By Gary P Jackson
I have a copy of Rick Perry's Fed Up! on my bookshelf. In the book Perry sounds like the kind of solid conservative Americans would like to have in the movement. I must say I enjoyed the book, and agreed with what was written. Thing is, it seems Perry himself does not.
One of the main themes of the book was going back to the Founder's original intent of a decentralized government, with the states more in charge and responsible for things affecting the people. The entire book is an homage to the Tenth Amendment.
Another strong theme is, Perry wants nothing to do with Washington, or it's politics. He also says [as he has many times] that being Governor of Texas is the "greatest job on earth." And yet, he wants to leave that and go to the cesspool that is D.C.? The D.C. that he said in his book he wanted nothing to do with? Hmm.
Perry has also said that Tenth Amendment stuff was just BS as well, if not in words, then by his actions.
When he first got serious about running for President, and the issue of gay marriage came up, he got it right, at first. It's a states' rights issue. Then when pressured, he flip-flopped faster than Mitt Romney on his best day, and said we need a federal ban on gay marriage.
Same goes for abortion. That Tenth Amendment became meaningless as soon as Perry was approached. The reason Roe v Wade is bad law is because it usurped states' rights. The federal government has no business dealing with this issue. Left alone, most states would ban, or severely limit abortion all on their own. Perry should know this, as Texas, thanks to our legislature, is doing everything it can to limit the slaughter of the innocent.
That said, you can't have it both ways. You either believe the Tenth is the law of the land, or you don't. You can't say you are 100% for it, except when it's inconvenient.
Recently Perry, who talks tough, was called out for statements he made about Social Security. Neil King Jr writes in the Wall Street Journal: [emphasis mine]
Texas Gov. Rick Perry used to be pretty frank when it came to the country’s Social Security system. In his fiery anti-Washington book, "Fed Up!", published last fall when he had no plans to run for president, Mr. Perry called the program, which turned 76 on Monday, "a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal."
He suggested the program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, "at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government," he wrote, comparing the program to a "bad disease" that has continued to spread. Instead of "a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme," he wrote, he would prefer a system that "will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement."
But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had "never heard" the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but "Fed Up!" is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.
The issue bubbled up Thursday, when a gaggle of protestors confronted Mr. Perry outside a café in Portsmouth, N.H., accusing him of trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Mr. Perry didn’t respond when one of the protesters inside the café accused him of believing the Social Security system was unconstitutional.
In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s "Fed Up!" could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, "is a look back, not a path forward." It was written "as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto," Mr. Sullivan said.
The campaign’s disavowal of "Fed Up!" is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: "Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it."
In the book, Mr. Perry dings politicians who don’t have the courage to take on Social Security. So what is his position now? "The governor wants to see the benefits for existing retirees and those close to Social Security be strongly protected," Mr. Sullivan said. Beyond that, "he believes a full review and discussion of entitlement reforms need to be had, aimed at seeing that programs like Social Security and Medicare are fiscally responsible and actuarially sound."
The fact that Perry's campaign is saying the book is not a "2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto" while Perry himself is saying "read my book" [rather than just answer a question] should bother voters. It should bother them a lot.
The Perry campaign is saying "don't believe a word in it, it's irrelevant now" while their guy is saying hey, go read my meaningless words!
We already know we can't trust the words written on the page, so why bother?
It's also hypocritical for to Perry call out others who don't have the courage to do something about Social Security, when it sure sounds like he doesn't either.
Now wait, hold the phone, as I write this, I see a new report from the Los Angeles Times. It's all OK now, Perry is back to attacking Social Security again![emphasis mine]
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is standing firm in insisting that Social Security, the federal government’s insurance programs for retirees and disabled, is a Ponzi scheme designed to deceive the young.
In a weekend campaign stop in Ottumwa, Iowa, Perry, who has surged into the lead in the Republican presidential sweepstakes in at least one major poll, repeated his characterization of the social insurance program that is generally supported by the electorate. He has made the same point before, especially in his book, "Fed Up!," though at one point his campaign tried to explain that he had softened his language.
So Perry "softened" his rhetoric, his campaign disavowed his book, and now it's all back on. See, it's all better now!
The Hill reported a few days ago that something else Rick Perry was all for in the book, the "flat tax" is being distanced by the campaign:
The campaign of Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry is being hounded by statements he has made.
The Perry campaign on Monday was, once again, trying to distance itself from another policy prescription in Perry’s book, "Fed Up!," which was released last year.
In the book, Perry argues that the federal government should repeal the 16th Amendment — which grants Congress wide leeway to levy income taxes — and institute instead a "flat tax" that would tax all Americans at the same rate, regardless of income.
But a Perry spokesman conceded Monday that dramatic income tax reform was likely a non-starter, according to The Washington Post. The campaign declined to reaffirm support for the repeal of the 16th Amendment or the passage of a flat or national sales tax, despite continuing to assert that the current tax code is "onerous, complex and confusing."
Read more here.
So which is it?
The book is a full throated defense of the flat tax, and Perry laid out a reasonable plan, but now the campaign "declined to reaffirm support"? Does Perry believe a flat tax is the answer, or not? Or is it all just too damned hard?
How does one count this anyway? Is it a flip-flop, or pure political cowardice?
Sorry, but I want a candidate who says what they mean, and means what they say. I don't want "nuance" or "softened" rhetoric. I don't want someone who'll write a book, and when asked a question, instead of answering, refers people to that book, while at the same time his campaign is saying you can't really believe a word in that book!
I want someone, who when talking tough, and prescribing tough medicine, has the courage of their convictions. Someone who not only knows what must be done, but will actually do it, if elected.
This is vintage Rick Perry though. Talks a good game, but when it's post time, he comes up limp. Texans know this already.
I read Fed Up!. I enjoyed Fed Up!. I'd vote for the character "Rick Perry" portrayed in Fed up!. Sadly, "Rick Perry" is a fictional character, and doesn't exist. The real Rick Perry is just another politician, and not a particularly appealing one at that.
I've asked readers before to look at Perry's record. Not the media nonsense, not the smears, just his actual record as Governor of Texas. That's all one needs to know to understand Perry is not suited for the job of President of these United States.
The book deal proves Perry is just another pandering political hack who wrote Fed Up! because he figured that's what people wanted to hear. I'm not saying Perry didn't believe some of what he wrote. [though his campaign is] What I'm saying is Perry isn't prepared to defend what he said, or live by it.
Perry, like most career politicians can talk the talk, but has no intention of walking the walk.
America deserves better.