It’s time to put your faith in Rick Perry

Helen Hansen

Gov. Rick Perry should be the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election. I have read plenty of anti-Perry columns attacking him for education budget cuts; I have heard the critics question Texas’ job growth; and I have seen the satirical comparisons between Perry and former President George W. Bush. But no matter how hard I try to hate him, I keep getting sucked back in to his campaign. Perry is the full package, and I am buying in.

There are four key reasons I love Rick Perry. The first is the most obvious: his success as governor creating jobs in Texas after the recession. Texas has created about 297,000 of the 715,000 net new positions in the United States since June 2009. This means that four in 10 new American jobs are in Texas. Our unemployment rate of 8.5 percent is lower than the national average of 9.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Incredibly, more than 1 million net new jobs have been created in Texas in the decade since Perry has served as governor. Job creation is a hot topic in Washington right now, and I bet it still will be in 2012. I would also bet that U.S. voters are interested in a job creation program that does not cost the country $450 billion, which is what President Barack Obama
is proposing.

Perry’s critics are quick to point out that Texas is also the leader in the number of workers holding minimum wage jobs in the nation. Texas’ economy is differently built than other states’ economies, with a different proportion of low-skilled and high-skilled workers than say Massachusetts or Florida. So saying Perry’s job record is not good because he created mostly minimum wage jobs is like saying an Olympic athlete’s gold medal is not impressive because he competed in table tennis. A win’s a win.

Second, I commend Perry heartily for bringing up the tough issue of Social Security reform and for taking an unpopular stance on the issue. Perry said in an editorial in USA Today that Social Security needs to be reformed for the younger workforce because the aging generation of baby boomers is going to clean out the pot. Perry cited that by 2037, retirees would only receive about 76 cents for every dollar they previously put in to Social Security. As a 45-year-old, I would be extremely frustrated if 24 percent of my investment is being lost every paycheck. Social Security reform, even a complete overhaul, is therefore clearly necessary, and the idea of a president in office that recognizes the approaching failure of this entitlement program is reassuring.

I also like that Perry’s policies are not strictly conservative, strictly liberal or even strictly moderate. His recent support for a law that requires 12-year-old girls to get the human papillomavirus vaccine is a good example of this. While I do not support the law, I like that Perry stuck up for a cause that was important to him, even though this issue violates the Republican ideal of minimal government invasion of private life. It seems like he makes decisions based on the information given to him for specifics situations, not because they are the “conservative” things to do. This would be a major strength in a president. Imagine a president doing something not because his party wants him to, but because it is what he believes is right.

Finally, I like that Perry is a “career politician”; it means he is good at what he does. The president of the United States should be the most masterful politician in the country. At the very least, he has to convince the majority of a nation and the majority of fellow politicians to vote for him. It is my understanding that a master of anything must have spent years and years practicing his craft.

Enough people have liked Perry and his policies to elect him to various offices, including state representative, agriculture commissioner, lieutenant governor and governor, repeatedly since 1984. That is a pretty good track record, and Perry is someone the Republican Party should put their faith in for the 2012 presidential race.

Hansen is a Plan II and public relations freshman.