Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once and likely future presidential candidate, ventured to the Reagan Library on Monday and delivered a full-throated assault on President Obama and all of his works according to Politico. The date was not an accident, it being the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech that, while it failed to elect Barry Goldwater as president, launched the Gipper’s political career in earnest. Whether Perry’s modern version and his attempt to channel the past president will have the same effect for the man from Texas remains to be seen.
Perry’s theme, likely to be repeated in a 2016 presidential campaign, was that Obama’s presidency has been so dysfunctional that only a clean break from it by the next president will suffice to set the United States on the right course again. “I believe that come 2016, if the American people are given the choice, they will be ready for a clean break from the Obama agenda or anything like it.” He suggested that Obama’s expansion of government, coupled by a narrowing of individual opportunity, will have worn particularly thin by 2016.
Just the make certain the audience knew who might bring about this change, Perry touted the economic success that Texas has enjoyed on his watch. To drive the point home, Perry said, “It can happen anywhere in America. Growth and job creation far beyond what Americans have gotten used to these past six years. It can happen anywhere in this country, from Massachusetts to California; it is just waiting to happen.” The mention of two of the bluest states in the Union, where economic growth has been lacking, was not an accident.
The American Spectator has an extensive profile of Perry and his chances for 2016. It suggests that Perry has to overcome his dysfunctional 2012 campaign that featured the “oops” moment. Also, part of Perry’s economic strategy in Texas has not been orthodox free market, featuring as it does a heavy dose of crony capitalism. Perry is also entangled in a legal case involving a District Attorney, who was convicted of a DWI. He is considered soft on illegal immigration by some in the Republican base.
Perry’s Reagan Library speech featured less about ideological purity than it did about results, which is to say Texas’ economic strength as opposed to the nation’s weakness. Perry strongly suggested that he was responsible for the former and could be counted on to fix the latter. He clearly hopes that the voters will buy that message.