Is Lake Perry an Inch Deep?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8:16AM
John Prothro

These days I find myself agreeing with the talking heads:  The Republican primary is now down to two candidates—Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.  What I don’t agree with is how the pundits are characterizing the Perry/Romney matchup.  They are saying ultra conservative voters will support Perry while less conservative Republicans will go for Romney. 

In some sense they are right.  Those most skeptical of government power will no doubt lean toward the candidate most indignant toward it.  Rick Perry’s limited government message is timely and enticing, and much of it appeals to very conservative voters.

But Rick Perry has a big problem.  He may be conservative, but I, and other conservative voters like me, aren’t going to vote for him just because we agree with him.  To get our votes, Rick Perry must prove he is knowledgeable and persuasive enough to both beat Obama and govern effectively as a Conservative.

I’ve watched Perry for several weeks now, hoping he would prove capable of defending and explaining conservatism. The latest two debates, however, have confirmed what I already suspicioned—Perry either has a superficial understanding of what he believes or he can’t explain himself.  Either option is unacceptable for the standard bearer of the Republican Party and the Conservative movement.

Perry has made many bold and controversial statements in this campaign—many of them true.  Problem is, when challenged on his statements, Perry doesn’t seem to know why he is right.  “Government spending doesn’t create jobs,” he says.  That is true.  But is there any evidence Perry knows why? Can he refute Obama’s demand stimulus model? Does he know why Keynes was wrong?

The Conservative movement and its offspring the Tea Party would do well to nominate someone who is an effective advocate for the Constitution and limited government.  I’m not asking for an “intellectual” candidate, whatever that means.  What I am asking for is someone who is persuasive and can convince the American people of the value of conservative ideals and policies.  That candidate will be able to refute the nonsense of the left, win the presidency, and—like President Reagan after Carter—effectively promote the agenda necessary to get our country back on track.  

Article originally appeared on LastingLiberty.com (http://lastingliberty.com/).
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