Rick Perry's Superficial Extremism

The Texas governor's record doesn't live up to his rhetoric.


Texas Gov. Rick Perry often talks like he's ready to refight the Alamo—this time against Washington. He rails about the stimulus and the expansion of federal power while flirting with the idea of devolving control of entitlements to the states.

So when Perry officially announced he was throwing in his 40-gallon hat for next year's Republican presidential nomination, critics were quick to warn of his extremist, radical small-government views. But Perry's suit-and-tie-Republican record doesn't match up to his pistol-packing, Texas-sized rhetoric.

Many of the warnings concern Perry's allegedly extreme federalism. After reading the governor's book, Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America From Washington, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein described the governor's federalism as "radical in scope," but "not thoughtless." Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum wondered whether Perry might be "too radical even for the Tea Party." After investigating Perry's positions on entitlements, Newsweek's Andrew Romano reported that the governor "hints that he would do more to limit the power of the federal government—or at least attempt to do more—than any president since Calvin Coolidge." At the Guardian, columnist Ana Marie Cox warned that if Perry got his way with federal regulation, "it would be total anarchy: Mad Max meets Dr. Moreau." 

"More than any of his fellow contenders," Cox wrote, "Perry represents a bruising roll of the dice on America's future." Is Perry really such an outlier? Not really. While he's frequently willing to stake out heated rhetorical territory, his actual governance is relatively mild in comparison.

Take Perry's position on the stimulus. In theory, he was vigorously opposed to the program. In practice, however, he was willing to collect. In 2009, he loudly rejected $555 million in federal unemployment aid. "The calls to take the (stimulus) money and sort out the consequences later are quite troubling to me," he told The Houston Chronicle. Later, in a letter to President Obama, he highlighted his "vocal opposition" to the law, saying it "will burden future generations with unprecedented levels of debt." In the same letter, however, Perry also agreed to take the stimulus funds, noting his promise to state residents that if a stimulus passed, he "would work to ensure that our citizens receive their fair share." They got a bundle: In 2010, Perry relied on the $6 billion in federal stimulus funds he accepted to fill in big gaps in the state's budget.

Indeed, despite his allegedly radical federalism, Perry has been more than happy to take—and seek out—federal handouts throughout his tenure in the governor's mansion. In 2009, Cato Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edward noted that under Perry, Texas has been "an aggressive scavenger of federal grant dollars," taking hundreds of millions in federal funds for drought assistance, homeland security, and local law enforcement. Does this sound like the record of an unusually anti-federal radical?

Newsweek's Andrew Romano's description of Perry as a modern day Coolidge came as a result of the governor's stated interest in devolving federal entitlement programs to the states. But on Medicaid, the major entitlement over which state governments have the most control, Perry's talk-to-action ratio was familiarly lopsided.

It's common enough for governors, especially Republicans, to criticize Medicaid's mass of federal mandates and poor financing structure. But last year, Perry noisily and repeatedly raised the possibility of pulling his state out of the joint federal-state program entirely. "We need to get out of it," he said of the program. "And with the budget shortfall we're anticipating, we may have to act this year."

But action of the sort he threatened was not forthcoming. In Texas's most recent budget, Perry cut Medicaid provider rates and put off finding funding for an estimated $4.8 billion in expected spending. But the state is still very much enrolled in the program. In the end, reported The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff, "there's a pretty wide disconnect between what Perry says he would like to change about Medicaid in Texas and what he's been able to accomplish."

So why all the ominous warnings? It may have something to do with the press's willingness to overinterpret Perry's remarks. In 2009, for example, CNN posted a story headlined "Texas governor says secession possible." Similar stories popped up in dozens of other publications; according to, at least 169 major newspaper articles linked Perry with the idea of Texas secession.

But contrary to what even presidential press secretary Jay Carney has since asserted, Perry didn't actually threaten to pull his state out of the United States. Arguably, he said the opposite: "We've got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it." At most, he melodramatically referenced an old—and incorrect—understanding that Texas maintains a special right to leave the union at any time. That's typical for Perry, whose supposed extremism often looks a lot like a theatrical affectation—part practiced Texas swagger, part savvy political positioning.

Whatever the reason, though, Perry's critics appear all too willing to believe that the gun-toting Texas governor—yes, he carries a hollow-point packed, laser-sight pistol with him, even while jogging—represents some unprecedented form of radicalism. Their worry seems to be that he's ready to unload some of his deadly ammo into cherished federal programs from a White House perch. But if his record is any indication, Perry specializes more in rhetorical warning shots than serious small-government salvos. 

Peter Suderman is an associate editor at Reason magazine.

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  1. Interestingly, Christianity and all the other salvationist religions were invented as a response to the Hell that the agricultural City-State was making of the earth, according to this excerpt:

    For the first time in history, people began listening to religious teachers who promised them salvation.

