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NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a candidate for president in 2012, led off the second day of the CPAC annual conference of conservatives with a rousing, animated speech in which he declared it’s “time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas.”
“I’m reminded this morning of words that speak to the American soul, words spoken by Thomas Jefferson, ‘A little rebellion is a good thing.'”
Perry said in his speech Friday that instead of looking to Washington for solutions, Americans should examine the contrast between “blue states,” in which Democrats have a majority, and “red states” governed by Republicans.
In blue states, he said, “government plays an increasing role in the lives of citizens, taxes increase and jobs are lost.”
“Then there is the red-state vision where the freedom of the individual is important, taxes are low, opportunities are flourishing and jobs abound.”
He pointed to states under Republican governors, such as Louisiana under Gov. Bobby Jindal, where “smart government regulations” have made the state more competitive for jobs.
Under Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Perry said, “we see the courage to reform government pensions and the people of Wisconsin stood behind him and re-elected him. Under Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, unemployment has declined for three straight years.”
The common denominator “is conservative governors who know the freedom of the individual must come before the power of the state,” Perry said.
In contrast, referring to the blue states of New York and California, “no other two states put together have lost as many jobs.
“You can’t find enough trucks to rent for companies wanting to leave California. New York has regulations larger than a 30-ounce Big Gulp,” he said, referring to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s infamous restriction on the size of soft drinks.
Perry has said he will decide by the end of the year whether or not to run for the Republican nomination in 2016. Last summer, Time magazine’s Zeke J. Miller wrote that it “looks like everything is aligned for Rick Perry to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.”
“He’ll be a 14-year retired governor of a prosperous state with a long list of accomplishments following on a former senator who has demonstrated difficulty managing the federal government,” Miller wrote.
Making the case for his accomplishments in Texas in his CPAC speech Friday, Perry said, “We cut taxes, we created fair regulations and we stopped trial lawyers from [filing] frivolous lawsuits.”
“We created 30 percent of the nation’s jobs while presiding over an economic expansion of historic proportions,” he said.
The differences between blue and red states illustrate the divergent paths the country faces.
“It is about the future of America – either the big-government state predominates or the free-enterprise state,” he said.
The federal government, Perry said, cannot continue to borrow billions of dollars from foreign banks while the debt has soared to astounding levels in the past five years, from $10 trillion to $17 trillion.
“How can we reform state governments with unreformed entitlement programs?” he asked. “There is a price to pay for policies that destroy our economy and invite foreign enemies.”
He concluded it’s “not too late to save America if we return to the principles of our Constitution.”
“Nowhere in the Constitution does it say we have the power to federalize health care,” Perry said, referring to Obamacare. “We need leaders who believe in free markets and respect the rights of individuals.”
He called for a return of federal government to enumerated powers.
As he concluded his speech with a series of points, punctuating each remark with his index finger, the people in the audience rose to their feet and responded with a crescendo of applause that grew with each point.
“Get out of the health-care business. Get out of the education business. Deliver the mail on time and on Saturday,” he said.
“The future of this nation belongs to you. You have the power to change this nation. You represent the hope America can be great again.”
Thursday, after Sen. Ted Cruz’s call to dismantle Barack Obama’s agenda, including a complete repeal of Obamacare, CPAC speakers touched on similar themes, envisioning 2014 as a prime opportunity to seize on Democrat failures and articulate an alternative vision for the country.
Cruz was followed by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s call to fight Obamacare with “everything we’ve got,” Rep. Paul Ryan’s belief that the GOP is primed for victory and the Democrats “will overreach,” Sen. Tim Scott’s call for “responsibility,” Sen. Marco Rubio’s conviction that the world is on the verge of a “new American century,” Sen. Mike Lee’s exhortation to conservatives to”get to work,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s call to mirror his state’s performance-based evaluations of teachers and Donald Trump’s urging to “make America great again.”
Meanwhile, Cruz told WND after his speech that social issues should not be taken off the table in the 2014, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton called Obama the nation’s “biggest security threat” and Chris Christie showed that despite major political setbacks in recent months, his star power has not dimmed.
WND’s coverage of CPAC: