Over the last two weeks I have worked my way through seven candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination. I have ranked the candidates based on their strengths and weaknesses. And I have even ruled some candidates out altogether based on a few extremely subjective criteria. I would like to provide a quick recap before I move on to my number one choice for the Iowa Caucus. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman came in dead last due to his refusal to campaign in Iowa. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finishes sixth due to his reluctance to defend life and his overly naïve foreign policy. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney takes fifth place largely because I find him untrustworthy. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claims fourth place as she seems to find it difficult to be truthful. Coming in third is former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich. Gingrich’s surprising finish is largely due to his intelligence as once again I found a politician that I was unsure that I could trust. The runner up in the Countdown had an extremely weak start, but has grown stronger as the campaign has worn on and has continued to grow on my. If he had done things differently from the start it is entirely possible that Texas Governor Rick Perry could have taken the top spot. The candidate that has taken the top spot in the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown and earned my support and my vote on January 3rd is none other than former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.
Senator Santorum is another one of those candidates that at the beginning of the caucus season I had all but written off. I completely disregarded his campaign because of my own preconceived notion that he was not worthy of support. I erroneously viewed him as an establishment candidate. That all changed on July 28th, 2011. On that evening I had the opportunity to see Senator Santorum at the home of the Marion County Attorney. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see him and was very impressed. My first thought was that he reminded me a lot of former Arkansas Governor and the winner of the 2008 Caucus, Mike Huckabee. He proved himself to be an articulate man with a clear and concise message. I was intrigued, I had to know more.
During the course of Senator Santorum’s appearance in Pleasantville we learned that he didn’t just claim to be Pro-Life he lived his life Pro-Life. He told us about his daughter Bella. It was such a heartwarming story. Here is a video that will do better justice to that story than I ever could.
And this is just one of the reasons that I am supporting Senator Santorum.
There are many other areas that Senator Santorum is strong in as well. Take for instance energy policy. Senator Santorum has openly stated that we need to eliminate all energy subsidies and tax credits; that the government doesn’t need to be in the business of picking winners and losers.
And I agree with that sentiment. By eliminating those expenditures we can save the federal government money and in the process force a wide variety of companies to become more competitive.
And he has openly criticized the Troubled Assets and Relief Program, otherwise known as TARP; as well as other government bailouts of private industry. Senator Santorum correctly asserts that government funded bailouts do nothing more than punish the successful while rewarding the irresponsible.
As I look back at the last several months I can see how my preferences for the 2012 Iowa Caucus have evolved. Early in the race my preferences leaned toward Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. As the days went by my preference for the candidates continually changed. That is until late July and early August. At that point Senator Santorum vaulted to the front of the pack and has remained there ever since. It had rapidly become clear that the one candidate that I could trust to restore our nation above all others was and is Rick Santorum.
Welcome to the sixth installment of the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown. Counting today’s publication we have just two installments of the Countdown left. As such today we will be covering the runner up spot on the Countdown list. But first let us briefly recap the Countdown to date. We opened the Countdown with former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman bringing up the rear of the field predominantly due to his refusal to campaign in Iowa. Next up, in the sixth position we have Texas Congressman Ron Paul largely due to what I perceive to be his naïve foreign policy positions and he reluctance to defend the sanctity of life at the federal level. In a surprisingly high finish for someone so untrustworthy we have former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney residing in the fifth slot. In the fourth position we find a candidate that has thoroughly disappointed me during this caucus season, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Garnering the third place position in the Countdown was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich largely on the strength of his intelligence and his memory. This brings us to the runner up position in the IDA Caucus Countdown, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Back in August, when Governor Perry announced his candidacy, if anyone had told me he would be my second choice for my Iowa Caucus vote I would have called them crazy. But as crazy as it seemed then, it is certainly the case now. Over the last several months I have been pleasantly surprised by how well he has articulated his beliefs and his convictions. To be fair there are a few concerns that I have with Governor Perry’s past, but I do think that he may have learned from those mistakes.
Quite possibly the biggest mistake that Governor Perry has made in his career is when he attempted to mandate that all sixth grade girls within the State of Texas be inoculated against the human papillomavirus, HPV for short. For those of you that are unaware, HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can possibly lead to cervical cancer in women. I can understand Governor Perry’s motivation for enacting the mandate; he wants to do everything that he can to prevent cancer. Despite the good intentions that he may have had, the message that he sent all the parents in Texas was that they cannot be trusted to take care of their daughter’s health. Fortunately for those families the legislature of Texas overwhelmingly overruled Governor Perry’s executive order. Fortunately Governor Perry has stated that the mandate was a mistake, but still asserted that his heart was in the right place.