    It’s impossible to overstate the novelty of this idea of salvation. Religion had been around in our culture for thousands of years, of course, but it had never been about salvation as we understand it or as the people of this period began to understand it. Earlier gods had been talismanic gods of kitchen and crop, mining and mist, house painting and herding, stroked at need like lucky charms, and earlier religions had been state religions, part of the apparatus of sovereignty and governance (as is apparent from their temples, built for royal ceremonies, not for popular public devotions).

    Judaism, Brahmanism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Buddhism all came into being during this period and had no existence before it. Quite suddenly, after six thousand years of totalitarian agriculture and civilization building, the people of our culture ? East and West, twins of a single birth ? were beginning to wonder if their lives made sense, were beginning to perceive a void in themselves that economic success and civil esteem could not fill, were beginning to imagine that something was profoundly, even innately, wrong with them.

    The Boiling Frog
    an essay by Daniel Quinn
    Excerpted from his book, “The Story of B”

    1. Well the Lone Ranger and Tonto
      Their riding down the line
      Fixing everybody’s troubles except mine
      Someone must have told them I was doin fine

      1. Everything White Indian writes is just a rehash of Run to the Hills. Why bother with all of these fancy books and essays when you could just spend five minutes listening to the worst song Maiden recorded in the 80’s?

        1. Very true. Never thought about it, but you are right, it is the worst song they did in the 80s. They did some good stuff though.

          1. Oh come on!

            I despise aboriginal peoples as much as the next guy, but that’s a great song.

            1. I love Maiden more than anyone born after 1980 should, but I have to disagree. It just doesn’t hold a candle to what else Maiden was doing at the time. How it got released as a single before The Number of the Beast and Hallowed be thy Name, I’ll never know. It’s super fun to sing at Karaoke though, so much falsetto screaming.

              1. It’s the song’s signature guitar lick and opening drum riff.

                That song is made of hooks.

                1. True that. It is quite catchy. I revoke my earlier statement about not understanding the release order, though I maintain it’s an inferior song to the rest of the album.

                  That whole band was technically superior to its rivals and could write catchy songs with deep lyrics as well. It’s a shame hair metal’s rise and fall has relegated all 80’s metal acts to joke status. I won’t be surprised if there’s a stylistic rediscovery of it when kids born after 2000 start writing music.

                  1. Only the hair bands are jokes. Iron Maiden and Priest and Motorhead and ACDC are still respected even by young punks if they know anything about music, which a few of them do.

                2. It is. But I just can’t get past the mawkish poor Indian lyrics. And a song like Die With Your Boots On or The Trooper have just as many hooks and cool lyrics.

    2. White Indian,

      I don’t know what you think of video games, but one I’ve been playing, Red Dead Redemption, explores your general position: that civilization can act monsterously. One of the missions is titled “Civilization at any price.” Quite interesting.

      1. cw, Cool! There are quite a few of us catching on to the Hell of Civilization.

        I’ve never got into gaming, but somebody else said the same thing about one of the civilization sim games here, and I quote as follows:

        There was a computer game called “SimEarth” I had back in the 90s. You could play different variants, including evolution-tinkering. One of the variants focused on human civilization. You had a limited amount of “energy” that you could allocate to different areas, such as health technology, energy (conventional, nuclear, etc.), manufacturing, technology, war, communication, environment, philosophy, agriculture/food, etc. The goal was continually balancing and allocating resources to see how long you could get civilization to survive.

        The thing was, no matter what you did, or how careful you were, almost any route you went eventually led either to nuclear war, or overpopulation which led to starvation and disease (and sometimes war). Whether it took decades or a couple of hundred years, the result was a devastated planet and crumbled civilization.

        Then one day, I did a radical rethinking and allocated most of the energy to “philosophy” (which in this game represented acceptance of death, enjoyment of life, ethical behavior), and very little or nothing to any of the others, including health technology. After all, improvements in health tech meant more people survived, so more food was needed, which eventually meant more energy was taken from other areas, which resulted in environmental destruction and war over remnant resources.

        Low health tech meant a natural balance of steady depopulation to a sustainable level of low population. That meant less competition over limited resources. High “philosophy” meant people accepted life for what it was and treated each other ethically, both within a civilization as well as neighboring states. The result? Civilization, such that it was, lasted tens of thousands of years. The game said I had won.…..7732638181

        Philosophizing with the libertarian sophists is the answer, cw. At least I’m not out plowing soil, right? LOL

        1. I do feel compelled to note that long term population trends point to a population crash not overpopulation being the problem we will face in the next two centuries.

          1. …famine…statism…inevitable…slavers…decline…life expectancy…lather, rinse, repeat

          2. …STATISM…[civilization]…famine…inevitable…life expectancy…babble babble…lather, rinse, repeat.

        2. While I question that any sort of “utopia” ever existed before the city-state, I think it’s good that you examine what the vast majority hold to be self evident. Hell, many often use the very word “civilization” synonymously with the “good, peaceful society.”


        4. You do realize, of course, that the universe didn’t code that game?

          That what you see as a profound insight is merely the result of the parameters favored by the designer(s) of the game?

