Rick Perry: Rick Perry Is Molded after George W. Bush: Pro-NAFTA, Pro-Mexico, an Internationalist, and a Fan of Involved Government
Holt, Kelly, The New American
After much networking, private fundraising, and even some preliminary campaign staffing, Texas Governor Rick Perry finally tossed his Stetson into the GOP 2012 presidential ring. Now conscientious voters around the nation will want to examine his record.
Beginning his political career as a Democrat, Perry was elected a State Representative in 1984, garnering favor with some liberal Texas lawmakers, and serving as Al Gore's Texas campaign chair in 1988. Becoming a Republican in 1989, he served as Texas Agriculture Commissioner until elected Lieutenant Governor in 1998; he then moved into the Governor's mansion in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become President. Many conservative Texans, however, know that although Perry has consistently positioned himself as a conservative, his public record reveals considerable inconsistencies. For instance, in the 2008 election, he first endorsed pro-abortion and pro-homosexual "marriage" Rudy Giuliani for President, before endorsing John McCain when Giuliani withdrew--though in terms of substance McCain's positions on key issues varied little from those of Barack Obama.
Perry has also styled himself a constitutionalist. He described his 2010 book Fed Up as "mostly an argument for states' 10th Amendment rights"--and at the June Republican Leadership Conference urged a return to government "of the people, by the people, and for the people." Yet he's been a solid supporter of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a so-called "free-trade" arrangement modeled after the old European Common Market, launching pad for the economic--and eventually political--merger now known as the European Union. In a 2002 speech, Perry declared:
I was the first statewide official in Texas to stand up for NAFTA in the early 1990s. It was not always a popular position. More recently. President Bush stood up to those who would blame Mexico and immigration for America's woes. George W. Bush ... and those of us here today stood up against those who would ignore NAFTA, close our borders, stop cross-border trucking and slam the door on free and fair trade between our great nations. We know that the United States and Mexico share more than a common border, we share a common future, un destino comun.
Critics have warned that the NAFTA supranational scheme is intended to take a trajectory similar to that of the Common Market-EU, gradually transferring U.S. trade (and eventually economic and political) policies to what would become, if not in name at least in substance, a North American Union. Such multinational arrangements may be called "free-trade," but in reality they have little to do with genuine free trade (absence of government interference)--they only promote the rise of the supranational regulatory bodies the agreements entail.
Strengthening trade under NAFTA provides the context for the proposed Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC)--a supranational highway to run from Mexico to Canada--championed by Governor Perry. The proposal has been wildly unpopular with Texans, who have fought it since Perry introduced it a decade ago. Although the battle is currently off the public radar, the war isn't over. After the Texas Department of Transportation declared the TTC "dead" in 2009, The New American noted Perry's response: "The key is that we have to go forward and build the infrastructure."
The Governor favors Public Private Partnership (PPP) financial agreements, in which taxpayers assume liability for public projects while private investors reap the profits. He has relentlessly promoted the TTC. overseeing the secret deal in which a foreign company (Cintra, of Spain) promised to develop taxpayer-funded roads in Texas in return for toll revenue profits. Perry was strongly criticized for not making public the terms of the contract with Cintra.
One highly unpopular feature of the TTC was the unprecedented use of eminent domain for seizing hundreds of thousands of acres of private property for the corridor construction. …