William F. Buckley, Jr., Barry Goldwater, and the Great Communicator, himself, Ronald Reagan, are three names that have become synonymous with the heart of the Conservative movement. Each stood tall, feet firmly planted, and proclaimed with boldness all the virtues of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and those things that have been the bedrock of our great nation.
Such men still exist today, but their numbers seemingly grow fewer, even as the need for such firm and dedicated conservatism becomes more desperate. Indeed, there is no question that the curse of cultural Marxism has taken deep root in our land, and like a parasitic passenger, it weakens our nation, without mercy, the longer it goes unchecked. As our nation struggles under the weight of entitlement programs that only create a growing class of dependents, out of control debt, porous borders that leave us vulnerable to attacks, every conceivable manner of social unrest, and a society of professional victims, it behooves us to cry out for a champion.
With that in mind, do we get a Buckley? Do we get a Goldwater or a Reagan? No, we get a Trump. For some bizarre and unfathomable reason, at the time when the need is most crucial, the stakes so high, those on the so-called right have elevated this gilded toad to the top of the GOP polls. Let us put aside the fact that he has changed his party five times. We’ll overlook for the moment that he has said he identifies more as a Democrat, backs eminent domain (the theft of private property for government gain), a progressive tax on the wealthy, single payer healthcare, funding of Planned Parenthood, and a host of other left-of-center platforms. We can even, for the time being, table the fact that at this point, he openly mocks those who give him such unwavering devotion, by making eye-popping, incendiary claims like this.
No, I don’t want to solely focus on Mr. Trump, because he commands far too much of the media, as it is. He’s the Charlie Sheen of the political world, only without the dignity. With Fox News acting as his personal PR network, I’d say he doesn’t need any of my press.
I bring up Trump in this discussion simply because he highlights the depths and the darkness our party has descended to, and because there is someone out there who deserves acknowledgment… and an apology. There is someone out there who has embodied both the ideals and the character of Reagan, as agreed upon by both a January 2015 CNN report, comparing all of the potential 2016 candidates and by Reagan’s own son, Michael. That man is former Texas Governor, Rick Perry.
When a True Leader Speaks
Before the inevitable calls of, “He’s out! Get over it. Move on!” begin, know that I am fully aware that the best man to lead us out of this morass was the first to climb out of the clown car. His exit was like an exclamation point, marked in bold print, to signify the insanity of this election season. How someone like Perry, a conservative icon on par with Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan could receive such paltry support, while a reality TV huckster like Trump could lead the pack doesn’t speak ill of Perry, but it does paint a sorry picture of the shape of the Conservative movement that those men worked so hard to build and sustain.
Governor Perry’s conservative credentials do not lie with his two failed runs for the presidency. His 14 years of solid and successful leadership in Texas are his legacy. Texas is the number one job producer in the nation. Under the leadership of Perry, Texas was a model for smaller government, free market potential, 2nd Amendment purity, and arguably the last, remaining stronghold of true conservatism and the American dream.
Without a doubt, Governor Perry can hold his head high. He has much to be proud of. His accomplishments and his record of leadership outshines any of those who are left to battle it out in the current GOP field. His exit was our loss.
Knowing all this is why anyone who is watching the fiasco being played out daily, courtesy of the Traveling Trump Freak Show and his merry band of sycophants, owes Governor Perry an apology. He called it early. He knew what was coming and gave voice to what was inevitable, if the people and the media continued to court this insanity. The presidency and the well-being of our nation should not be diminished to the level of a game show.
On July 22nd, 2015, Governor Perry gave a speech at the Opportunity and Freedom Pac forum in Washington, DC, on the importance of preserving conservatism (Full remarks can be read here. While some suggested that this was a failed strategy, drawing Trump into a ground war, I firmly believe that this was Perry following his own credo: We must do right and accept the consequences. Some even offer that this ended Perry’s chances. Trump certainly took credit for it. Those who are a bit more involved in the process know that a series of unfortunate turns hurt Perry’s chances, again, I believe, to our detriment.
Of the points Perry made in his nuclear attack on Mr. Trump, some that stood out then, and are being revisited now with screaming clarity, include: “The White House has been occupied by giants. But from time-to-time it is sought by the small-minded – divisive figures propelled by anger, and appealing to the worst instincts in the human condition.” Also, “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”
Can anyone look at those remarks and NOT see Trump so clearly, some 6 months after Perry first spoke them? His final words on Trump, in a lengthy and substance-heavy speech were a warning to us: “Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.
It cannot be pacified or ignored, for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world – the cause of conservatism.
I feel so strongly about this because I believe conservatism is the only way forward for this country.”
He Was Right
Governor Rick Perry was sounding the alarm when others were afraid to take on the Goliath. The leader from Texas stood tall and defended traditional conservatism and its legacy, when others were playing it politically safe, worrying more about their poll numbers than their nation.
Before conservative pundits banded together and announced their symposium in National Review Online, intent on standing together against Trump’s ill-formed candidacy, Governor Perry stood alone, laying down his own aspirations to bring attention to this nightmarish scenario of a Trump nomination.
Governor Perry was right. In every word and with every warning. The cause of the Conservative movement has been damaged. It is hard for the undecided or independent voter to distinguish Trumpism from actual conservatism, and it may very well cost us the White House, because, unfortunately, we’re known by the company we keep, or at least, keep around. How much more are we judged by who we allow to take the lead over our party?
So while I was always in Mr. Perry’s corner, as well as on the side of true conservatism, I want to offer this apology: You were right, Sir. You deserved better than what you received from the fickle and uninformed Republican voters. God bless you for your unwavering support of the Conservative movement, and may God have mercy on our nation.