The Return of States’ Rights- Boston Review
Rick Perry rose from dirt-poor origins on the desolate plains of northern West Texas to become the state’s longest-serving governor. Now the guy from tiny Paint Creek who won’t take it any more—an angry man tired of seeing America run down and ordinary Americans demoralized by big government—wants to be president.
Perry has a well-deserved reputation for keen political instincts. Having entered politics as a Democrat, he followed former Governor John Connally and other conservative Texas Democrats into the Republican Party in 1989. He debuted as a border security hawk during his 2006 reelection bid and broadcast his libertarian and states’ rights ideology in March 2009, just as the Tea Party backlash was showing its first signs of life. And he brandished his evangelical Christian faith at a conference of the like-minded only weeks before announcing his presidential candidacy. These well-timed shifts of focus have served Perry well: he has never lost an election.
But Perry does not simply keep his ear to the ground. He claims he is “conservative to the core,” and we can readily believe him.
He is socially conservative, committed to Christian moral precepts he says animated the nation’s founders. A proud Eagle Scout, Perry also defends the Boy Scouts of America for their policy of prohibiting atheists and gays, and he believes in intelligent design, not evolution.
Perry is also a conservative on border and national security issues. As governor, he has brought together border sheriffs, state police, and the Texas Rangers in a campaign to “protect Texans” from the Mexican drug gangs allegedly crossing into Texas and bringing drug war-related violence with them. He has invested several hundred million dollars along the Rio Grande through initiatives such as Operation Border Star, which, according to Perry’s Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw, aims to “leave no exploitable seam” in the border.
Perry’s militaristic approach to security extends well beyond national boundaries. U.S. global leadership requires a strategy of “peace through strength,” he says. To preserve our God-given “American exceptionalism,” he envisions an “America that has the strongest national defense in the world, by an insurmountable order of magnitude.”