News tagged as 'Rick Perry'

A President Who Will Just Get Out of the Way


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 .

Did the Texas Light Bulb Two Step Bring Fred Upton to the Dance?


The encouraging headlines this weekend that the Texas Legislature had passed and Governor Rick Perry had signed into law a bill that allows Texans to make and sell within the State of Texas the 100 watt incandescent light bulbs banned throughout the entire country by the federal government, effective January 1, 2012, quickly gave way to a realistic assessment of the actual impact of the bill.

Don’t count on the passage of this bill resulting in the manufacture or sale of a single banned incandescent light bulb anywhere in Texas.

The devil, as they say, is in the details, and here are the devilish details of the law:

It simply authorizes the Attorney General of Texas, upon receiving notice that a resident of Texas intends to manufacture the banned incandescent light bulbs in Texas for sale exclusively in Texas, to request a ruling from a Federal District Court Judge based in Texas on the constitutionality of the proposed manufacturing plan. Only upon receiving a green light from the Federal District Court Judge will the Attorney General allow the proposed manufacturing project to proceed.

The catch is that unless all of the components of the incandescent light bulbs are native to Texas, the Federal District Court Judge will almost certainly advise the Texas Attorney General that the Texas Manufacturing project is unconstitutional, so long as the federal statute that authorized the ban– the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act — remains in effect.

The glass exterior shells of almost every incandescent light bulb now manufactured in the United States is produced on a ribbon machine operated at the Slyvania-Osram plant in St. Mary’s Pennsylvania. When those components are shipped from Pennsylvania to Texas, the project is no longer an “intra-state” venture immune from federal authority. Likewise, the tungsten filament that provide the heat and light in the bulb when an electric current is run through it begins its economic life as wolframite ore. Last I checked, there are no wolframite ore mining operations in Texas.

Fox News prematurely claimed this law amounted to the entire State of Texas snubbing their noses at Washington, D.C. Mind you, most residents of the State of Texas are entirely capable of and willing to snub the nanny staters in Washington who dreamed up this ridiculous ban of inexpensive and safe incandescent light bulbs, but this law won’t accomplish that worthy purpose. I would be delighted to be proven wrong, but wanting an outcome doesn’t make it so.

As I outline in my new Voices of the Tea Party e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, which will be released by Broadside Books next month, the only practical way to defeat this ridiculous ban and let Americans exercise their economic freedom to buy any light bulb they please is to put political pressure on the reluctant Republicans and defiant Democrats who refuse to repeal the ban.

Last week, I mentioned in this space that Congressman Fred Upton, the Republican who introduced the amendment to the 2007 that banned incandescents, now the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, isn’t rushing to honor his promise to hold hearings on repealing the ban “early this Congress.”

In breaking news this afternoon, there’s some indication that the political heat behind the new Texas law has reached all the way to Washington.  HotAir reports the following conversation at a bloggers briefing:

Heritage web editor Amy Payne directed a pointed question to Congressman  [Upton]. “Will we be able to keep our light bulbs?” she asked.

Upton’s answer was cryptic, but encouraging. “That is an issue that is out there,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with [Rep.] Joe Barton [R-Tex.] and [Rep.] Mike Burgess [R-Tex.] and we’re very close to seeing an agreement merge and happen, so stay tuned. … A couple different things that we’re looking at. Just stay tuned in the next couple days, actually. Maybe a little breaking news — well, let’s just say ‘soon.’ We’ve had some good conversations and we’ll see where we are later in the week.”

This is all very encouraging, but as with the Texas law, the devil is in the details. We can promise Congressman Upton this: we will stay tuned.

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, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

Many Texas Tea Partiers Aren’t Thrilled With a Rick Perry Presidential Campaign


Since the beginning of the Tea Party movement, I’ve frequently pointed out that much of the energy of the movement emanates from Texas. In many respects, the Lone Star State stands as the last bastion of American individualism. The steadfast commitment of its straight talking, no nonsense, “Don’t Mess With Texas” citizens gives encouragement and inspiration to the rest of us around the country.

For this reason, when my tea party friends in Texas talk to me about anything, I listen with great interest.

Here’s what many of them are  telling me about the possibility of their Governor, Rick Perry, running for the Republican Presidential nomination:

Tea partiers in Texas aren’t crying out for Rick Perry to run for President, and they definitely aren’t referring to him as a tea party candidate.  Instead, it’s a very savvy and experienced Rick Perry media team that is promoting the “meme” of Perry as a tea party Governor.

Elected officials who want to have a relationship with the Tea Party movement and want to be known as tea party candidates or elected officials seek out tea party people.  They meet with them and ask their opinion.  Perry, my friends say,  shuts out all tea party voices.  He doesn’t meet with tea partiers or talk with them to seek either their guidance or their support.

Rick Perry also has a track record of more than ten  years as Governor to define himself, and many Texas tea partiers find him lacking in areas that matter most to them.

Here are some specific examples they cite:

Immigration reform – Governor Perry said that Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 was  “not right for Texas.”  His positions on sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for illegals have also been problematic.

Fiscal responsibility – Governor Perry recently “gave away” the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” without even putting up a fight.

Education – The State Board of Education has long been a target for liberals because of the nationwide influence of the textbook selections made by the State of Texas.   Governor Perry refused to join the recent textbook fight, in which the proponents of returning to a more traditional constitutionalist view of America opposed those who favor a more revisionist left-wing view.

Practical Politics – Since the explosion of the Tea Party movement in Texas, there has been an all-out war within the Texas GOP between the liberals and the conservatives.  Perry has had every opportunity to step in and side with the conservatives, but he refuses to take a stand. In Texas today, the most powerful political person in the state is House Speaker Joe Straus, a man who follows a very left wing liberal agenda. Governor Perry has done nothing to stop that agenda.

These insights from my tea party friends throughout Texas suggest, once again, the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that rates the various Presidential candidates on the degree to which they support the core values of the Tea Party movement.

I close by noting it’s entirely possible that my network of tea party friends in Texas is far from comprehensive, and I welcome any comments or guest contributions from Texas tea party supporters who have a different view of Governor Perry.

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, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .