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Nate Jackson / Sep. 14, 2015

Hey, Where’s Perry?

Rick Perry is the first casualty of Trump mania.

What happens when you have a presidential candidate who’s an Eagle Scout with military experience, a legislative tenure, and conservative record of service as both lieutenant governor and governor of one of the nation’s largest states? Nothing, as long as Donald Trump’s sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Even with prior experience running for president and a solid second campaign, former Texas Governor Rick Perry couldn’t overcome the elephant-in-name-only in the room. On Friday, Perry became the first GOP presidential candidate to drop out of the field of 17.

To be sure, part of the fault lies with Perry himself. It’s almost certain he was unable to undo the first impression of his poor performance in the 2012 race to recast himself as the serious, seasoned statesman he had worked to become. Part of the blame also arguably lies with George W. Bush. Perhaps the nation wasn’t ready for another Texas “cowboy” as president. However, as we’ve said before, Perry’s record in Texas was one the nation could have benefited from after nearly eight years of Barack Obama. As Perry described it in his suspension announcement, “During my 14 years as governor, Texas created nearly one-third of all new American jobs. We passed balanced budgets, cut taxes, set aside billions of dollars for a rainy day, and elevated our graduation rates to second highest in the nation. We did this based on conservative principles: Don’t tax too much, don’t spend all the money, invest in an educated workforce, and stop frivolous lawsuits at the courthouse.”

Trump’s rise has been fueled by the well-earned groundswell of opposition to Beltway politicos. But it’s beyond ironic that the populist rebellion claimed its first casualty in a man who defined — through his 10th Amendment foundations — the federalist vision of our Founders. Was he the perfect candidate? Far from it, obviously. But he is a supremely qualified conservative, and the field is weaker without him.

Here’s an example from his suspension speech of what made Perry not only a good candidate, but a good man:

“We can secure the border and reform our immigration system without inflammatory rhetoric, without base appeals that divide us based on race, culture and creed. Let me be crystal clear: for those of us in Christ, our citizenship is first and foremost in God’s kingdom, our brothers and sisters are those made in the image of God, and our obligation — after loving God with all our heart, mind and soul — is to love our neighbors as ourselves, regardless of where they come from. Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ. We can enforce our laws and our borders, and we can love all who live within our borders, without betraying our values.”

> Editor’s Note: To the readers who misunderstood the “blame Bush” line as some sort of tack to the Left on the part of The Patriot Post, the point of the comment is electoral perception, not some kind of nervous Obama-esque tick. Bush was a governor from Texas. Perry was a governor of Texas. End of comparison. And for our lament that a good conservative just left the race to be interpreted as our having moved Left is just poor reading comprehension.

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