Things you should know about Rick Perry

The Left is in full pants-wetting mode over Rick Perry joining the race, which shows just how afraid they are of him.  He should easily trounce Mitt Romney, the preferred candidate of the Leftist mainstream media.   Faux Christians play the pathetic “separation” and “hate” cards against him in their religion-disguised-as-politics charade, all the while ignoring people like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis who are meeting directly with Obama to peddle their false gospel.

Perry isn’t perfect, of course, but my understanding is that Jesus isn’t running in 2012.  Therefore, we need to pick the least-imperfect person.   There are a lot of Republican candidates I like, but I think Perry would be a fine choice.  I hope that when the Republican candidate beats Obama that he or she puts most of the rest of the field in high level cabinet spots.

I urge you to bookmark Seventeen (17) things that critics are saying about Rick Perry, where someone actually did some real research on all the claims being thrown at Perry.  I thought it was pretty unbiased and noted where Perry has made mistakes.  But even his mistake on Gardasil was overblown, and unlike most politicians — including our President — he admitted his mistake.

He is strongly pro-life, which is a huge plus.

Here is my favorite from the list, which uses real, live facts to show how Texas education is better across the board (whites and minorities) than the national average, way better than unionized states like Wisconsin and how Perry’s opponents are

6. Texas ranks poorly in educational spending and high school graduations

That statement is true. Texas does rank near the bottom of generalized rankings in spending per student and high school graduations, but as usual, those rankings alone are misleading. The statement is intended to imply that the state does a poor job of educating its students and therefore its Governor, Rick Perry is to blame. It’s just another two-for-one Texas/Perry smear.

With Perry as governor, how does education in Texas really compare with other states?

To see how Texas stacks up, we’ll compare Texas to Wisconsin. We chose Wisconsin because earlier this year, during their sit-ins and demonstrations, Wisconsin teachers compared their state’s (supposed) #2 ranking in ACT/SAT test scores directly to Texas (at #47). Their reason for comparing to Texas was that Wisconsin teachers are unionized while teacher unions are illegal in Texas. This direct comparison was intended to show the benefit of unionized teachers in educating our children.

However, those rankings were found to be: 1) obsolete, using 12-year-old data, and 2) used questionable methodology. The ranking was debunked by PolitiFact and the claim has since been removed from the union’s website, in other words, they stretched the facts to fit their agenda.

One facet that makes a Texas comparison to many other states is the racial makeup of the student population. Minority students – regardless of state – tend to score lower than white students on standardized tests, and the higher the proportion of minority students in a state the lower its overall test scores tend to be. Regardless of the reasons, the gap does exist, and it’s mathematical sophistry to compare the combined average test scores in a state like Wisconsin (4% black, 4% Hispanic) to a state like Texas (12% black, 30% Hispanic).

But let’s ignore that mismatch and compare them anyway – broken down by racial groups. We’ll compare some 2009 standardized test scores (the latest available) for 4th and 8th grade students in the areas of math, reading, and science. A pilot program for 12thgraders is being tested, but national comparisons are not yet possible for that grade. The data supporting the following rankings are found at the Nation’s Report Card website (link below the rankings).

2009 4th Grade Math

White students: Texas 254, Wisconsin 250 (national average 248)

Black students: Texas 231, Wisconsin 217 (national 222)

Hispanic students: Texas 233, Wisconsin 228 (national 227)

2009 8th Grade Math

White students: Texas 301, Wisconsin 294 (national 294)

Black students: Texas 272, Wisconsin 254 (national 260)

Hispanic students: Texas 277, Wisconsin 268 (national 260)

2009 4th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 232, Wisconsin 227 (national 229)

Black students: Texas 213, Wisconsin 192 (national 204)

Hispanic students: Texas 210, Wisconsin 202 (national 204)

2009 8th Grade Reading

White students: Texas 273, Wisconsin 271 (national 271)

Black students: Texas 249, Wisconsin 238 (national 245)

Hispanic students: Texas 251, Wisconsin 250 (national 248)

2009 4th Grade Science

White students: Texas 168, Wisconsin 164 (national 162)

Black students: Texas 139, Wisconsin 121 (national 127)

Hispanic students: Wisconsin 138, Texas 136 (national 130)

2009 8th Grade Science

White students: Texas 167, Wisconsin 165 (national 161)

Black students: Texas 133, Wisconsin 120 (national 125)

Hispanic students: Texas 141, Wisconsin 134 (national 131)

To recap: white students in Texas perform better than white students in Wisconsin, black students in Texas perform better than black students in Wisconsin, and Hispanic students in Texas perform better than Hispanic students in Wisconsin. In 18 separate ethnicity-controlled comparisons, the only one where Wisconsin students performed better than their peers in Texas was 4th grade science for Hispanic students (statistically insignificant), and this was reversed by 8th grade.

