Accuracy in Media

Now that Rick Perry has officially begun his campaign for the presidency, there is much in the news regarding his chances against Mitt Romney in the primary, and President Obama in the general election. U.S. News’ Ken Walsh wrote recently of several reasons why Perry has an up-hill battle. Many of his claims against Perry are either misleading, one sided, or even false. And they reflect a huge double standard, suggesting that Walsh may have a political agenda. Let’s take a deeper look:

Claim one: Perry’s economic record—He did not, in fact, create jobs; he merely took advantage of the rising tide

The argument is that the majority of jobs that came to Texas under his tenure as governor (which, by the way, is longer than any other current governor in the U.S. right now) were either defense jobs, stimulus jobs, or oil industry jobs, and many “consisted of low-wage jobs that many Americans don’t want.” One reason these jobs are lower paying is because Texas is a much less expensive place to live than say, California or New York. And to complain about the type of jobs is splitting hairs, in a state that has added half of the nation’s jobs since April 2009. When people are crying out for jobs, who is to say “no, not big oil jobs, only green jobs?” Probably only people in the Obama administration who continue to think that green jobs are the way we get out of this economic mess. Independent Institute senior fellow Benjamin Powell discussed this aspect of Texas’s economy with Judge Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch, arguing that Texas is doing a lot of things right that allow economic freedom and therefore the ability to expand the labor force, helping to create prosperity.

Claim two: Perry is too conservative

Perry is too conservative? Let’s talk about how he actually used to be a Democrat while he was in the Texas state legislature. He has always had a stance of fiscal conservatism; he used to be a part of a group known as the “Pit Bulls” while in the state legislature. He stands up for the 10th Amendment, which delegates states the right and power to execute laws the federal government cannot (or should not) and has acted on such rights. His track record shows that he is a states’- rights, small government advocate. And yes, he is a Christian. While the media and other liberal elites might like to question his public day of prayer, the majority of the country is still Christian and can connect and relate to his sentiment. Calling Perry too conservative intentionally ignores Perry’s entire political past.

Claim three: He is too cozy with special interests

The article quotes the Obama administration as saying, “Governor Perry allowed special interests to write their own rules, hired corporate lobbyists to oversee corporations and cut funding for programs that would create opportunity for middle class families.” Funny that the writer should get his information about Perry’s history with special interest groups from Perry’s potential opponent. Walsh’s argument about Perry’s involvement with special interest groups is completely unsubstantiated. There is also the argument to be made that Obama, as one of the biggest special interest Presidents to come to Washington in a while, is pandering to unions, environmentalists, academia, the abortion lobby, as well as appointing Wall Street executives to his cabinet. It is even arguable that the stimulus plan to create jobs was nothing more than a political payoff for some of Obama’s supporters. Obama talked a big game while campaigning, promising to change Washington, but his actions show evidence of the contrary.

Claim four: He is untested on a national stage

Though this is Perry’s first time running a national election, he has been involved with the Republican Governors Association, serving as the Chairman in 2008 and 2011, and has traveled and campaigned for governors and the Republican Party across the country. Also, his tenure as Texas governor speaks volumes about his ability to campaign, and his experience with executive power and running a state, and a large one at that. It should be noted, however, that in Texas, the governor has less power than most governors, because the Texas constitution allows the governor no executive power over state agencies.

Claim five: Bush fatigue

This may be one of the only real arguments that could hold in the primary and general election, though we will have to see. When people came out and voted in 2008, many voted for Obama, but a lot voted against Bush. There is still an anti-Bush sentiment in much of this country, but many are tiring of hearing President Obama still blaming Bush, nearly three years into his term.

The race is just getting started and at this point, it is really anyone’s game. But let’s be sure that if we are calling out candidates on their issues, we at least check them and get them right, as opposed to just throwing mud around in hopes that some of it will stick.

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