As I stated above early on Governor Perry’s campaign for the GOP Presidential nomination I did not give his candidacy much credit. If I had done this countdown back in August I would have probably had Perry ranked down around Governor Huntsman. However as the race progressed I could feel Governor Perry grow on me. I started warming up to him. At the various events that I attended he comported himself well and he was well spoken. He doesn’t have the oratory skills of Mike Huckabee, but he is definitely more solid than the current resident of the White House. Over the last several weeks I have really gotten to like the idea of a Perry Presidency, however at this time I still believe that there is one candidate that is better. And this is why Texas Governor Rick Perry is the runner up in the Iowa Defense Alliance Caucus Countdown.
Sioux City pastor was instrumental in ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court Justices one year ago
By Bob Eschliman
A little more than a year ago, the Rev. Cary K. Gordon became famous — or infamous, depending upon your political leanings — for taking on a leadership role in the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices.
Gordon, president of PeaceMakers Institute and pastor of Sioux City’s Cornerstone World Outreach received national attention last year for “Project Jeremiah,” a statewide campaign involving a controversial letter he sent to over 1,000 Iowa churches. It called for the removal of the three Iowa State Supreme Court Justices for their abuse of judicial authority in imposing same-sex marriage upon Iowans, while promising pro-bono legal defense for any Iowa church harassed by the I.R.S. for exercising their rights to free speech in the pulpit.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C., called Gordon’s actions one of the most outrageous attempts to politicize a church that he has ever seen.
Now, Gordon’s “outrageousness” has extended to presidential politics. Today, he made his choice for president known through an online video, as well as a text message that will be delivered to nearly 800,000 cell phones of registered Iowa voters and residents of Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District, where he lives.
His choice: Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
“He’s committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster,” he said. “Rick Santorum is committed to family values, and it shows in his own family.”
Gordon said the public endorsement of a presidential candidate is new territory.
“It’s not something I’ve ever done before, not publically,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be an Iowan, and it’s a role I take very seriously. I have spent hours … vetting everyone that is running for the presidency right now.”
He described the vetting process as “at times inspiring, sometimes it’s been fun, but a lot of times it’s been frustrating and difficult.”
Gordon said many leaders are afraid to make public endorsements because it is somehow implied that an endorsement is approval of a candidate’s past failures. He said that’s both unfair and unrealistic, and generally doesn’t ring true.
“That attitude, that if you endorse someone you’re approving of all the things they’ve done wrong, I think that’s the biggest reason why pastors like myself refuse to participate in the process in a public way,” he said. “Ironically, the lack of public participation by ministers, I believe, is at the root of everything that is wrong with our country.”
Gordon said it’s going to take “an imperfect human with God’s help and God’s blessing” to turn the country’s misfortunes around. He said he was looking for a candidate who was both “humble and credible, someone I can trust, and someone who has generally good ideas.”
In his endorsement video, expected to pop-up on I-Phones, Droids and other such “smart phones” this weekend, Gordon emphatically rejects frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, while urging Iowans to support Santorum – in part because Santorum has declared he would include fellow GOP Presidential contender, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, at the top of his administrative team.
“I have thoroughly vetted every candidate that is currently running for president, and I have come to a conclusion that there are only two people currently in this race that have faithfully championed the legitimate solutions necessary to get this country back on course,” Gordon said, adding, with only a month until the Iowa Caucus, “it is abundantly necessary that the conservative community coalesce behind only one of … two great candidates,” Santorum and Bachmann. Santorum’s recent declaration of his aim to make Bachmann a vital part of a Santorum administration made Gordon’s decision much easier, he said. “I want them both in the White House!”
He said Santorum and Bachmann’s swift July responses to the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow – a sweeping political pledge document that addresses issues ranging from adultery and marital fidelity, homosexual unions and gay health issues, U.S. monogamy and Islamist polygamy, fatherless children and U.S. military policy – has been extremely important to his decision. Gordon noted that only Santorum, Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have signed the document, while frontrunner Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker, has rejected both the Iowa vow and the National Organization for Marriage pledge against same-sex unions.
Santorum and Bachmann, Gordon said, have both pledged to reinstate the military’s longstanding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against open homosexuality, reversed earlier this year by President Obama.
“Rick and Michele would make a great GOP match, and would defend Judeo-Christian monogamy, while I think it’s increasingly clear Gingrich simply cannot be trusted with the institution of marriage in any sense,” he said. “I think the 2010 Esquire interview with Newt’s second ex-wife and former mistress was very troubling.”
