Rick Perry Defends 10th Amendment, Makes SocialCons Uneasy


Real Clear Politics reports on the inevitable blowback to Texas Governor Rick Perry's refusal to condemn the new gay marriage law in New York:

At an event in Aspen, Perry said, "Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me." He continued, "That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business."

And so now there are the makings of an uncomfortable clash between the federalists and the social conservatives within the party about how the issue should be addressed going forward, and potential candidate Perry has found himself right in the middle of it.

Enter Oran Smith, the president of the Palmetto Family Council, a conservative, family-values organization in South Carolina, which carries weight among conservatives who vote in the early Republican primary there. Smith said he has been bombarded with emails from activists over the past 48 hours about Perry's comments—with mixed responses.

"I've gotten everything from people saying how horrible it was to how it was the right thing to do," he said.

"It's the way he said it," Smith said, noting that Perry said he was "fine" with New York's new law. He explained that if by "fine" he means he's happy about it, that won't sit well with evangelical voters, but if he's approaching it as a constitutional lawyer would, it may not be so bad.

At the same time, Smith said he's concerned that Perry's comments suggest he could be "slippery" on other issues. "And he may be perceived as stumbling out of the gate because of a poor choice of words," he said, indicating that such a stumble could hurt Perry in the early voting states of Iowa and South Carolina, where he would need to do well.

You'd think primary voters in Iowa and South Carolina would place more weight on, oh, I don't know, stellar job creation in Perry's Texas, rather than his reluctance to weild the presidency like a theocratic sledgehammer.