          Designers who were deliberately setting out to make a difficult game?

          1. If you were replying to me, Fluffy, yes, I do understand that’s the developers’ own thoughts/opinions. I just found it interesting that I’ve been playing that game at the same time as White Indian has been posting his anti-civilization opinions.

          2. Of course, the game also features federal agents of the Bureau of Investigation (precursor to the FBI) as the primary antagonists, and wrestles with the issue of local vs. federal control.

          3. No, I was replying to White Indian, who apparently feels that 90’s-era SimEarth was a valid experimental model of real life.

        5. There are quite a few of us catching on to the Hell of Civilization.

          The irony of the independently-wealthy-doesn’t-have-to work-for-a-living What Indian?, well, its just the gift that keeps on giving.

          Even when you wish it wouldn’t.

    3. To understand the origins of Christianity is to understand the psychology of the Christian Right, and Rick Perry, their Great White Ghost Dance prophet.

          1. I was thinking this.

    4. What kind of phone do you use, rather?

    5. That’s… historically idiotic. Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Shintoism, for the most part, does not offer salvation. Buddhism was founded as a protest against Hindu’s caste system, but follows their role of ‘salvation’ pretty clearly (to any Buddhist reading this- I apologies for the oversimplification). Hinduism *is* one of the oldest religions on the planet. It’s so old we have no idea when it started. The rest of the post is too foolish to respond to.

  2. caption – guess what’s in my other hand

  3. Why aren’t they talking about Rick Perry’s Black heritage +? +? +? Check it out here

  4. Perry must be eating all this media attention up.

    1. Trump set the blueprint. You go after Obama. Then Obama is so stupid and thin skin, he turns the power of the Presidency against you. And you are an immediate star.

      1. Because that worked so well for Trump? His rating cratered and he’s out of the race. Shouldn’t you copy the blueprint of a success? I would call it the typical Trump outcome, except he didn’t manage to bankrupt a casino in the process.

        1. Trump is a total clown who should have never been taken seriously by anyone. Yet, he actually registered in the polls for a while for no other reason than he attacked Obama and go Obama’s attention.

          Perry, for all of his faults, is not a clown. He is a serious politician and knows what he is doing. He came out and went after Obama knowing that Obama would respond and jump start Perry’s campaign. Unlike Trump, who because he is such a clown, flamed out in a month, Perry is not going anywhere.

          Understand, I can’t stand Perry and hope he doesn’t win. But you have to give credit for good politics on this one.

          1. I think his opponents have even said as much. After trying every concievable angle to take him down they just haven’t been able to do so.

            1. He couldn’t carry Trump’s tower.

              1. There is much that I do not like about Trump, including the fact that he oftern forgets that he was born on third base on the diamond of wealth.

                However, any person, including Trump, who has enjoyed success in the private sector, by definition, runs circles around any politician.

        2. You should credit Trump at the very least for resolving Obama’s birther problem. Trump forced Obama to release his long-form birth certificate. And now nobody talks about Obama’s eligibility for presidency anymore. This is not nothing.

          1. Which is a good thing for Republicans I think. It keeps Obama from using the birthers as symbolic of his opponents.

            1. Indeed. I also remember very well how every liberal and squishy moderate was dead certain that releasing the long-form birth certificate would achieve nothing. That all these crazy birthers would never change their mind. Somehow, they got it completely wrong.

              1. Not really. I know plenty of birthers that still keep going over the same shit. Like it’s all a big 40 year conspiracy.

                Then they start talking about 9/11 being and inside job.


                1. There are hardcore nuts impervious to reason. They will keep talking about 9/11 being an inside job and/or about Obama not being a natural born citizen forever. However, before the release of the long-form birth certificate a much larger group of Americans harbored doubts about Obama’s birth place. These people could be and were convinced by the new evidence. That’s why the birther stuff is a clinical not a political issue now.

                  1. Maybe where you live. In Dallas, the billboards haven’t been taken down, and pretty much every single person in the TP who I meet* simply shrugs and says it’s a forgery, that they didn’t use language like “African-American” back then, the SSN is registered to a different state, etc. I literally haven’t met a single person who changed their opinion based on that release.

                    *the TP’ers and others of this mindset who I interact with are at the gunshows I go to every month (we have a lot of gun shows in Texas). There’s usually several 9/12 Project and county TP groups with booths there, and I always stop and talk to them about this subject. I am fully aware and acknowledge that they may not represent the majority opinion amongst their groups.

                    1. Perhpas they just aren’t as gullible as you.

                      Perhaps you continue to suffer from your lifelong exposure to the propaganda and just can’t help parroting it.

                      Yeah, a few muslims with box cutters….

                      Talk about bat shit insane.

                    2. Yeah, that release of yet another version of his birth records sure shut these liberty minded TPers up.

        3. Was Trump ever really in the race, or was he just trying to get some free publicity?

      2. u mean like when obama pwn’ed trump about deciding who to kick off the island?

        1. You mean like when Obama spent time and effort and political capital that could have been spent elsewhere sparing with a buffoon and lowering himself to said buffoon’s level?

          1. by joking at the journalists roast?

            1. and the press conference releasing his birth certificate and all of the other coverage that took the air out of the room?

              1. so trump got pwn’ed twice, by his own actionz

                1. The most powerful man in the world had nothing better to do than go after a reality TV star. Woo Hoo.

                  1. You’re just mad that the birther thing is not being taken seriously by anyone anymore.

                    1. Weakest spoof evah.

              2. and the press conference releasing his birth certificate and all of the other coverage that took the air out of the room?

                So did he release his Harvard transcripts or do we still get to assume he was a ‘C’ affirmative action student?

          2. Which buffoon, Trump or Obama?

  5. Keep your finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard, asshole.

    1. I believe that picture is from him actually firing the gun to start a race, rather than engaging in poor gun safety.

      1. Why can’t it be both?

  6. The odds of the story about him shooting the coyote while out jogging being true are the same as me sleeping with Kate Upton.

    1. I’ll bet you’re a good-looking guy. So maybe Perry’s story is true. 😉

    2. The story is that the coyote came out of cover toward his lab puppy.

      Coyotes hate dogs. I find this plausible.

      1. Have you ever encountered a coyote in real life?

        I have, always when I had grown dogs with me. No, I find it implausible. Perhaps the coyote was desperate or unusually bold, but it doesn’t fit with my experience.

        1. I’ve encountered a number of coyotes.

          And I’ve seen them act aggressively toward dogs. Plenty of old salts in coyote country wil tell you that coyotes will take down a cattle or bird dog if they get a chance.

          1. I’ve only seen them act passive-aggressively towards dogs, yap a lot and let themselves get chased around some.

            That’s my experience, so I think Perry is full of shit. YMMV.

            1. I think Perry is full of shit, no question.

              Just not necessarily on this one.

  7. Perry will be busy touting Obama’s record, not his own. Obama has made it easy for the Rs in that respect. It’s their election to lose.

    1. Pretty much. All he has got to do is look not crazy and not have a big scandal and the Republican nominee will kill Obama.

      Re-election campaigns are a referendum on the incumbent.

    2. Except that the media pretends that anyone with an (R) is a dyed in the wool, cold hearted, practically bordering-on-minarchist libertarian. Er, that is, once they win the nomination and become a real threat to the Democrats.

      1. Jacob Weisberg practically drooled all over Huntsman in his most recent article. He even praises Huntsman for lowering taxes which brought business into Utah and lowered the unemployment rate to 2.3%.

        What? Lowering taxes might be good for the economy? Who knew? I thought the Bush tax cuts caused this recession. I thought higher taxes were what caused the prosperity of the 1950s.

        Don’t worry. If Huntsman ever gets close to the nomination, we can look forward to reports of all kinds of concocted horrors going on in Utah.

  8. Off topic… Is this legit?…..:&st=email

    1. I saw something recently to the effect of this; basically, if you bother to prepare for a disaster, you are a terrorist.

      I used to think lopping 20% off the beast should be the goal, now I’m thinking 50%.

      1. Here’s the link I saw.

      2. If true, this shit is right out of Nazi Germany.

        Thank god our government is above corruption, and nothing like tat could ever happen here…

      3. You act surprised that the right hand of government contradicts and criminalizes what the left hand recommends.

        I’ve done everything the Bible Government says! Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff! What more can I do?

    2. My favorite part is that these survivalist/terrorist markers are things that are recommended by other federal agencies.

      1. I am rummaging up all the fairness I can here. The article did say BULK purchases of those items. Now, I guess the question is: what constitutes bulk?

  9. I’m so tired of this dumb argument. If you say you are against massive fed spending but yet you take or even seek to get some of that money back for the taxpayers in your state than you weren’t really against it in the first place. If a state had the option to opt out of PAYING THE TAXES related to that spending, but would receive none of the money and they didn’t opt out, than that argument might have some validity. But it’s a stupid to say, I’m going to take a bunch of tax dollars from your state, and if try and get any of that money back, than that means you agree with the spending. What, he’s supposed to let his constituents pay for all this spending so the it can all go to the blue states? I’m sure team blue would love that which is probably why they get throwing out this BS. This argument gets made over and over and it’s ridicules.

    1. It is a heads I win tails you lose thing. If the guy turns the money down then he is punishing his citizens so he can score political points. But if he takes it, he is a hypocrite. It is about as big of a bullshit argument as you can get.

    2. JB- I pretty much agree. Kind of like RP on pork.

      If Perry doesn’t take that money where does it go?

      Reducing the Federal Government is a top-down proposition now that we have the 17th Ammendment and the Commerce Clause.

    3. It’s true. Here in NJ, we get the worst federal taxes paid/federal money recieved ratio in the country. The Democrats spin it as “What, you think the federal government should be spending more on the state? Hypocrites, I say!”

