"...if Barack Obama remains in office another four years there is a very good chance that he will have the opportunity to name between three and four Supreme Court justices either through natural death or retirement."
For those interested in an overview of PeskyTruth's two masterful articles describing the pros and cons of Rick Perry ("Want to know more about Rick Perry?" and "Seventeen (17) things that critics are saying about Rick Perry"), please consider the following "Cliff's Notes" version.
• Fifth-generation Texan; married high school sweetheart Anita in 1982
• After graduating, joined Air Force in 1972 as C-130 pilot. Left in 1977 with the rank of Captain.
• For the next seven years, Perry farmed cotton and tended the family ranch
• Entered politics in 1984, served in Texas House of Representatives, as Agriculture Commissioner and Lt. Governor
• Succeeded G. W. Bush in 2000 after latter resigned to run for the presidency; reelected three times since
• Supports repeal of Obamacare, which he says "puts many states on a collision course with bankruptcy"
• Strong supporter of Second Amendment, received "A+" from NRA
• Staunch supporter of Israel; visited in 2007; received "Defender of Jerusalem" designation in 2009
• In 2009 and 2011, endorsed a resolution supporting state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution
• Opposes regulation of greenhouse gases; believes in "all of the above" energy strategy
• Moved Texas "aggressively" into a large portfolio of energy sources including renewable, natural gas, coal and nuclear
• Texas has become a national leader in reducing emissions and known pollutants
• Texas has the world's largest wind farm, producing three times as much power as second-place Iowa
• Faced with a budget deficit in 2010-11, Perry became the first Texas governor since WWII to cut general fund spending
• Also balanced budget in 2003 by cutting spending in a challenging economic environment
• Rebated or cut taxes to business in 2007, 2008 and 2009
• Signed both Cut, Cap & Balance pledge and Americans for Tax Reform pledge not to increase taxes
• By several independent measures, Texas has the second lowest tax burden in the country for individuals and businesses
• Has twice formally requested that the Obama administration and DHS provide more support for border security
• Passed a "Voter ID bill" in 2011 after six years of "fierce partisan battling"
• Applicants for TX driver's licenses must be verified federal immigration databases to ensure they are in the country legally
• In 2008 stated his clear opposition to Amnesty; has advocated for secure borders and "sensible immigration policies"
• In the last five years, Texas has created more net jobs than the other 49 states combined
• In 2005, signed a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman
• Over the past ten years, teachers' salaries have increased 30%
• State budgets have consistently cut general spending while spending more, year-over-year, on education
• Appointed an African-American as chief justice of Texas’s Supreme Court; appointed the state’s first Latina justice
• Since 2003 tort reforms, more than 21,000 doctors have begun practice in Texas
• This year, Perry signed a "Loser Pays" bill into law, which should cut down on frivolous lawsuits
• Perry is said to have appointed only "unabashedly conservative" judges and would "carry this philosophy into the White House"
• Gardisil is a vaccination designed to prevent cervical cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV); the FDA approved the drug in 2006 and recommends vaccination in girls by age 12, before they become sexually active. Perry signed an Executive Order mandating vaccinations; this was overruled by a veto-proof majority in the Texas legislature. 18 other states, including New York and Michigan, had considered similar mandates, but none were actually implemented. Perry has since admitted his EO was a mistake, claiming he was motivated by his hatred of cancer (both of his parents are cancer survivors).
As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® have been distributed in the U.S... the CDC says: “Based on all of the information we have today, CDC recommends HPV vaccination for the prevention of most types of cervical cancer."
• The Trans-Texas Corridor was plan introduced by Perry in 2001 that would have created a $175 billion program to build high-speed auto lanes; truck lanes; commuter and freight rail; water, natural gas and oil transport; telecommunications and other services. After eminent domain and "NAFTA Superhighway" concerns were raised, the corridor was killed off.
• Once a Democrat, he served as Al Gore's campaign manager in Texas. Perry had been raised a Democrat and Gore in 1988 "opposed the federal funding of abortion, supported a moment of silence in schools for prayer, approved funding of the Nicaraguan contras and was against the ban on interstate handgun sales." The experience with Gore's campaign helped convert him to the Republican Party, which he joined in 1989.
• He advocated secession. Actually, his real statement -- after a speech was interrupted with chants of "Secede!" -- was, "We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that. Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot."
