Readers of The Prairie Editor by now have figured out that Governor Rick Perry is not high on my list of favorites for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. On the other hand, I do like to give credit when it is genuinely due, and I want to applaud the Texas governor for a press release today (presumably to be followed up at the next presidential debate) in which he exposes the hypocrisy of Congressman Ron Paul, a perennial fringe candidate for president who purports to be a “pure” libertarian and a straight-shooter.
Mr. Paul has been claiming the mantle of Ronald Reagan lately, extolling the former president and Republican icon, and obviously seeking the support of those who admire Mr. Reagan and his presidency. In fact, as Mr. Perry points out by producing the actual letter of resignation by Mr Paul from the Republican Party in 1987, stating that Ronald Reagan’s policy and “failures” were the reason in part for Mr. Paul to resign from the party then. (Mr. Paul subsequently ran for president as a member of the Libertarian Party before returning to the GOP so that he could hold a seat in Congress from Texas.)
For someone who receives relatively high numbers in the early polling across the country, not to mention coming in a close second in the Iowa Straw Poll, Mr. Paul advances some strange foreign policy views which are are not likely shared by many authentic conservatives and patriotic Americans. In the past, voters soon realized how kooky these views are, and he has faded fast. These views include retreating from supporting our historically strongest allies, and lowering our national defense shield by withdrawing our troops and our influence around the world.
There are many admirable views that libertarians hold, especially about the growing influence of government in the private sphere, both socially and economically. The Republican Party in the past 20 years has often been influenced by these libertarian ideas.
Libertarians are a segment of GOP politics, and I have noted that most of the major Republican candidates for president have been reluctant to take Mr. Paul on. To his credit, Mr. Perry shows no such reluctance, even though Mr. Paul is a Republican congressman from his own state.
A few more genuinely gutsy moves like this (and fewer bonehead off-the-cuff remarks as he has made recently), and everyone will have to take the governor of Texas more seriously.
I still think the nomination is Mr. Romney’s to lose, but fair is fair, and credit when it’s due should be duly noted.