    4. He could opt out of medicaid and highway funds, and lower the taxes in Texas accordingly (the taxes funding the state-match). They always choose not to. It is hypocritical.

      1. I don’t think Rick Perry can’t cut federal income taxes (and I include FICA in that).

        1. can cut.

          1. State-match medicaid doesn’t come from fed income tax. Nor does state-match highway funds. Those come from state taxes and fees of various sorts. But no gov will give it up, because it’s just too tempting to take the federal matching funds, even if it means selling yourself to Washington.

  10. Everyone seems to think a Republican taking federal funds is a hypocript(SP?). It’s all in how you argue the point. I would say if you have kids and don’t take the deduction your stupid, I also say all deductions should be eliminated. The same holds true of states if the fed is going to offer money you’d be stupid to not get your share of the pie. Besides that why states are part of a union so that when times get tough like natural disasters the rest are there to help.

  11. Since when does taking advantage of government programs mean you’re not against them?

    I think the complicated tax code is BS, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take as many deduction as I possibly can.

    I’m not defending Rick Perry’s actual views (not enough info) but the critique laid out in the article.

    Sitting by and watching the other states suck money from these programs that Texans helped fund with their taxes may be a righteous move, but it’s certainly not a practical one.

  12. The problem with taking federal money is this: once you take on new state employees, it’s virtually impossible to get rid of those people when the “free money” runs out.

    The best thing to do is refuse.

    1. Take the money, but spend it on consultants to make the state government ISO 9000 compliant.

  13. referenced an old?and incorrect?understanding that Texas maintains a special right to leave the union at any time

    I think the right to political self determinism is pretty old and pretty special.

    1. we tried that.

      1. You have rights even others violate them, otherwise they wouldn’t be much use.

  14. Perry is being painted as a red-neck Texas radical right yahoo (even if may not be true) in order to drive away Eastern independents and rinos who remember, not too fondly, the last Texas governor who became president.
    Obama knows he’s an guaranteed loser in certain states that will eat up the manufactured Perry persona. His aim is to win the swing states where media-Perry will scare the crap out of everyone who isn’t a hard core Republicans.

    1. How exactly is Bush, a guy who added the first major expansion to entitlements in 40 years (Medicare part D), the biggest nation builder since Johnson, and who pretty much nationalized education in this country with the help of Ted Kennedy, a “red neck Texas radical right yahoo”?

      I mean seriously. Can we please stop with the “Bush was a radical right wing President” bullshit? If only.

    2. Bush surrounded himself with Rinos.

    3. i thought they were pushing that he was a radical texan crazy enough to do anything on purpose because its kinda fuckin cool. dude says he shot a coyote. he also told the state trooper to fuck off. haven’t seen that one around here:

  15. ANother commenter here came up with this one, but it deserves to be repeated:
    “Texas is the price we pay for civilization”.

    1. What the crap is this supposed to mean? Many of the commentators seem to think they show intelligence just be being exceptionally sarcastic and cynical. Wow. Really constructive.

      1. It’s a fucking pun on “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” Unclench.

  16. A Repub against the Fed and EPA… and half of Libertarians will say that’s not good ’nuff.

    …Refuse to play the Dialectic and you will forever be confined to the Reason message board…

    1. “C’mon, baby. I promise I won’t hit you ever again. You just make me so angry sometimes. You know you shouldn’t make me angry. C’mon, baby. Let me in. It’s cold out here.”

      1. True. But your other boyfriend, the Democrats, ass rapes you and makes you whore yourself out to his friends. Maybe the occasional beating is the lesser of two evils. Life sucks.

        1. Whatevs. I’m going lez.

          1. Like that diesel dyke from the Green Party is going to treat you decent.

          2. Typical dropout

    2. Perry abused his power in the Cameron Todd Willingham case for no better reason than to protect the state from embarrassment.

      It makes it hard to look at the dialectic with equanimity.

    3. No, the goal should still be to win. They just to need to learn tactical patience. They do not understand incrementalism. They expect people to change their minds instantaneously about deeply held views.

      People are more likely to be persuaded by approaches that build upon existing beliefs and attitudes. Introduce new ideas by way of existing, accepted notions.

      Instead, many Libertarians display all he social skills of an enraged sufferer or Aspberger’s Syndrome with a bad attitude, when they engage in political discourse. “Gotta watch Wopner, Wopner, 3 PM, Wopner, yeah… Ron Paul! Ron Paul! Wopner…yeah, Wopner…3 PM…”


      Anyway – don’t get your hopes up. It’s pretty much just control freaks and attention hogs that run for office. Was it Kissinger who pointed out that anyone willing to run for president should be immediately disqualified?

      Politics – the pageant of personality disorders.

  17. Based on the attention he’s getting, and the recent polls, methinks Mr. Perry is no Fred Thompson . . . and I would say, at this ridiculously early stage in the game, he stands a better than 50/50 shot of landing the nomination. So far, he’s the only guy that unites the Christers and the fiscal cons.

  18. in order to drive away Eastern independents and rinos who remember, not too fondly, the last Texas governor who became president.

    Rinos LOVED that guy. He was one of them.

  19. Dammit, Sugarfree. You forgot, “I only hit you ’cause I luvs you, Baby.”

    1. “I only slept with your sister because you were on the rag.”

      1. Fuck. Why didn’t I think of that:)

  20. If Perry doesn’t take that money where does it go?

    “Somebody’s gonna waste that money; it might as well be us!”

    I heard that, like, non-stop, when the Montana Legislature was in session earlier this year. Along with, “It’s free money! Don’t you get it? FREE!”

    1. Let’s say you see a $20 bill lying next to the sidewalk.

      Do you say “Well, that’s not mine” and walk past?

      Or do you say “Fuck it. If I don’t take it, the next person will. Might as well be me.”

      1. The only way is if the $20 bill never got put there in the first place.

        TOP DOWN

        1. The whole point of this election is to make sure we elect someone that won’t put it there.

  21. OK, now that dude seems to be a tad bit full of himself. Wow.

  22. Let’s say you see a $20 bill lying next to the sidewalk.

    Except it’s more like some hippy comes up to you and says, “I’ll give you five bucks for gas, if you give me a ride to my sister’s house,” but when you get to his sister’s house, she jumps in the car and wants you to drive her to California.

  23. The problem with Perry is the same problem with Bush. While he is deeply committed and dedicated to social conservatism (bad from our standpoint), he has few economic convictions (also bad from our standpoint). He governs mostly from a fiscal conservative point of view in TX because he has a fiscally conservative state legislature and voter base. But what happens when he shifts to federal office? Probably the same thing as with Bush, a shift to big government policies because that is what Congress pushes for and he lacks convictions of his own.

    Romney is the opposite. He has real fiscal conservative convictions that are derived from his knowledge of economics and his business experience. He was the governor of an ultra liberal state so his record here isn’t perfect because he had to at times give his liberal voter base some of what they wanted. But overall, his fiscal conservative record is a good one and shows him pushing back against expansionist policies pushed by his liberal legislature (RomneyCare not withstanding, but that’s another discussion).

    When it comes to social conservativism, he parrots the party line to get elected (which meant more liberal positions when running in MA and reactionary possitions in the nationwide R primary), but he has no real personal convictions on social matters and won’t push them if he gets in office (good from our perspective).

    1. He has real fiscal conservative convictions that are derived from his knowledge of economics and his business experience.

      Explain MassCare.

      1. I would explain it in that MA is an ultra liberal state and the voters and legislature demanded some kind of universal health care. Romney negotiated one that at least relies on private insurance, private doctors and private hospitals, where many others were pushing for full state control. While I don’t like it, it is the least offensive universal access law that probably could have been negotiated under the circumstances. Had Romney decided not to do RomneyCare, a worse solution could possibly have been passed over his veto, or if not, a much worse solution could have been passed when he left office and was succeeded by a Democrat.

      2. Romney is far from perfect, but if it comes down to him vs. Obama he has my vote. If it comes down to Perry, Bachman, Santorum, Palin or any one else from the kooky religious right vs. Obama, I will vote for whoever the libertarian party nominates.

  24. Reason has been down on Perry it seems, and I can understand why.

    I was (and kind of am) quite excited about his rhetoric but his actions don’t seem to measure up entirely and I’m worried about another Bush big government crony regime.

    But who is the alternative? Obama? Certainly not. Bachmann? Don’t think she can win, although I’d vote for her. Romney? Uhh… notsogreat. Reason is full of a bunch of closeted bitter Pawlenty fans maybe? Doubtful. Huntsman perhaps? LOFL.

    Please don’t just come back with Paul. We all know he’s not going to actually win anything. Primary or general. Anyone can vote for whoever they want but I’m looking for the best viable alternative to Obama and Romney.

  25. Bruce Bartlett thinks Perry is an idiot.

    So, he (Perry) has that going for him, at least.

  26. One of the main reasons that the MSM is frantically mis-quoting Perry’s remarks, digging up any and all possible dirt from his past – there’s a thing going around in Austin soliciting anyone with a tale of how they had sex with him for instance – is because he’s the most likely candidate the GOP has to defeat Obama in the election. Plain and simple.

    No? Well, then try the converse: why did the GOP rank and file go for McCain? ‘Cause the NY Times and other media started playing up what a fine candidate he was, as the field tightened up and because other RINO’s climbed onto the bandwagon and were touting him as well.

    Remember that one of the intelligent ways to vote is: consult a well-meaning idiot and vote the opposite way. What is the MSM, if not ‘well-meaning idiots’? Okay, a proganda machine for progressives, but that only reinforces the utility of the saying; eh?

  27. I think we’re seeing daily confirmation of what the Bushies and others think about Perry: he’s a moron.

    He got Cs and Ds in college, he sounds like an idiot when he talks, maybe it’s not just a performance for the sake of the GOP electorate.