Gordon also praised Santorum for championing a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution, something the pastor said was necessary if Americans wished to “stop the barbaric evil of abortion once and for all.” He added, “Rick Santorum is committed to rescuing this nation from economic disaster, and that’s good news for everyone concerned about their families.”
He also acknowledged his endorsement comes with consequences.
“Someone will inevitably disagree with the decision I have made. And I know any leader who decides to stick their neck out and make a public endorsement is suddenly going to face criticism of their own,” he said. “I’m prepared for that, because I think our country is in a lot of trouble.”
Gordon said Iowans, like most Americans, are fearful of what another four years of Barack Obama in office would do to the country. But, he is hopeful Americans do not let their fear rule how they will vote in the GOP presidential nomination process.
“We don’t have to be afraid,” he said. “I hope that voters won’t be driven by fear to just go by polling data and grab someone we can’t really trust and throw them at the helm of this government. I posit to you that isn’t going to save America.”
The full-length version of Gordon’s interview is available for viewing here.
The 2012 Presidential race has been billed as one the most important election cycles in recent history. And perhaps due to this prophetic proclamation it seems that the number of debates hosted around the country has increased dramatically. That would not be a bad thing if the debates that we being conducted were anything more that soundbite machines hosted by moderators that seem to want to turn the candidates on each other in some sort of political version of the a battle royal. That is why yesterday evenings Thanksgiving Family Forum hosted by The Family Leader was so refreshing. The basic rules of the evening were crafted so that the candidates could not only answer questions, but answer them in depth so as to allow the audience to really understand how the candidate reached the conclusion that they did. For those of you that were unable to attend you can view the forum in its entirety at this link.
Now I could give you a complete rundown of everything that happened during the two hour long forum, but due to time and space constraints I will simply break it down in to how I believe each participant performed.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul
In my opinion Congressman Paul started the evening out with a whimper. In his response to the very first question Congressman Paul was all over the place, but not with any comment of any consequence. And despite his longwinded answer he still provided an answer that did not satisfactorily answer the question. This appearance really hit the bottom during the second half of the program where he really let the naivety of his foreign policy stance show through.
Georgia Businessman Herman Cain
Last night we had another appearance by Mr. Cain in which there were times that he looked absolutely amazing, and then other times when he left you scratching your head in wonder. One of the times where Mr. Cain really shined was when the question revolved around the phrase “So help me God” in the Presidential oath of office. Mr. correctly asserts that when that phrase is uttered in the oath that the person is asking for God’s help in fulfilling the duties of the office in question. When the candidates were asked about the sanctity of life his answers seemed intentionally vague and evasive; and gave the audience the impression that he will not fight for life as hard as some of the other candidates would.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman
I have to admit that this was one of the best performances I have seen from Congresswoman Bachmann for some time. During this forum the Congresswoman does have at least a rudimentary knowledge of American History. She demonstrated this by correctly recited the fact that it was the first President of the United States, George Washington, that was so instrumental in having that short little phrase included in the oath of office. In my opinion I really did not see the Congresswoman make any fatal mistakes last night.
Texas Governor Rick Perry
After having endured the painful experience of watching Governor Perry take part in the last several debates I was prepared for the dreadful nails on a chalkboard effect that his appearance would create. To say that I was surprised by his extremely competent performance would be an understatement. Whenever he happened to field a question the answer seemed to be directed at the audience. It was like he was just having a conversation with us, not the moderator. Not only did he do a good job speaking to the audience, he responded with well thought out remarks that demonstrated that he is not a light thinker.
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich
If only one candidate can be said to have had a huge night, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. The former speaker’s wit and wisdom were on display for all to see last night. He repeatedly answered the questions posed to him with reason and knowledge. He really did not have any misstep for anyone to attack him on. Among the most memorable lines of the night was this gem describing the occupy movement.
“All the occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park that they didn’t pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms that they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places that they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes that sustain the bathrooms that sustain the park so that they can self righteously proclaim that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country. That is why we need to reassert something as simple as saying to them go get a job right after you take a bath.”
Former Senator Rick Santorum
This was yet another strong performance from the former Senator from Pennsylvania. He delivered strong and rational arguments supporting his beliefs and his positions. He was able to articulate clear and concise reasons for denying the nation of Iran the ability to produce a nuclear weapon. He delivered a powerful piece of testimony illustrating for all to see that even though he is a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, he is really just a flawed human being like the rest of humanity. As he was confessing this past mistake for all the world to see you could see that reliving that period of his life was just as hard now as it had been then.
Everyone at The Family Leader deserves a hearty round of applause for the outstanding event that they had put together. I would not hesitate to state that this type of format will definitely be copied and utilized in the future. As promised, last night’s forum allowed those in attendance to learn more about the candidates and what made them tick than in any of the other debates or forums combined. All in all, a great event.
