Much has been written and said about the political rise, fall, and comeback attempt of Governor Rick Perry. I’ve written about his brilliant record as Governor of Texas. Others have covered his trailblazing speeches on minority outreach and Wall Street reform.
But something else makes Rick Perry stand out from the rest of the field. Politics aside, he’s probably the nicest candidate running. It’s hard to find genuinely good people in politics. Plenty of candidates are hypocrites – they’re the nicest guys in the world when the cameras are rolling, but their staffers know just how rude and demanding they can be.
Rick Perry is not one of those people. As I’ve talked to his staffers and friends, I’ve been blown away time after time by the stories I’ve heard. Love or hate his politics, Perry’s character is impeccable. And he’s not the type of guy that “does his alms before men,” either. Most people have never seen the tender side of the tough Texas cowboy. But it exists, I assure you.
Some of you may have seen the movie “Lone Survivor,” based on the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. But what that movie didn’t cover is this: after returning home, Luttrell struggled with significant physical and mental problems. Like many veterans, he got lost in the bureaucratic maze of the Veteran’s Administration. Tired and confused, Luttrell didn’t know where to turn. So one day in spring 2007, he turned up at the Texas Governor’s mansion and asked to see Rick Perry. Not only did Governor Perry make sure Marcus got the medical help he needed, but he essentially adopted Luttrell as his son. Anita Perry gave him a bedroom on the third floor, and Luttrell became a member of the family.
“When I came into the Perry family, it was one of those deals where it was the only family I had,” Luttrell said. “I didn’t have a father figure growing up like that, somebody who genuinely cared about me. Governor Perry taught me how to be a good man.”
The only way you can teach someone else to be a good man is by being one yourself. Governor Perry is absolutely a good man. And in today’s culture, good men are hard to find.
If you don’t believe me, just ask former US Senator Rick Santorum. Matt Mackowiak reported this story over at Townhall.com: In 2011, Santorum was participating in a GOP primary debate with Perry. As the debate progressed, all of the candidates were furiously taking notes, writing down things they wanted to remember. Santorum noticed that Governor Perry was the only person not writing anything. At one point in the debate, Santorum told the story of his daughter Bella, relating the serious health challenges she faces as the result of a rare disease. When the debate ended, Santorum walked over to Perry to shake his hand. He glanced down at Governor Perry’s paper and saw three words:
“Pray for Bella.”