Opinion

THE CONVERSATION Rick Perry: A Texas miracle?

Democrats and Republicans hash it out over the GOP’s frontrunner

As Rick Perry basks in his front-runner status, the national conversation is turning to the topic of Texas. Assuming Perry does indeed secure the Republican nomination, here is the discussion you can expect to hear up until election day:

REPUBLICAN: The Texas economy is great.

DEMOCRAT: No, it isn—

R: The Texas economy is great, and by implication, Rick Perry is a good executive.

D: Texas’ economy is not great. The state’s unemployment rate is only one point below the national average; at any given point, somewhere between 20 and 30 states are doing better

R: True, but misleading. The unemployment rate is only high because people have come far and wide to get their piece of Texas’s prosperity. During Rick Perry’s tenure, Texas has created more jobs than the other 49 states combined. It isn’t even close — in the past 10 years, Texas added 850,000 jobs, while the rest of the nation lost nearly 3.2 million.

D: They’re not good jobs though — a lot of them are minimum wage.

R: Maybe a sixth of the jobs created were minimum wage, but why do we even care? Go tell a refugee from California or Michigan that no job is better than $7.25 per hour.

D: And a lot of the jobs are government jobs, created by the stimulus. If anything, Obama should be taking credit for the Texas economy.

R: Around a third of the jobs created were government jobs, and maybe half of those were created in the past couple years, but 1) Texas didn’t get any special treatment from Obama’s stimulus, 2) even if you stripped out the government jobs entirely, Texas would still be beating the pants off of the other 49, and 3) federal taxes have destroyed more jobs in Texas than government spending has created — just because Rick Perry wasn’t boneheaded enough to reject the stimulus that his citizens had already footed the bill for doesn’t make him a hypocrite.

D: Even so, the Texas economy is only doing well because it’s an oil-producing state.

R: Sounds like someone’s bitter that their “green jobs” experiment failed.

D: What I’m saying is, Texas isn’t laying down any of the framework to create jobs; ipso facto, the job growth is luck. For example, their educational system is terrible.

R: It isn’t terrible; it’s at the national average. And it’s only average because states with high immigrant populations tend to do poorly on standardized reading exams.

D: It’s not just education — the crime trends there are worse than those in the rest of the nation too.

R: Texas took in a lot of Katrina victims. It wasn’t the only state to experience a rise in crime as a result.

D: So you’re blaming Texas’ education record on immigrants, and their crime on displaced African-Americans. At any point do you stop and ask yourself, “Am I racist?”

R: It’s not racism, it’s statistics.

D: Moving on. Even if Texas were great, there’s nothing to prove that Rick Perry is the cause.

R: So what?

D: What do you mean, “So what?” If Texas succeeds because it’s Texas, then Rick Perry isn’t some brilliant policy maker, he’s just a bible-thumping, gun-toting, crony-capitalist with a lust for power and a—

R: Running against a smooth-talking political light-weight who came of age in the dirty machine politics of Chicago? We can name-call with the best of them, if that’s your idea of politics. No, what I’m saying is this: perhaps the Texas Miracle is due to Texas’s naturally conservative system of government, maybe it’s due to Rick Perry’s exemplary leadership. Who cares? Whether it’s the right ideology or the right management, Perry’s got it and Obama hasn’t.

D: First off, the “Texas Miracle” isn’t a miracle. Secondly, even if it were, it’s due to neither the state’s system of government nor its leadership; it’s because the state has oil and the price of oil is through the roof. And finally, even if the state’s success were due to ideology or leadership, there’s still no guarantee that it would scale up to the national level.

R: Maybe it’s as you say, and government has nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s all just the price of oil. But then how do you explain Arizona and Utah, the runners-up in the category of most jobs created? They don’t have oil. What they do have are right-to-work laws that prevent labor cartels from strangling job creators, low taxes that encourage a man to work by letting him keep what he has earned, and a light regulatory touch that does the necessary tasks of government without stifling entrepreneurship. These are all policies that scale to a national level.

D: I think I’ve heard this schtick before. I recall another Texas governor who, in a shorter time than Perry, created over a million jobs for his state. Then, he went to Washington full of ideas about low taxes and deregulation, and got eight years to make his nation as prosperous as his home state. I forget — how did he do?

R: Is this the only campaign strategy you know? Pretend your opponent is George W. Bush and live out your political revenge fantasies? Your obsession with the man is sick.

D: Our obsession? You’ve nominated a yall’n, drawl’n, C+ student cum military pilot cum Texas governor after he told you he didn’t believe in evolution or global warming. Somewhere out there, Jeb Bush is pistol-whipping the political advisor that told him the nation wasn’t ready for a third Bush, and who can blame him? As it turns out, the Republican party isn’t just ready for a third Bush — it’s the only candidate they’ll accept.

R: Even a third Bush would be better than Obama.

D: I guess we’ll find out on election day, won’t we?

