So this one kind of means something to me.
Admittedly, not what it would have meant back in 2016 or
2017, but I have to say, it raises up some fleeting pangs of melancholy, as I
remember what could have been.
If any of you have been familiar with my past work,
especially through the 2015 primary season, you may remember I was a devoted
supporter of the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry.
I’ve actually always had a preference for governors over
senators or congressmen, when it comes to presidential picks. I always felt
they had the executive experience necessary to make for the smoothest
transition from state leadership to national leadership.
Perry, however, was the longest serving governor of the most
fiscally sound, innovative state in our union. He presided over the 12th largest economy in the world for nearly 15 years. He had all the right ideas
about social issues that I care about, has demonstrated the heart of an actual
Christian, and his views on the Constitution, and in particular, states rights
(per the 10th Amendment) were all on point.
He was the perfect candidate, in every way, checking all the
conservative boxes, but for the 2016 election season, Republicans didn’t want
conservatism. They sure didn’t want a Christian.
They wanted revenge.
A standout moment during the primary phase happened during the feud between Perry and Donald Trump in July 2015. The governor dropped an atomic truth bomb on who Trump is, and where he would take the Republican Party.
“Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded,” Perry said during a speech in Washington, D.C. “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 and that is the cause of conservatism.”
“Donald Trump the candidate is a sore of division, wrongly demonizing Mexican Americans for political sport,” Perry said. “It is wrong to paint with a broad brush Hispanic men and women in this country who have fought and died for freedom from the Alamo to Afghanistan.”
At an event hosted by the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, one of the super PACs backing his campaign, Perry, the former Texas governor, added Trump: “offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism: a toxic mix demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”
And this has all proven true.
The Republican Party that cared about sound, mature
governance, the free market, and a smaller federal government has been
obliterated in Donald Trump’s wake.
Sure, there are still some giving lip service to those
ideals, but when it matters, we’re seeing very little pushback against
President Trump’s attempts to weaponize the GOP to cater to his whims, while
also targeting his perceived “enemies.”
OH – by “enemies” I mean anyone questioning his absolute
rule or attempting oversight.
I had harbored a desperate hope that Governor Perry, who,
sadly, was the first to wash out of that primary season, would launch an
independent bid and go at Trump from that angle.
That was not to be. In fact, as others pushed Perry to do
that very thing, he used the term “quixotic,” in reference to any attempts for
an independent run.
After leaving the primary, Perry threw his support behind
fellow Texan, Senator Ted Cruz.
Some of Perry’s former campaign workers, friends of mine,
likewise jumped on the campaign team of Cruz.
I was still disgusted by Cruz acting like Trump’s prison wife
early in the primary season, rather than showing any backbone.
I did not follow the lead of Governor Perry or my friends. I
gave half-hearted support to Marco Rubio when the primary vote came to North
Carolina. I still believe he was the better of those top 3 during that
Now fast forward to the present day.
Rubio and Cruz have both been beaten into submission by the
MAGA-mania, doing little to nothing to push back against Donald Trump’s worst
Rubio has toyed with the idea of leaving the Senate, while
Cruz was in a fight for his life to hold onto his Senate seat in the last
midterm election. He’s also seen his Liberty Score rating slip from a solid “A”
to a flimsy “B.”
He’s a shadow of who he once was.
Perry is no longer “Governor Perry,” but “Secretary Perry,”
having been given the leading role at the Department of Energy – a department
he once thought should be cut out, when he first ran for the presidency in
I honestly don’t know why Trump chose Rick Perry to serve in
his Cabinet. I don’t think it was because he respected him. I truly believe it
was because he wanted to be seen as a former, vocal rival’s “boss.” He wanted
Rick Perry sitting in those televised Cabinet meetings, as they went around the
table, allowing each formerly distinguished department head to give breathless
homage to the greatness of Donald Trump.
Maybe Rick Perry has felt that, too. Maybe it has all gotten
to be too much for him. I’m hoping there’s still some small spark of pride that
is struggling to overcome the quest for party dominance over the well-being of
the nation, because the news that is coming out today is that he is out. He’s
leaving the administration and moving on.
According to Bloomberg News, as reported on Wednesday, Rick Perry is planning his exit strategy from the Trump regime.
The former Texas governor is reportedly finalizing the terms and timing of his departure, two people familiar with his plans told Bloomberg.
Perry has reportedly been preparing the agency’s deputy secretary, Dan Brouillette, for the transition. It is unclear whether Trump would tap Brouillette for the position, Bloomberg noted.
The Bloomberg report goes on to clarify that the exit of
Perry was not “imminent,” so nobody should be counting the days. Just know that
Another bit of news was that before the departure of
Kirstjen Nielsen as the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Perry had
been offered the spot. He refused.
That’s an interesting twist, considering Perry’s long
history with the border, as governor of Texas.
Perry has noted that it was not Texas’ job to secure the
border, but that of the federal government. That is one area where we all seem
to agree, however, the mechanics of how to do it are quite different.
Perry had one of the most reasonable solutions for the
border, and I’ve repeated it often.
He insisted that, rather than an unworkable, insane fantasy
wall, the government go with strategic fencing, more boots on the ground at the
border, aviation assets, and fast responders.
Perry was also excoriated for giving the children of illegal
immigrants in Texas in-state tuition, but the critics of the move miss the
nuances and purpose behind the decision, while ignoring that this was a
decision made at the state level, because it was a state problem to be dealt
With that in mind, he likely would have not been the blunt
instrument at the border that Trump is looking for, and would have opened
himself up to be the latest object of the rantings and petulance of the
president and his cult.
I guess the question now is if Rick Perry can emerge from
his time in the Trump administration with his dignity and reputation intact.
Other than a few, deeply disappointing public affirmations
of his loyalty to his liege, he’s managed to just keep his head down and do his
work with the Energy Department.
As for me, I’m not looking for a third resurrection of Perry’s
presidential aspirations. The shine is off of that penny. Never again will I seek
heroes from the world of politics.
I think that’s solid advice for all of us. We need to be our own heroes, and we do so by putting partisan considerations aside, and demanding those we employ to serve as our representatives in Washington live up to their promises.
*EDIT* Just before submitting this piece, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department stated that the reports of Perry’s departure were erroneous.
We’ve seen this before. A report emerges of someone from the administration leaving, they deny it for days, weeks, or sometimes months, then they leave.
We’ll have to wait and see with this one, as well.