President Obama can see the writing on the wall: His days in the White House are numbered. This is the real meaning of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican presidential race. The GOP now has a candidate who can not only defeat Mr. Obama, but crush him.
For months, the mainstream media anointed Mitt Romney as the presumptive front-runner. The former Massachusetts governor is their ideal GOP candidate - a moderate technocrat from the Northeast, who flip-flopped on abortion and gay rights and enacted universal health care in his state. He is a Rockefeller Republican wolf in Reaganite clothing. His strongest asset is his business background. In a moribund economy, Mr. Romney came across as the only competent, experienced nominee who could kick-start the private sector. No longer.
Mr. Perry has fundamentally altered that equation - and with it the nature of the campaign. His candidacy has an overriding strength: Texas. Mr. Perry is the longest-serving governor in that state’s history. He is entering his 11th year, making him the nation’s senior governor as well. On possessing executive experience, none of the declared 2012 candidates - including Mr. Obama - comes close.
He also has a stellar economic record. From June 2001 until June 2010, Texas added more jobs than the other 49 states combined. Since June 2009, it has generated nearly 40 percent of all net jobs in America. His formula is simple: Embrace fiscal conservatism. His administration has controlled spending, balanced budgets and slashed burdensome regulations. Texas is a right-to-work state. It does not have a personal income or capital gains tax. It is a magnet for businesses, job creators and investment capital.
Mr. Perry is also a Middle American populist, who champions God, country and family. Unlike Mr. Obama, he is not a progressive highbrow who despises the U.S. military. He is a former Air Force pilot. Also unlike Mr. Obama, he is a devout evangelical Christian, who opposes abortion - the seminal moral issue of our time. As governor, he passed a law mandating that sonograms be shown to any pregnant woman prior to having an abortion. The goal is to appeal to her conscience before exterminating an unborn baby. At his core, Mr. Perry is a “10th Amendment conservative.” He champions states’ rights, localism and the devolution of federal power. His Jeffersonian patriotism is the exact opposite of Mr. Obama’s secular socialism.
Mr. Perry’s low-tax, high-growth Texas model stands in stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s dismal performance. The president has no accomplishments he can run on in 2012. Obamacare is deeply unpopular. The stimulus failed. His reckless borrow-and-spend policies have created a debt crisis. Unemployment is high. The recovery is anemic. Inflation is rising. More than 45 million Americans are on food stamps - a historic record. The economy is spiraling toward a possible depression. Mr. Perry is the anti-Obama: a successful chief executive, who can - and will - get America moving again. In short, he is Mr. Obama’s worst nightmare.
This is why the media mandarins must destroy Mr. Perry’s credibility. Within days of his entering the race, Democrats are saying the Texas cowboy is too extreme, too radical and too uncouth to be president. Leftists are flagrantly distorting his statements. Mr. Perry never called for Texas’ secession. That is a lie. During a speech, someone yelled out “Secede!” Mr. Perry responded: “We’ve got a great union. There is absolutely no reason to dissolve it.”
Recently, in Iowa Mr. Perry said that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “quantitative easing” - massively printing money - is “almost treasonous,” especially, if he was to unleash the printing presses for a third round in order to artificially boost economic growth. Apparently, for many pundits, this comment is beyond the pale. Even Great Society Republicans are upset. They argue Mr. Bernanke has been unfairly attacked, the political independence of the Federal Reserve is under assault and Mr. Perry should apologize.
But the Texas governor is right. Mr. Bernanke’s loose monetary policy is slowly eroding the dollar. A nation’s economy is only as strong as its currency. The more greenbacks printed, the lower their value. The falling dollar is undermining consumer purchasing power, reducing our standard of living and inevitably leading to inflation - the great threat to middle-class prosperity. Mr. Bernanke’s actions are reckless and pose a clear and present danger to America’s economic security. It may not be “treasonous” but it’s darn close.
Mr. Perry is not perfect - far from it. He passed legislation granting in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. He opposes building a wall along the porous southern border. He supports some form of amnesty. He is a globalist conservative, not a Robert Taft-style nationalist.
There are other GOP candidates - Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul - who are more ideologically pristine and muscular. But Mr. Perry is easily the most electable conservative in the current field. He will take the fight to Mr. Obama. He will give no quarter and ask for none. And that’s why he will win - and win big.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.