    A generation ago Republicans mostly just pretended to be gun-toting bible-thumping cretins. Now the party is almost all true believers, whether it’s hardcore christianists or people who read Ayn Rand in high school and thought they had reached the end of wisdom. Rather than panicking over the future of the GOP, people like Karl Rove (remember when they were the extremists?) should be reflecting on what they have spawned. Yes, when you encourage a massive propaganda machine for political ends, eventually people start believing it and running for office.

    1. “He got Cs and Ds in college, he sounds like an idiot when he talks, maybe it’s not just a performance for the sake of the GOP electorate.”

      So you’re saying he’s dumb? Thats the same thing they said about Reagan.

      1. Reagan was dumb, but this country has seriously lowered its standards since that time, I think. You’re now allowed to be scary dumb and win high office.

        1. You’re now allowed to be scary dumb and win high office.

          T, Don’t you go dissin affirmative action!

          1. Only racists support affirmnative action.

          2. Only racists support affirmative action.

          3. Have you ever listened to the affirmative action beneficiary try to speak extemporaneously, without the aid of his binky, the teleprompter?

            1. He usually does better without it. What affirmative action has he received, btw? None so great as being born with the last name “Bush” I’d propose.

              1. Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh………….

    2. What’s dumb is to think college grades are a direct indication of intelligence. Show me some evidence of Republicans being “bible-thumpers” in the past. After that, show me what you’re afraid of. Atheists and pagans killed millions in the last century. I don’t see any such bloody history from Christians or Rand followers (many of whom, I know, are atheists).

      The last refuge of someone who has no argument is simply to assert someone is stupid.

  28. Oh, and Ron Paul has a chance to win the nomination and the Presidency; small but increasing. Problem is whether he could organize a coalition of like-minded Congress-critters large enough to pass laws to accomplish a smaller government?? Very unlikely, unless I mis-read the temper of the Tea Party and libertarian wings of the GOP … and mis-read their voting strength as well. Lotsa folks, for sure; but enough? Dunno.

  29. So: “Please don’t just come back with Paul.”

    But: “Bachmann? …Pawlenty fans maybe? …Huntsman perhaps?”

    So Reason backing one of those candidates would be legitimate, but Paul’s “not going to actually win anything”. You know Pawlenty isn’t even in the race anymore, right? and Huntsman came in second in Iowa among Mormons.

    We get it. You’re voting for Perry. I’m still voting for Paul.

    1. Goddamn squirrels. Meant to reply to Entropy @ 12:30.

    2. Dude, did you only selectively read every 3rd word?

      You seem very eager to be hostile.

      The idea of Reason fans backing Pawlenty or Huntsman strikes me largely as a joke. Which is what it was.

      As for Paul, like I said – you can vote for whoever the hell you want. I never called backing ANY candidate “illegitimate”. It’s all legitimate. Like I said, I’m personally looking for a candidate that above all can beat Romney and Obama, because otherwise it doesn’t matter, and Paul is not it for me.

      As for Perry, I MAY be voting for him. I haven’t fully decided that yet. What’s the alternative?

      1. The alternative is not to prostitute yourself. Unless you live in a proportional electoral vote state, or a swing state, it doesn’t matter how you vote anyway, and you’ll know a month in advance from opinion polls if your state is close.

        You have to rid yourself of the false belief that 1) gov’t can be reformed if only the Right People are in charge, and that 2) the people can effect this through elections. If voting could change anything, it would be illegal.

        1. Who said I suscribed to either?

          Also, where have I prostituted myself?

          You’re right about 1 thing – I live in IL. The GOP nominee will be determined long before anybody asks me so I’m quite irrelevant really.

          But if internet discussions had to be important and relevant there wouldn’t be any internet discussions.

          1. What part of Illinois? I’m from there originally.

            1. Chicago.

              Well, Cook County. I’m in the southwest burbs.

              1. Ah, I was a down-stater, from around Marion. Everyone’s poor as fuck and relies on gov’t welfare in various forms, but feels better about it by assuring themselves they are morally superior to everyone north of Peoria.

  30. I’m against affirmative action, but I accepted a college scholarship that was solely for native Americans… Does that mean I’m actually for affirmative action?

    This is the same thing as the Medicaid and Stimulus issue you raised. Whats important is that he realizes the rights and powers that belong to the federal gov’t, as opposed to the ones that belong to the states.

    The two biggest issues facing us right now are the economy, and the tyrannical power-grabbing by DC. Perry is the best man with the best record on both counts. He’s not perfect, but he has what it takes to do the jobs that need doing.

    1. If you were agaist affirmative action, why did you accept the scholarship?

  31. His extremism does show up in one place. Dude does not like him some science when it contradicts his chosen position. Science suggests that maybe Genesis isn’t a strict play-by-play of the history of the universe? Appoint creationists and IDists to the school board who’ll pretend that there’s scientific debate on the subject. Forensic Science Commission looks like it might suggest that you executed a guy because a sloppy investigator mistook an accidental fire for arson? Suddenly fire three guys from the commission and replace them with prosecutors who explicitly work to destroy any possibly exculpatory evidence to protect convictions.

