By Corie Whalen, US Daily Review Senior Editor
Upon announcing his intention to run for President on August 13th, Texas Governor Rick Perry became the GOP frontrunner in virtually an instant. On the day of Perry’s declaration in South Carolina, the other Texan in the race, Congressman Ron Paul from Clute, took a close second to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll. While Perry is currently pegged as the guy to beat and is, according to Rasmussen, the only candidate poised to defeat the President (Perry: 44% – Obama: 41%), the individual second to Governor Perry in terms of competitiveness with the President is Ron Paul, (Obama: 39% – Paul: 38%).
As things heat up in the race, we’re seeing a battle unfold between two of the top-tier candidates that goes beyond polling – and it comes in the form of the first negative intra-party ad this election season; which also happens to be intra-state.
Congressman Paul has released the following attack ad against Governor Perry:
Of particular note is the fact that Paul calls Perry out for chairing Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign, in turn mounting forces against President Reagan.
While offering no high profile response, Governor Perry’s camp has passively played down Paul’s claims by providing a link to a letter written by the Congressman in 1987 that details Paul’s exit from the GOP (which, of course, he would later rejoin). Soon after this letter was written, Paul announced his candidacy for President under the Libertarian Party banner.
In the letter, directed to Frank Fahrenkopf, then chairman of the RNC, Paul stated:
“If Ronald Reagan couldn’t or wouldn’t balance the budget, which Republican leader on the horizon can we possibly expect to do so? There is no credibility left for the Republican Party as a force to reduce the size of government. That is the message of the Reagan years.”
So, what do you ultimately make of this ensuing drama between top-tier Texans? Do either Paul or Perry have major points against each other when it comes to playing the Reagan card and trotting out opinions from the 80’s? Reagan used to be a Democrat just like Perry was, and Paul at one time took a hiatus from the GOP because he was disillusioned by continually growing government. Is it relevant at this point?
Do you think substantive records matter more than past decisions about party loyalty? Essentially, both the Perry and Paul camps have proven that neither candidate has been 100% loyal to Reagan or the GOP. Realistically, should either of them be faulted for it?
Given the anti status quo feeling permeating the nation at this juncture, I can’t imagine 100% party or political figure loyalty being major, defining issues in this election. Because of our dire economic situation (which includes nationwide unemployment at 9.1% and zero job growth in August), President Obama’s consistently sinking approval rating, and the fact that people don’t trust him to turn the economy around, it seems that there are much bigger fish to fry.
In my opinion, what we really need to compare are Paul and Perry’s economic records (both of which are extensive and interesting). What’s less relevant between the two Texans is fidelity to President Reagan; especially when it’s clear that neither are close to perfect in that area.
Corie Whalen, a US Daily Review senior editor, is 24 years old and writes from Houston, Texas. Heavily involved in libertarian and conservative politics since college, Corie has organized several tea parties and other events protesting government overspending. Presently, she’s the Political Director for the Alliance for Self-Governance, South Central Regional Director for Young Americans for Liberty, serves as Secretary for the Republican Liberty Caucus, and consults for various candidates.