At the Fox News-Google Republican debate in Orlando last week, Rick Perry was—as usual—in the cross-hairs. Rick Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, had one of the most memorable lines of the evening. Said Santorum, incredulously, “[Rick Perry] gave a speech in 2001 where he talked about bi-national health insurance between Mexico and Texas! I mean, I don’t even think Barack Obama would be for bi-national health insurance! So, I think he’s very weak on this issue of American sovereignty.” The implication being that Perry is some kind of one-world government socialist.
Bi-national health insurance is a free-market solution
Except that bi-national health insurance, as Perry once proposed it, is precisely the kind of free-market health policy solution we need more of, not less. Here is the relevant excerpt from the speech that Gov. Perry gave in August 2001 at a U.S.-Mexico Border Summit with regional governors and legislators from both countries (emphasis added):
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a fifth-generation Texan, is a “gun guy” as well as an extremely effective and popular politician. The Republican governor is a USAF veteran, and a strong believer in gun rights and the Second Amendment. As the Chief Executive of the nation’s second biggest state, Perry has demonstrated that fiscal conservatism works — he said “no” to increased taxes, cut government spending and produced a balanced budget with a $9 Billion “Rainy Day Fund”. He did this while California accumulated a $20 Billion deficit. Maybe California needs fewer liberal legislators and more tough conservatives like Perry.
During his tenure, Governor Perry lead Texas out of a $10 billion budget deficit in 2003 by cutting government spending. He is the only Texas governor since World War II to sign budgets that reduced general revenue spending. In addition, he used his line item veto to scrub more than $3 billion in state spending, while encouraging investments in the economy, education and security.
Gov. Perry Visits LaRue Tactical
Recently Gov. Perry visited the Larue Tactical Center in Leander, Texas. The Governor tried a variety of firearms, including a .223 AR carbine (photo above) and the LaRue-built OBR (Optimized Battle Rifle) chambered in 7.62×51. Below, Governor Perry shows good form shooting the OBR from prone with bipod. We wonder how many other Governors have recently shot sub-MOA with a suppressed semi-automatic rifle?
After graduating from Texas A&M University, Rick Perry was commissioned in the United States Air Force, completed pilot training and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe until 1977. He left the Air Force with the rank of captain, returned to Texas and went into business farming cotton with his father.
Elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998, Perry assumed office as governor in December 2000 when Governor George W. Bush resigned before his inauguration as President of the United States. Perry was elected to two full terms in 2002 and 2006 and plans to run for a third term in 2010.
The GOP’s Fiery Front-Runner on His Rise, Record and Rhetoric
The hard-charging governor commands a Texas-sized lead in the polls. In an interview with TIME’s Richard Stengel and Mark Halperin, Perry defends his controversial résumé and explains why Americans aren't looking for "political correctness" in 2012. Lightly edited excerpts follow.
What does your rise in the polls say about the Republican party?
I think Republican primary voters are not really a lot different than Americans in general. They are very concerned about where this country finds itself economically. They know that we are off-track, that for two-plus years we’ve had an Administration that has been doing an experiment with the American economy and it’s failed miserably, and I think people are fearful. And they’re looking for someone whom they can be excited about.
Now that you’ve been in the race for while, do you feel pressure to temper some of your rhetoric, like calling the Obama administration socialist?
No, I still believe they are socialist. Their policies prove that almost daily. Look, when all the answers emanate from Washington D.C., one size fits all, whether it’s education policy or whether it’s healthcare policy, that is, on its face, socialism.
But you know there’s concern that you use controversial rhetoric, like calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”
There may be someone who is an established Republican who circulates in the cocktail circuit that would find some of my rhetoric to be inflammatory or what have you, but I’m really talking to the American citizen out there. I think American citizens are just tired of this political correctness and politicians who are tiptoeing around important issues. They want a decisive leader. I’m comfortable that the rhetoric I have used was both descriptive and spot on. Calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme has been used for years. I don’t think people should be surprised that terminology would be used.
No one gets confused about the point I was making, that we have a system that is now broken. We need to make sure that those on Social Security today — and those approaching it — know without a doubt it will be in place. It will not go away. We’ll have a transitional period for those in mid-career as they’re planning for their retirement. And our young people should be given some options. I don’t know what all of those options need to be yet, but they know instinctively that the program that is there today is not going to be there for them unless there are changes made.