6 Comments
1
maryosborne over 6 years ago

New Poll Finds Rick Perry Leading the Way for 2012 Election http://bit.ly/ozPwB6

2
Arthur Andreesen over 6 years ago

Peery will be the next president Obama is toast.

TX State senator's Elliot Shapleigh from El Paso has some illuminating publications on the damage that Perry has presided over while being governor:

http://shapleigh.org/

'Texas On The Brink' is of particular interest, see left hand menu bar.

3
Texas Gal over 6 years ago

As a Texan, I have a little insight on Rick Perry. He isn't perfect but who is? His strengths are our economy, no state income tax and a surplus/balanced budget in the state. He has for sure had a couple of blunders in his past 11 years as governor. His weak stance on immigration, HPV vaccine mandate and the Trans-Texas corridor. However, he was met with great opposition on each issue and as a true leader should, he carefully considered his options and met the people where they were at! He will make an outstanding President as he truly loves this country and doesn't apologize for its shortcomings. We are a blessed nation and our current President doesn't share this sentiment. I am in favor of anyoe who campaigns on the greatness of our country not putting it down!

4
theSshow over 6 years ago

When Texas "created" jobs, weren't they mostly just transfers from other States? Meaning Company A was just moving jobs from one state to another? It was just job movement?

5
Anonymous over 6 years ago

This is the type of weak, argument-by-proxy article that Yost should be ashamed of. He avoids expressing his true opinions by hiding behind his strawmen. The truth is, Yost actually prefers Obama's policies to Perry's, but can't bring himself to say it, because as much as he professes otherwise, he's a red-blooded partisan conservative at heart.

Notice how his fake Republican totally ignores any legitimate criticism of Perry. And let's go back to the "name-calling" segment:

Obama is:

- "smooth-talking": This is true and not an insult.

- "political light-weight": He's been President for almost 3 years now. Is he still a light-weight? (Whatever that means.)

- "who came of age in the dirty machine politics of Chicago?": So, he's guilty by association? Because there's no evidence that he was a dirty politician.

Let's compare this to Perry:

- "bible-thumping": Doesn't believe in evolution or global warming. Thinks the solutions to droughts are prayer. No self-respecting economist would take this guy seriously, but this allows Yost to gloss right over this very legitimate criticism.

- "gun-toting": Also a nice way of glossing over his clear thirst for violence - being proud of his executions is shameful.

- "crony-capitalist with a lust for power and a": True, but at least here you could legitimately argue that everyone does it...it'd be nice to see Yost tackle this problem, for once.

Yost could do better. He could chide his party for succumbing to the base ignorance and hatred of the Tea Party, ask for more, and vow that he'd support Obama unless the Republicans come up with a serious nominee. But he won't, because more than being a journalist, or an economist, or a scientist, Yost is a partisan Republican at heart, and that overrides any objectivity he might pretend to exhibit.

6
Keith Yost over 6 years ago

To 5) If you can't find me praising Obama, you aren't looking hard enough. I'm a moderate Republican, and there's plenty that Obama has done that I support. Here is just a partial list of Obama's policy initiatives on which I have written and given praise: The bailout, Keynesian stimulus, Dodd-Frank financial reform, Obamacare, Foreign policy, Space policy.

I still have complaints of course, but on each of these things, I'm 90 there with the president, and say so. I also lean to the left on a lot of other issues: I'm pro gay marriage, pro choice, pro immigration, etc.

Of course, I'm conservative in many areas, and when I write articles on those issues, I don't pull my punches. So I understand how I can come off as a partisan. But I'm just writing it as I see it-- if you think Obama is getting harsher treatment than, say, Herman Cain, that's because Obama is the commander-in-chief and Herman Cain is an articulate, but secod-tier, candidate for the presidency. Both men can say things, but only one can actually enact policies; I might give Cain the benefit of the doubt when he proposes something budget-busting like the 9-9-9 plan, but it isn't because Cain is a Republican or even that I'm partial to the fairness preferences that underlie the plan, it's because Cain is in campaign mode, and until he has a serious chance of getting elected, his rhetoric is just that, rhetoric. Obama, meanwhile, can't hide behind a "I said it for the votes" defense-- that's just not an option for a man in his position. He doesn't have the privilege of speaking privately to his base. That's why he catches more flak than some random tea partier.

It's true that I write some articles facetiously. In particular, when I know there is going to be a counterpoint to balance my argument, I feel comfortable enough to push things further than the evidence might warrant: such is the case for "MIT is no rest, no mercy, no matter what" or "It's good to be king." But rarely do I pretend to be more moderate than I actually am. I wrote this article this way because I'm genuinely unsure of how much credit Perry deserves, much in the same way I wrote a point-counterpoint-countercounterpoint on Guantanamo Bay because I'm undecided on detention policy. Whenever you see me take on some oddball format for my article, it's almost always because of some underlying indecision on the right answer, not because I'm conspiring against your point of view.