health care, and enhancing the efficiency of governmental programs. Although I have some reservations about what could be an overly confrontational trade approach to China, I commend him for recognizing China's currency manipulation and serial violations of intellectual property rights. In his 2010 book, No Apology, Romney also addresses serious foreign policy issues such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea. He is a staunch defender of Israel and will not be seduced by the dangerously deceptive rhetoric of Palestinean statehood which would be an absolute disaster for Israel and the entire Middle East.
We need to move beyond just denouncing Barack Obama and offering credible policy alternatives to his incompetent and corrupt rule. Mitt Romney has the intellectual tools and the communication skills to present credible conservative policymaking alternatives that move beyond the Tea Party and resonate with independents and other Americans who are disenchanted with the foolish choice of Barack Obama to direct our national destiny. Mitt Romney is the candidate with the intellectual substance, self-discipline, private and public service performance record, and crossover electoral appeal to make the case for serious governance if we are to have the chance of escaping from the economic, foreign policy, national security, and social disasters Barack Obama's ego and incompetence are driving us toward. I enthusiastically endorse Romney and encourage conservatives and other intelligent Americans to do the same!