A President Who Will Just Get Out of the Way

By: September 08, 2011

After a century of Presidential extra-constitutional activism that’s reached a new peak under the administration of Barack Obama, the nation is signalling it’s time for a change. The will of the country, as evidenced by the calls for Constitutionally Limited Government coming from those of us in the Tea Party movement, is to elect a President who, in domestic matters, will just get out of the way. On matters of foreign policy, we are looking for a President who will defend our sovereignty, as specified in the Constitution.

How does the current crop of Republican aspirants stack up ?

Ron Paul, of course, meets the standard of getting out of the way on domestic matters, but his isolationist views don’t square with the Constitutional requirement to defend our sovereignty.

Rick Santorum’s social agenda calls for a more intrusive federal state in those areas.

To my mind, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and John Huntsman all advocate varying degrees of federal intrusiveness in the domestic arena–nowhere near Obama’s level, mind you, but still beyond this tea partier’s comfort zone. In addition, Huntsman sounds a bit isolationist.

That leaves Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann.

Both Cain and Bachmann advocate policies that are quite consistent with non-interference in domestic policies and defense of our sovereignty in the international arena.

The mainstream media is reporting that the Tea Party movement is enamored of Rick Perry, but he has weaknesses in two areas. His 2007 position advocating mandatory Gardasil inoculations of Texas school girls is not consistent with the “get out of the way” sentiments on domestic policy, and his apparent support for open borders fails the test of defending our sovereignty in the international arena.

Despite these two significant weaknesses, Perry has one critical advantage over both Cain and Bachmann. The office he’s occupied for over a decade–Governor of Texas–is constrained by limits imposed on executive authority in the Texas State Constitution.

Whether it’s those constitutional constraints or Perry’s natural philosophy that has led him to largely stay out of the way on domestic economic policies in Texas, the results have been the same. Non-interference in business by the executive branch of state government there has helped give Texas the best record of job creation in the country by far over the past decade.

Perry’s rise in the polls may be evidence of that old maxim: It’s better to be lucky than good. Perhaps Perry is both. We’ll be watching this closely as the Presidential campaign continues over the next year. All this is to suggest, once more, as has been previously suggested in this space, that a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that offers a guide to the 2012 Presidential contenders would be most welcome.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new  e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, was published earlier this week. His new book, Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

8 Responses to A President Who Will Just Get Out of the Way

  1. Dana H. says:

    We need more than a President who just personally gets out of the way. We need one who agitates for the federal bureaucracies — EPA, FCC, NLRB — to also get out of the way. The President also needs to push for repeal of countless laws that force businessment to waste time complying with mandates rather than growing their businesses. He could start by getting Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, and Obamacare repealed.

  2. Don says:


    Now you know exactly how I felt when looking for a publisher.

  3. Glenn says:

    While I understand the hesitation that we limited government advocates have regarding Perry’s policy of Gardasil innoculations, we should also determine whether or not Perry understands that any authority to implement such a policy as governor of Texas does not have an equivalent in the presidency.

    To the extent that he understands this – and his statement about making the federal government as irrelevant in our lives as possible suggests that he might – then the Gardasil issue might well be considered somewhat moot, or at least reduced.

    If he has the right mindset about federalism, then I will worry about any tendency Perry has toward intrusiveness in my life when I move to Texas, or he to Connecticut.


  4. galloglass says:

    As a conservative and a public health professional, I’d like to share my thoughts on the Gardasil issue. Ensuring the common good, in terms of public health, implicitly involves a measure of paternalism or coercion, e.g.,in order to attend school, children must first be immunized against polio, mumps, measles, etc. For most communicable diseases, the percentage of immunization in a community must be at least 80%, what is known as “herd immunity” which protects those not immunized. I believe, and may be mistaken, that the main objection is that HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. I don’t see the same indignation regarding polio or meningitis vaccines, or calls for “opt-ins”. I may personally be opposed to pre-marital sex, but as a health matter I would advise all parents to get their children immunized, both boys and girls, as there is now a male vaccine. Parents can say “my daughter would never have pre-marital sex,” but we know the reality is different. As I said before, I generally want a government that is as non-intrusive as possible, but when deadly communicable diseases are involved, and can be prevented with a simple injection, then I think some level of coercion is warranted.

  5. Jason says:

    “Ron Paul, of course, meets the standard of getting out of the way on domestic matters, but his isolationist views don’t square with the Constitutional requirement to defend our sovereignty.”

    Ron Paul is not isolationist, but non-interventionist. This squares perfectly with the Founding Fathers, who wrote the Constitution. Also, defending our sovereignty doesn’t require violating that of so many others.

  6. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » MICHAEL LEAHY LOOKS FOR a President Who Will Just Get Out Of The Way….

  7. Gorgo says:

    Regarding Rick Perry: He had me at “inconsequential.”

  8. Divinryan says:

    A president who will get out the way? How about GARY JOHNSON – common sense, business approach to Constitutionally limited, fiscally responsible government. Dude walked the talk as a two-term governor of New Mexico. Check him out. Also, check out Daniel Larison’s blog Eunomia for why characterizing Huntsman (or Ron Paul and Gary Johnson) as isolationist is incorrect.

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