• Jobs created in Texas are low-wage. But, according to CBS MoneyWatch (4/11), Texas is ranked third among “Best States to make a living.” Texas has also seen its wages climb faster than the country overall. The "low-wage" canard was thoroughly debunked by Political Math.
• Texas ranks poorly in educational spending and high school graduations, both of which are true statements. However, differing racial makeups make states difficult to assess head-to-head. But according to The Nation's Report Card, standardized testing shows white students, black students and Hispanic students in Texas outperformed those in Wisconsin in math, reading and science for both 4th and 8th grades.
• Perry turned down $555 million in federal stimulus, but later asked for federal disaster aid for wildfires. Both assertions are true. But the Stimulus funds were a one-time payoff that had strings attached requiring Texas to continue paying the $555 million even after the federal funds had disappeared. Perry did accept other stimulus funds that had no such strings attached.
• Perry says he hasn't raised taxes, but he actually has in certain cases. Perry's actual statement was “we don’t raise taxes." But certain taxes have increased including tobacco, fireworks, diesel equipment, franchise, and unemployment. But, overall, Perry's record is stellar. The state ranks 45th in per-capita taxes with a 7.9% combined state/local tax burden versus, say, New York’s burden of 12.1%. Texas has no personal income or capital gains taxes; and Perry vetoed a proposed Internet state sales tax.
• "Perry has presided over the highest number of executions in the nation". This statement implies Perry was actively involved in the court cases, appeals and sentences when, in fact, he simply followed Texas law. Perry has commuted 31 death sentences, most for crimes committed as juveniles.
• Perry refused to commute the execution of a Mexican national though the White House and Mexico itself had requested it. True enough. And the Mexican national -- who is not immune from prosecution under U.S. laws -- was a despicable animal who kidnapped, raped, tortured, sexually mutilated and then murdered a 16-year old girl. He confessed to the crime to both the police and his brother. After 45 separate hearings and appeals, Perry (thankfully) allowed the execution to proceed.
• Did Perry preside over the execution of an innocent? Days before the execution of a man convicted of setting a fire that killed his three children, new evidence was presented by his defense attorney. Although Texas allows the governor to issue a 30-day stay of an execution, only the state's Pardons and Paroles board can issue clemency or commutation orders. This board reviewed the evidence and refused to recommend that Perry act.
• Perry supports giving in-state tuition to illegals. This is true. In 2005, Perry signed a law that allowed any student who lived in Texas for at least three years and graduated from a state high school to receive in-state tuition.
• "Rick Perry is gay" and "Rick Perry is homophobic". Politico and other magazines have inferred that there are questions about Perry's sexual preferences, These accusations remain unsubstantiated and there appears to be no evidence that Perry is either gay or homophobic. There is no question, however, that he supports the tenet that a marriage binds one man to one woman.
• Perry is a "weak" governor. This argument is used by critics to minimize Perry's role in an obviously booming state. However, an independent assessment indicates that "thirty other state’s governors were ranked as having more power than Texas’ chief executive, seventeen are ranked about equal, and three had even less power."
• Perry is "squishy" on immigration. He certainly has a mixed record; he has opposed an Arizona-style immigration law. But he recently added a bill that prohibited "Sanctuary Cities" (which didn't garner enough support to pass the legislature). Texas has earmarked more than $400 million for border security since 2005 with $152 million in the last legislative session alone.
• "Perry is a member of the Bilderberg cabal and therefore believes in a New World Order (NWO)". Although Perry attended a Bildeberbug meeting in 2007, so have Presidents Clinton and Ford, Timothy Geithner, George Stephanopoulos, Thomas Friedman, Senators Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Diane Feinstein and Tom Daschle. Perry attended the meeting for three days in 2007 and apparently received his instructions on how to implement an NWO during that time.
• Texas has an abysmal rating compared to other states in ___. Whether its "uninsured children", "uninsured adults" or "percentage of people living below the poverty line", the rankings are selected by critics to smear Texas and Perry. Look for the following characteristics of these claims: no citations, no credible sources, no dates and no original context. Put simply, any rankings comparing Texas to other states must account for a large Hispanic population, many of whom entered the country illegally.
I would encourage you to read both of PeskyTruth's articles on Perry in full:
• "Want to know more about Rick Perry?"
• "Seventeen (17) things that critics are saying about Rick Perry"
This is an outstanding set of articles that really helps the reader gain a better understanding of the Texas Governor and would-be GOP candidate.
Hat tip: Ace o' Spades.