    Seriously, fuck Rick Perry with a rusty chainsaw.

    1. I don’t like Bachmann, and run her down all the time, but I don’t know of anything she’s ever said or done that’s 1/100th as bad as what Perry did to make sure no one could ever find out if the state of Texas executed an innocent man.

      Maybe that’s just because she’s never held an executive office. But it’s still true.

      I could easily forgive a governor for actually fucking up and executing an innocent man. Good faith mistakes happen. But if you’re the governor when the truth is starting to come out and you abuse your power to make sure the truth stays hidden? That’s basically Hollywood villain territory.

      1. I remember that story well. I wish Reason would cover it.

        1. That train left the station awhile back. Reason is firmly in the embrace of statism.

          1. Yeah, I was just noticing how pro-big-government most of these articles are…

            BTW, I know where you can get some great deals on tin foil….

        2. I’d like to read about it.

  32. I am strongly against the government stimulus. It got passed anyway. If my governor does not try to get every penny he can for his state that does not cost the state even more than the stimulus did in the first place, is failing in his responsibility to the public. This is a completely false argument against Perry.

  33. Rick Perry is a dangerous man for the GOP. His overblown rhetoric scares moderates while his actual governance scares any Libertarians and Conservatives who bother to pay attention.

    Perry is nearly indistinguishable from his predecessor in the governor’s mansion. Both Bush and Perry favor big government at the state level. Both Bush and Perry talk a cowboy game publically and play the insider’s crony game privately. Both Bush and Perry think “Free Market” economics means giving government money to big corporations while regulating small ones out of existance.

    Texas politicians want to be seen as cowboys. The truth is they are heavy-handed cattle barons who collude with their buddies to take their neighbor’s land while leaving the real work to everyone else.

  34. Wait, wait, wait… Ana Marie Cox is at the Guardian? What?

  35. Having lived under all 11 years of Rick Perry’s governorship, I’ve seen what a showman and salesman he is. He may talk big about his so-called conservative, anti-big government credentials, but he is every bit the professional politician who will fit right in at the Federal level. If Perry hadn’t chosen a political career he’d probably be either a car salesman or late-night infomercial host.

  36. Small point: EVERY state has the right to secede.

    [No mention of secession in constitution] + [tenth amendment] = [every state has right to secede]

    Of course, the claim that Texas has some special right to this is incorrect, but as a fervent supporter of unloading the Northeast, the Left Coast, and the Great Lakes regions, I feel compelled to point out the legality of secession at every opportunity.

    1. Secession is like chemotherapy. A treatment that’s worse than the disease.

  37. I cant’ but notice how easily distracted writers on this page are, I like “real rock” too, but what about hair boy Perry. I’ve been watching him closely as a Texan should and I have noticed that on his watch Texas has become something of a police state. His Libertarian bark is waaayyy bigger that his bite.

  38. Total BS.

    Some facts.

    Texas is in the bottom quintile of federal earmarks received per capita.

    Texas ranked second-to-last in stimulus per capita.

    Perry is the only Governor in America to reject various parts of the stimulus, Race to the Top funds, and so forth. He has opted out of “free” federal money with strings attached more than any Governor in American history.

    Texas is a donor state, according to the Tax Foundation and The Economist. Texas sends more in taxes than it gets back in benefits.

    Reason is a joke.

  39. Discussing secession is not extremism. America seceded from England, did it not? If you want to see what extremism looks like, go watch videos of the rioters in England or better yet, look at some of the people Obama appointed like Van Jones and that woman who admires Chairman Mao. Go listen to Obama and his minions accusing the Tea Partiers of being financial terrorists. Jesus F. Christ, reason, all you do is bitch about Republicans. Yesterday I read your last magazine edition and there was even and article suggesting Obama loves America and his family benefited from the CIA, you even said Dinesh D’Souza was crazy for writing “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”

    Tell me, if Obama’s mother loved the CIA why did she divorced her husband after he became pro-American and a supporter of a military-backed dictatorship? She liked Indonesia fine when the tyrant was a communist, but when the tyrant was overthrown and replaced by a pro-American capitalist, she left her husband.

    Maybe what Reason needs to do is expose Obama’s un-American, anti-colonialist agenda and start writing about Democrats with the same venon they write about Republicans.

    And by the way, just because Obama is black doesn’t mean you can’t criticize him. Herman Cain is black, you’re not afraid of beating him up.

  40. Perry’s a hornswagglin’, sidewindin’, Johnny-come-lately carpetbaggin’ saddle sore-on-a-horsefly, all fixin’ ta Fandango to the White House with nary a hambone in his holster, but uh um….Sorry, I ran out of Texasisms and can no longer communicate. Further transmissions will cease, effective immediately.

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