However, with rumors that Rick Perry is thinking about entering the race, I think it behooves us here to contemplate what it means for Republicans to nominate another Texas governor. More importantly, Rick Perry represents a test for the conservative movement. A while back, David Frum speculated that the Republican Party is the party of effect. In other words, it matters more to Republican voters that a given candidate "fights" for conservative values than what his actual policies are. Chris Christie is the classic example.
What about Rick Perry? Most people may not be aware of this, but on the very day that Rick Perry started a petition hammering "government bailouts," he accepted a large amount of money from, er, the government.
Perry also likes to trumpet that his state balanced its budget in 2009, while keeping billions in its rainy day fund.
But he couldn't have done that without a lot of help from ... guess where? Washington.
Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.
"Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years," said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas.Do Tea Party activists care that Perry is a big hypocrite? Probably not. As long as he gives off the right effect and stops that liberal Mitt Romney, then Rick Perry could literally call for the secession of Texas and get away with it. Actually, come to think of it, they probably agree with him on that as well.
Even as Perry requested the Recovery Act money, he railed against it. On the very same day he asked for the funds, he set up a petition titled "No Government Bailouts."
"Join our fight and add your voice to a growing list of several thousand Americans who are fed up with this irresponsible spending that threatens our future," Perry wrote on his blog on Feb. 18, 2009.