With the race for the Republican Presidential nomination heating up, I have come to realize that finding news and commentary can sometimes be difficult and time consuming. There are a great many voters out there that simply do not have the time needed to conduct this search in order to vet the candidates. In attempt to help our readers become more knowledgeable and informed about the Republican Presidential candidates Iowa Defense Alliance has launched a new feature to the blog.
If you will avert your eyes to the right hand side of the page you will see a heading titled Pages. Underneath this header you will see, in alphabetical order, a list of eight Republican Presidential candidates. To find the information and commentary that we have gathered you must simply click on the desired candidate’s name which will take you to a page with numerous links on it. These links will then take you to a multitude of news and commentary articles about the candidate you have chosen. Naturally we cannot and will not be able to catch all the stories and opinions out there, so if you have an article you would like us to link to simply post it in the comment section below or you can send it to me at email@example.com.
As an uncommitted voter in the Republican primary/caucus process, I’ve taken my responsibility as an Iowa seriously — probably more seriously than several of the presidential candidates, but I digress.
I’ve been trying to vet the candidates, and unfortunately, I find many of the candidates offered on the GOP slate lacking. But, I know I’m not alone. Most Iowa Republicans seem disenfranchised with the 2012 crop.
It’s easy to bash on the media-appointed frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. His actions speak far louder than his rhetoric: he’s in favor of “partnership agreements” for homosexual couples — gay marriage, just by another name — and his “RomneyCare” program — by which “ObamaCare” was modeled — allows $50 copays for taxpayer-subsidized abortions.
But, Romney wasn’t the only candidate to find himself the darling of the national mainstream media. Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign has been driven largely by media pressure and, apparently, some healthy prodding from his wife, Anita.
And, for the couple of weeks, Perry found himself immediately at the front of the pack. But, after some lackluster debate performances, and revelations that he supported in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens through the Texas DREAM Act, and issued an executive order that required young girls to get Gardasil vaccinations for the human papilloma virus (now referred to by his critics as “Gardasil-gate”), he quickly fizzled.
But, the third-quarter financial reports provided Gov. Perry with a much-needed lifeline. Suddenly, the media was reporting how Iowans were giving the former frontrunner a fresh look. Even my good friend, Jen Green, acknowledged Perry could possibly find a way beyond the Texas DREAM Act and Gardasil-gate troubles.
Her boss, conservative talk show host Steve Deace, suggested perhaps the two major controversies surrounding the Perry campaign had run out of impact. He wondered aloud during a broadcast last week if there were any other red flags fluttering in the breeze.
And, indeed, there are.
In July, as Gov. Perry was still flirting with a potential presidential run, Laylan Copelin of the Austin American-Statesman asked the question, “Should Perry get the credit for Texas’ growth?” Her breakdown of job growth in Texas seems to knock almost all of the shine off Perry’s bragging about his state’s economy.
…(A)lmost half of the state’s job growth the past two years was led by education, health care and government, the sectors of the economy that will now take a hit as federal stimulus money runs out and the Legislature’s 8 percent cut in state spending translates into thousands of layoffs among state workers and teachers in the coming weeks.
Also, Texas is tied with Mississippi as the nation’s leaders in minimum wage jobs. And conservatives argue that Texas can do more to lower its tax burden on businesses, which is higher than the national average and states such as California and Massachusetts that have a personal income tax…
…Construction, manufacturing and information sectors lost jobs overall. Education and health services led in job creation (32 percent of all jobs added), followed by professional and business services (23 percent), petroleum (18 percent) and government (12 percent). Other industry sectors, ranging from utilities to hospitality, had smaller job gains…
Copelin’s article went on to ask economists if Gov. Perry was the root cause of Texas’ economic success. Their responses — even among those willing to give him the most credit — were lukewarm, at best.
Texas was the last state to allow homeowners to tap into their equity, and even then it came with numerous protections for both lenders and homeowners. The state also benefits from an economy that relies heavily on the energy markets, and its residents benefit from low taxes and an overall low cost of living.
But, the Lone Star State also has the highest percentage of its population — tied with Mississippi — earning at or below the federal minimum wage. In fact, its total number of employees making no more than minimum wage was more than California, Florida, and Illinois — combined.
For the “it’s the economy, stupid” wing of the Republican Party, those aren’t facts you likely throw around at campaign appearances. But, there’s more.
Gov. Perry has touted himself as a champion of the Tenth Amendment, that the federal government just needs to butt out of the affairs of the states. But, when Washington handed out stimulus money to help states shore up their budget gaps, Texas ponied up — big time.
According to Tami Luhby of CNNMoney, Texas was the most dependent state on federal stimulus money in 2009 and 2010. So much so, the state plugged 97 percent of its budget deficit with one-time money from Washington.
Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.
“Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years,” said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas.
Even as Perry requested the Recovery Act money, he railed against it. On the very same day he asked for the funds, he set up a petition titled “No Government Bailouts.”
“Join our fight and add your voice to a growing list of several thousand Americans who are fed up with this irresponsible spending that threatens our future,” Perry wrote on his blog on Feb. 18, 2009.
In Iowa, for instance, the entire one-year state budget is $6.3 billion in the next fiscal year. But, in Texas, the idea of using one-time stimulus money was about as effective as it was in The Hawkeye State — legislators have been left looking for ways to balance the states’ budget without it, now.
In January, the Texas State Legislature began working on an austerity budget based on $15 billion in less revenue, including more than $7.5 billion in federal money for Medicare and education. Legislators were tasked with finding $31 billion in spending cuts, including deep cuts in healthcare and education — chopping away almost all of the job gains Gov. Perry has been touting.
Meanwhile, the state’s “rainy day fund” has only grown to $9.4 billion, which even if fully depleted will only cover less than a third of the budget gap. Schools will close, teachers will lose jobs, and the poor will find it more difficult to get healthcare.
Not exactly the kind of stuff you talk about when trying to attract middle-of-the-roaders on the campaign trail. But, there’s even more. After all, middle-of-the-roaders aren’t the most likely voters in a caucus state, such as first-in-the-nation (for now?) Iowa.
The base shows up for the caucus, meaning you have to appeal to true-blooded conservatives to have a shot. So, where would Gov. Perry stand on one of the biggest issues for “original” Tea Party members: the NAFTA Superhighway.
Or, if you like, we can call it by its official name, the North American Supercorridor COalition (NASCO) Corridor.
A key component of the NASCO Corridor, if you’ve listened at all to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) on the campaign trail, is the Trans-Texas Corridor. And, Gov. Perry’s involvement in the project is so deep, it prompted TownHall.com’s Rachel Alexander to call it “Rick Perry’s NAFTA Superhighway Problem.”
Perry’s campaign website lists the Trans-Texas Corridor as one of his accomplishments, “Rather than taking decades to expand these important corridors a little bit at a time, Governor Perry developed the Trans-Texas Corridor plan.” But is it something Perry really wants broadcast as an achievement?
The Texas Republican Party’s 2010 platform includes a plank specifically opposing the Trans-Texas Corridor. Some of the opposition to the NAFTA Superhighway has been dismissed as conspiratorial, but loud objections also came from people concerned with border security and one million rural interests and farmers that stood to lose their land to eminent domain.
According to Alexander’s report, Perry received campaign contributions from the company that constructed the Trans-Texas Corridor, as well as the Spanish-owned company that retained ownership of the roadway and collected the tolls from it. Where have we heard of Gov. Perry doing that before?
Alexander sums it up this way:
Unlike Romney, Perry has not completely disavowed his controversial history as governor. Romney distanced himself from Mass-Care by promising that the first Executive Order he would sign upon becoming president would be a waiver to all 50 states from Obamacare. Perry, on the other hand, proudly lists Trans-Texas Corridor as one of his accomplishments on his website.
The state of Texas, multiple factions within the Republican Party, and significant numbers of Democrats oppose the Trans-Texas Corridor. They are not going to sit back and risk repeating an “accomplishment” like this on a national scale.
So, perhaps it’s not just a “NAFTA Superhighway problem” for Rick Perry. Maybe, it’s a Rick Perry problem for America.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the new darling of the Republican presidential nomination field, likes to talk a good game on a wealth of issues that resonate with the party’s conservative base.
But, as the governor of a “border state,” one issue where he seemingly has an advantage over his rivals is immigration, or better stated, illegal immigration. And, the record of his rhetoric would seem to support that notion — for the most part.
As early as 2001, Gov. Perry was insisting the federal government should be solely responsible for criminal repatriation (deportation) of illegal aliens. He also said the cost of illegal immigration should be shared between the federal government and the states.
But, he also thought it was perfectly OK to import farm workers from Mexico, so they might perform menial labor no American worker would want to do. And, he bragged about Texas being the first state to grant in-state tuition breaks to the children of illegal aliens who went to a Texas college or university.
“Educacion es el futuro, y si se puede,” he said. “Education is the future, and yes we can.”
But that statement is largely overshadowed by contrary statements he has made, particularly those he made during his “State of the State” addresses to the Texas State Legislature, in the years that followed.
In 2007, during his State of the State Address, he said: “I am proposing a $100 million investment in a more secure border. There is no such thing as homeland security without border security.
“It is not hyperbole to say terrorists view our international border with Mexico as a prime point of entry — that is the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.”
That all sounds very “textbook conservative,” almost “Reaganesque.” But that isn’t all Gov. Perry had to say on the issue.
“While the vast majority of people who come here illegally are economic immigrants simply seeking a better life…”
It’s the very small comment that gets missed in the rest of the statement, which sheds an immense amount of light upon his true views on immigration. More on this later.
From there, Gov. Perry quickly gets back on a conservative tack, hitting the key phrases his base wanted to hear.
“…the small percentage seeking to cause us harm don’t dress differently. Nor do they put out press advisories in advance of their arrival. They don’t want us to know they are here until they have done mortal damage to our people,” he said. “I support strategic fencing in urban areas along the border. But I also believe, like border sheriffs, that the best solution involves added manpower, not unmanned walls.”
To which the record shows he received a standing ovation.
Fast-forward another two years, and Gov. Perry is once again addressing the Texas State Legislature, this time with an agenda steadfastly opposed to “sanctuary cities,” where illegals flock in droves because local authorities refuse to enforce federal immigration laws. Once again, his rhetoric is largely textbook conservative.
“As we continue to strengthen our border, we must also consider the essential role that federal immigration policy, or the lack thereof, plays in the safety of our citizens and the integrity of our state,” he said. “I also support an end to the notion of sanctuary cities. Local government sends the wrong message when they pick and choose what laws they want their peace officers to enforce.”
Gov. Perry went on to pledge his support for voter identification laws, and tracking the citizenship status of those receiving state-funded services. He argued these efforts were “common sense approaches to protecting our citizens’ lives and resources, as well as our state’s integrity.”
Once again, he played it up for his base. And, his base responded by making him the longest-serving governor in Texas history. So, it’s probably pretty easy to see why he might try that same tactic in his current run for the White House.
So, let’s fast forward two more years, to just this past month, when Gov. Perry made his first campaign stop in Iowa at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo. Once again, he was speaking to his “base,” in this case, members of the Black Hawk Republican Party.
“Two months ago, the President of the United States came to El Paso, Texas, to give a political speech, stood on the border and said that the border between Texas and Mexico was safer than it had ever been in its history. Now I don’t know what history books he’s reading, but it’s not the ones I know and it’s not the border I know.
“We’re spending $150 million-plus in our two-year budget in Texas to supplement the Border Patrol, to supplement the local sheriffs, to supplement state law enforcement. I put our Texas Ranger Recon teams on the Rio Grande to assist with what is, on many places along that border, a war zone. We are outgunned.
“There are places on the U.S.-Mexico border where the drug cartels have operational control. We’re starting to see that violence is washing over into the United States. We know there are transnational gangs that are operating in the State of Texas.”
The gist of the comments was there cannot be a conversation about immigration policy until the border is secure. He pledged, if elected President of the United States, he would mobilize the military, until such time the Border Patrol was adequately trained, to secure the border.
He also pledged to sit down for talks with whomever the new president of Mexico will be in 2013 to strike a dialogue of “cooperation” regarding the border and the drug cartels.
“Frankly, if they don’t work with us, Mexico has the potential to be a very, very big problem,” he added. “But we can, and we will.”
The irony that this speech took place mere feet from where the trials in the biggest immigration raid in U.S. history took place is only overshadowed by the irony of Perry’s own record on cracking down on cross-border crime and violence. To date, he doesn’t really have one.
In 2005, Edwards County deputy sheriff Gilmer Hernandez found himself in a situation in which a border-crossing truck attempted to run him over. He fired his weapon, shooting out two tires of the truck to bring it to a stop.
He was arrested, tried by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, convicted, and sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.
The following year, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean intercepted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila (a repeat offender as a “mule” for the drug cartels) who was attempting to cross the border at El Paso with 800 lbs. of marijuana in a van. When the agents attempted to take him into custody, he fought with them and tried to run away, back to Mexico.
In his attempt to flee, Aldrete-Davila pointed a gun at Ramos and Compean, who returned fire. He still made it back across the border, but apparently was hit by one of the BP agents’ bullets in one of his buttocks.
When the Mexican government complained, the USA for the Western District of Texas once again prosecuted, winning another conviction (even though Aldrete-Davilia had once again been arrested for drug running at the border) and 11- and 12-year sentences for the BP agents. President George W. Bush commuted their sentences after they had been incarcerated for more than two years.
Given the aforementioned rhetoric, how do you suppose Gov. Perry — the Governor of Texas when both of these incidents happened — reacted? It would probably be most enlightening to look at the case of one more defender of our national liberty: Border Patrol agent Jesus Diaz.
Diaz, otherwise known as “Chito,” was on duty during the early-morning hours of Oct. 16, 2008, when he responded to a call in the Eagle Pass area that a group of illegal aliens were attempting to cross the border into Texas. He was not alone on the call, but when the illegals scattered, he apprehended one, while his fellow agents tracked down the others.
It was quickly discovered this was yet another group of “mules,” each loaded with about 150 lbs. of marijuana in their backpacks. As his colleagues pursued the other drug smugglers, Diaz was left to deal with a very unruly suspect who became uncooperative and was resisting arrest.
So, he did what he was trained to do. He “lifted” the handcuffs, applying upward pressure as means to subdue the subject. Once again, the USA for the Western District of Texas prosecuted, and so far, Agent Diaz has been spending 23 hours of the day in solitary confinement, seeing his wife — who also is a BP agent — twice a week for 20 minutes at a time, separated by a thick piece of Plexiglas.
He has yet to actually be convicted of a crime, yet the treatment he’s endured would qualify for most people as certainly “cruel and unusual.”
So, Diana Guadarama-Diaz, Chito’s wife, did what any Texan would do in this situation. She asked her governor who has talked tough on border security and supporting the Border Patrol, Rick Perry.
The response from his office is nothing short of heartrending.
“Thank you for contacting the Office of the Governor.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal agency over which Governor Perry has no jurisdiction. Additionally, in accordance with provisions of the Constitution, Governor Perry has no authority to intervene in legal or judicial matters such as this. Any attempts to address court-related issues would therefore be more appropriately directed through legal and judicial channels.
“We wish you and your family the best. Please write to our office whenever we can be of assistance.”
Now, granted, the letter was written by Dede Keith, director of the Constituent Communication Division in the Office of the Governor in Austin. But, this is an expression of the Governor’s position on the matter and, ostensibly, other cases like it.
There once was a man many people still consider to be great, who suggested Americans, regardless of the color of their skin, should be judged by the “content of their character.” As we vet our candidates for President of the United States, perhaps this is one indicator of character we should consider.
For in the case of Gov. Rick Perry, it would seem actions — or, in this case, inaction — really does speak louder than the words of his rhetoric.
If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading it in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.
This past Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the Republican Party of Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll. For those of you that were unable to attend you missed out on an incredible spectacle that is an important step in the Presidential nomination process. You missed the opportunity to mingle with the various Republican Presidential candidates. You missed the opportunity to learn what a wide variety of conservative organizations were up to. And most of all you missed the opportunity to help shape the debate in the election process. And once the dust had settled there it was clear those that had successes and those that had disappointments.
First off, for those of you that do not understand the significance of a non-binding straw poll I would like to explain the significance. The significance of the Ames Straw Poll is that it is the first real test of the various campaigns organizational strength. Basically it tests how well a campaign can motivate it’s supporters to come out and spend the day in Ames to vote for them. At the end of the day it is up to the campaign’s to determine how well they accomplished that task and plan accordingly. Now without further ado I would like to give you my thoughts on the outcome of the 2011 Ames Straw Poll.
Michelle Bachmann – 4,823 votes
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann emerged from the Ames Straw Poll as the victor. Last Saturday Congresswoman Bachmann was able to lay claim to the mantle of the first woman to win the RPI Straw Poll. This in and of itself is a major success for Team Bachmann, more so considering that it happened in a state that has never elected a woman to serve in the federal government. Despite this symbolic victory it cannot be overlooked that Congresswoman Bachmann just barely managed to hold off Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Most Republican circles began to write off the Texan after the horrid debate performance he had on Thursday evening. One reason for this apparent disappointment could stem from the fact that in the weeks leading up to the Straw Poll many media outlets began to launch a constant stream of attacks designed to diminish her performance. And in spite of these attacks she managed to pull off the win.
Ron Paul – 4671 votes
I would categorize Congressman Ron Paul’s performance at the Straw Poll as a success. As I mentioned above, many Republicans that I spoke with prior to between Thursday night and Saturday morning expected his performance to drop after his performance in the Fox News debate. Despite this performance I still fail to see Congressman Paul winning enough support to emerge from the Iowa Caucus victorious. The reason that I believe this is his stance on foreign policy. It remains to be seen if American foreign policy was the cause of the irrational hatred felt by many Muslims toward the United States. However, we do not have the luxury of traveling back in time to change the past. We must live in reality, the here and now. We cannot allow attacks upon our nation to go unanswered. And once we were engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq we could not withdraw our troops until their nations were once again stable, to do otherwise would be irresponsible. And as for Iran, it is the only nation in the world that has publicly stated that their ultimate goal was to destroy another nation. If we were to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons it would have disastrous consequences for every other nation in the world. And after Congressman Paul publicly announced otherwise, it marginalized him as viable candidate in my opinion. I am confident that very few Iowans’ subscribe to Congressman Paul’s idea of foreign policy.
