imageThe race to define a vision for a new administration is on. Texas Governor Rick Perry at CPAC staked his vision in the Constitution and the people. His speech serves as a challenge to other potential candidates to stake out their positions with more specificity.

Governor Perry boldly quoted the 10th Amendment that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” He returned to that theme again and again.

The Governor said that the federal government has willfully neglected its responsibilities. The Founders, he said, knew that government has “an overwhelming urge to grow and overtake” – one that leads to “more taxation, more borrowing, more spending, and more central control.” Through the 2010 elections, he said that the voters sent a bold, simple message to our elected officials: Americans want government that is leaner, less intrusive in our lives and that are fed up with the progressive movement that expanded government and increased taxes. He criticized the bureaucratic involvement in healthcare and unelected judges telling the people “when and
where they can pray.”

The Governor praised the “new, very legitimate force…the Tea Party” and the new House of Representatives that read the Constitution aloud on its first day. He said that “America has been the shining example that free people work harder and achieve greater things than those who labor under an oppressive government,” but he warned that, unfortunately, “we’ve allowed that liberty to be at risk because we have allowed government to expand.”

In particular, Governor Perry criticized Obamacare. And he stood out from other speakers by criticizing the federal role (through President Obama’s Race to the Top program) in the propagation of the national Common Core Standards initiative. In that respect, he evinced an appreciation for the full scope of the federal intrusion –not just the healthcare expansion that has grabbed the headlines. You get the sense that he truly understands the duties of the federal government, the duties of the state governments, and the primacy of the people.

We want to hear more from this speaker over the coming months. What are his views on life and marriage, and what is his view on monetary policy?

Governor Perry’s speech is a wake-up call to candidates. If you want to lead the country, tell us your positions on the issues. Show us that you understand what the problems are and that you know what needs to be done.

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