Rick Perry announced his entrance into the 2012 Republican field in South Carolina, attacking President Obama’s economic policies and pledging to run for president on the anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda that has marked his time as Texas’ longest-serving governor.
Perry won an unprecedented third four-year term in 2010, but it isn’t his record-setting reign that has him sounding like the leader of his own republic. Perry, a southern Democrat-turned-Republican, ignited a furor when he told an anti-tax “Tea Party” crowd in April 2009 that the federal government “has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens and its interference with the affairs of our state” and suggested that Texas may consider seceding from the rest of the country.
“We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it,” Perry said from the steps of Austin City Hall. “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
Texas Democrats lambasted Perry’s secessionist rhetoric as reckless and “anti-American.” But Perry’s remarks were pitch-perfect for the disaffected conservatives that comprise the tea party movement of 2010. They helped boost him to a 20-point plus win over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) in March 2010 GOP primary and sparked talk of a 2012 presidential candidacy, which he denied.
But 2010’s general election brought Perry a surprisingly strong Democratic challenger in the form of Houston Mayor Bill White (D). White kept Perry’s lead in the single digits throughout most of the 2010 governor’s race, though Perry ultimately prevailed by 14 percentage points.
ON THE ISSUES
Rick Perry on Education
Perry has said he would eliminate the Education Department, and although he has supported aspects of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, he has said its policies should come from state and local levels. He has defended school prayer and religion-based teachings in schools.
Rick Perry on the Economy
Has made job creation, and the economy, centerpiece of his campaign. Boasts of Texas’ strong economic engine, pointing to the lack of income tax and its the fact that its created somewhere between 30 percent and half of the net new jobs in the country in the past two years, depending on who is counting.
Rick Perry on Energy
Has stated that he does not believe that global warming is caused by manmade factors, and has said that science around it has been ‘manipulated’ to support a left-wing political agenda. Opposed to cap-and-trade programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saying they are harmful to the U.S. economy.
Rick Perry on Foreign Policy
Perry has said that the United States should bring its troops home safely and soon while still maintaining a presence to “build the infrastructure that we need, whether it’s schools or otherwise.” Perry said he would cut off aid to Pakistan until the nation shows it can be a trusted ally in the war.
Rick Perry on Health Care
An ardent foe of Obama’s health-care reform, went to court to block its implementation in Texas (which has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country). But says best way to insure more people is to create jobs, allowing for more employer-based insurance programs. Wants to repeal Obama’s health overhaul completely.
Rick Perry on Immigration
Perry has touted his experience as a border governor, but his views on immigration are one of his greatest vulnerabilities among GOP voters. He has defended a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition, and he opposes constructing a fence along the the U.S.-Mexican border.
Rick Perry on Medicare Reform
One of first major controversies as a candidate was contention that Social Security is a ‘Ponzi scheme’ and ‘monstruous lie’ to young children because it won’t be solvent for future generations. Instead, wants workers to choose whether to participate in federal pension plan, arguing that return on private on pensions is higher.
Rick Perry on Social Issues
A big 10th amendment supporter, has said that if Roe v. Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court, it the issue would be in states’ hands. as would be the issue of same-sex marriage (he said New York’s June 2011 legalization of gay marriage was ‘fine by me’ and endorsed former Big Apple Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has liberal social views, for president in 2008). Irked some conservatives by ordering the 2007 vaccination of girls for cervical cancer.
Rick Perry on Social Security
The Texas governor has proposed barring the government from raiding the program’s funds, raising the retirement age gradually for all workers except those in especially labor-intensive fields, and allowing younger generations to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in private accounts.
Rick Perry on Tax Code
In October, Perry signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to oppose and veto all tax increases. He proposes allowing taxpayers to choose between the current tax system or a 20 percent flat tax with mortgage exemptions for families that make less than $500,000 per year.