Daniel Halper reports: “In a brief speech [Wednesday] morning at the Western Republican Conference, Texas governor Rick Perry announced that in six days he would reveal an ‘economic pro-growth package that will create growth’ and encourage investment in America. The plan will involve major tax reform, entitlement reform, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, an abolishment of earmarks, and a recommitment to energy exploration in the United States.” Well, that sounds promising.
The Romney camp seemed unimpressed. An aide noted that Romney had already rolled out a foreign policy agenda and an extensive jobs program that included tax cuts and pro-growth initiatives. The aide said that “it has always been the plan for Governor Romney” to keep rolling out policy initiatives.
Some of what Perry is referring to has already been implemented or suggested by other candidates (e.g. earmark reform, a balanced budget amendment), but if he is serious about a pro-growth tax plan and real entitlement reform, along the lines sketched out by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), he could make some headway. If Perry gets bold on entitlement reform, I don’t see how Romney can afford to remain essentially mum on that topic.
Perry will have to roll out, explain and defend his plans. Unfortunately for Perry, it’s not clear that he still commands the same attention (his energy plan announcement was virtually ignored).
Perry’s problem is twofold. He’s not been an effective messenger, as the Romney camp was only too happy to point out in a blistering ad. And he hasn’t had a message. A robust policy agenda may solve the latter problem, but Perry still will have to figure out how to reconnect with hard-core conservative voters he lost to other candidates.