Tim Pawlenty – 2,293 votes
I would say that the biggest disappointment of the day belonged to Team Pawlenty. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was banking on a great finish in the Ames Straw Poll that never materialized. Governor Pawlenty’s biggest impediment in the race was his lack of excitement. He just couldn’t fire up the voters the way that Ron Paul and Michelle Bachmann could. As a result of his disappointing finish on Saturday, Governor Pawlenty made an announcement that he was dropping out of the race on Sunday. The expertise and wisdom that Governor Pawlenty brought to the race will be missed, but the Ames Straw Poll succeeded in helping Iowans to vet the Presidential candidates.
Rick Santorum – 1,657 votes
One of the biggest success stories from Saturday’s Straw poll was the emergence of Rick Santorum. Last week I was one of the few commentators to predict that the former Senator from Pennsylvania would jump up and surprise some people at the Straw Poll. And while I did expect him to fare better than Governor Pawlenty, I wasn’t off by much. The reason that I consider fourth place a success for Santorum is because he finished above many candidates that have been in the race longer. The fact that Santorum was able to fire up almost seventeen hundred votes in just a couple of months is a testament to his ability to campaign. I look forward to the next six months as we get closer and closer to the 2012 caucuses. I think that we may see another rise similar to the one Governor Mike Huckabee had post 2007 Straw Poll.
Herman Cain – 1,456 votes
I would also characterize Herman Cain’s performance at the Straw Poll as a success. In my prediction last week I thought that Cain could surprise Iowa Republicans, even though I thought it was unlikely. With his fifth place finish the former Godfathers Pizza CEO has proven to be a tenacious campaigner with the drive to win. However, he still finished in fifth place after having campaigned for longer than most candidates. Perhaps his refusal to answer surveys has held him back. Many Iowans, myself included, have to wonder why he would avoid this free advertisement. Unless it is because he doesn’t want to go on the record in his own handwriting.
Rick Perry – 718 votes
The biggest surprise to me was the fact that Texas Governor Rick Perry who came in sixth with 718 votes. To say that this wasn’t a success would be utter madness. Governor Perry was successful beyond my wildest imaginations. At the same time I find it disappointing that 718 Iowans voted for a candidate that had never campaigned within the state. I find it disappointing that 718 Iowans voted for a candidate that they could know little about. To be perfectly honest I cannot fathom any reason for Governor Perry to finish this high without any campaigning at all. Still I have the nagging feeling that when Iowans begin to actually get to know him, that his campaign will fall back to earth.
Mitt Romney – 567 votes
I know that the defending Straw Poll victor, Mitt Romney, decided not to participate in the 2011 version but I still expected him to do better than Texas Governor Rick Perry. At least Romney has done some minimal campaigning within the state. Furthermore, Romney did campaign extensively in the state during the last caucus. To have him fall so far was hard to imagine. I would say that this does not bode well for Team Romney as we get closer to the 2012 caucus. To say that his performance was disappointing would be an understatement.
Newt Gingrich – 385 votes
I would say that former Speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich suffered neither successful nor a disappointing Straw Poll, although it is still astounding that Rick Perry finished better than Gingrich. Instead, I believe that Gingrich managed to tread water in spite of refusing to participate in the event. We know that he was on the ground in Ames on Saturday, so it is probably because of a lack of campaign funds that held him back from participating in the event.
Jon Huntsman – 69 votes
To be perfectly honest with you, I did not expect Huntsman to fare this well. The man has openly dissed the Iowa Caucus and the Straw Poll. That sixty-nine Iowans voted for him simply astounds me. Due to this I would without hesitation that Huntsman experienced a success at the Straw Poll.
Thaddeus McCotter – 35 votes
You might be asking just who McCotter is. Well the best way to describe him is probably as someone that wanted to be able to put candidate for President on his resume when he leaves Congress. If you had been at the straw poll you would have noticed that his tent area had very few people in attendance. In all honesty I was surprised he received as many votes as he did. It was definitely a disappointing day for McCotter.
There you have it, my take on the results of the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll. I am sure that most of you will have your own opinions as to the aftermath, and you are entitled to them. That is the beauty of our great nation.