Further, Texas students exceeded the national average for their ethnic cohorts in all 18 comparisons; Wisconsinites were below the national average in 8, above average in 8. That bears repeating: Texas fourth and eighth graders outperformed the national average scores in all categories.

Perhaps the most striking thing in these numbers is the within-state gap between white and minority students. Not only did white Texas students outperform white Wisconsin students, the gap between white students and minority students in Texas was much less than the gap between white and minority students in Wisconsin.

In other words, students perform better in Texas schools than in Wisconsin schools – especially minority students.

16 thoughts on “Things you should know about Rick Perry”

  1. Neil, I’m watching Perry closely. Like you, there’s a lot to like. And some not to like.

    On Aug 11, I did a blog entry about an editorial I saw on his program to cut the pipeline from the classroom to prison. Apparently, a lot of kids who get suspended/expelled end up in jail for one reason or another (go figure). Perry has instituted a program to cut that pipeline.

    The editorial I read was short on details, but very positive. I anxious to hear more about it if you run across anything.

    At the risk of self-promoting, my blog entry is here: http://newfromclt.blogspot.com/2011/08/more-on-education-this-time-with-prison.html

    It contains a link to the editorial.

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  2. Quite frankly, Rick Perry scares me. Yes, the Gardasil decision was horrible, but rather than downplay it as “just one misstep… and besides, he apologized!” I look at it as a serious, very serious character issue. As Michelle Malkin pointed out, it is just one example of many that indicate that what Perry says he is for (small govt), and what he actually does are quite different.

    Additionally, in 2010, Rick Perry vowed to finish his term as TX governor and as recently as May of this year he affirmed he would NOT run for President. He has broken that pledge.

    I have heard of Alex Jones (libertarian political commentator/reporter), but haven’t watched much of him; yet there was this video he made just the other day, and if Alex Jones is right, then Gardasil wasn’t included in the federal protection for vaccines until Perry, as the first US governor, mandated it, and then federal protection kicked in, insulating Merck from any lawsuits stemming from Gardasil injuries or deaths. Even though the mandate was overturned, the federal protection remains, and that is a HUGE protection of profits for Merck — worth billions — even though it technically “did nothing” because the mandate didn’t kick in. And despite what Perry said this week about “going along with the legislators” and quietly accepting and backing off when they tried to curtail his power grab, he actually was quite defiant at the time. So he sounds even more like someone I couldn’t trust.

    Some of Perry’s closest friends and advisors are current, and/or former Merck lobbyists (were current lobbyists at the time of the mandate). So, basically, Rick Perry gave Merck a “get out of lawsuit free” card with his mandate; and quite frankly, vaccine manufacturers **need to be held accountable** when they make dangerous vaccines that injure and kill [brief 5-minute video> on that]. Right now, vaccine manufacturers enjoy immunity from lawsuits from any vaccine damage (including death), PLUS they get all the profits from the sales PLUS they have multiple vaccines mandated/required for things like school and/or day-care attendance — it’s a vaccine manufacturer’s dream!! If you could make a product that you would a) make money from; b) force other people to buy; and c) have freedom from any lawsuits, why WOULDN’T you make such a product, and do everything you could — including buying off politicians — to try to get more people to have to buy your product. That isn’t freedom! — it’s government coercion and crony capitalism!! It’s the antithesis of the Tea Party movement, and stands in stark contrast to everything those of us for small government and parental rights stand for.

    Finally, one of my Texas friends was asked for her opinion of Rick Perry, and she said the following (quoted in full):

    “For what it’s worth (in my opinion) Rick Perry is a golden boy. What I mean by that is regardless of what happens he always seems to come out shining. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Texas was once a weak governor government with the lieutenant governor, house and senate having the most power. In 8 years he (Perry) single-handedly took power away from those institutions and made himself a very strong governor. He has the brutish ability to push things through the house and senate. However, I am not aware of a single thing he is actually responsible for -yet he gets all of the credit for it. Somehow he’s managed to become the longest seated governor in the history of the United States. He has the uncanny ability to be likable, yet perhaps more importantly it’s almost impossible to not like him. On occasion he has come across bullish on certain policies (i.e. Remember the HPV vaccine he mandated for all girls under the age of 16) but at the slightest hint of public disapproval he manages to flip-flop and reverse course. I’m not convinced he’s qualified to lead the U.S., but strangely, based on the past 8 years of Texas politics, he may be the best qualified candidate in the race.”

    Quite frankly, this assessment scares me more than anything else I’ve read. Do we really want a recent “convert” (or possibly, just political posturing, since conservatism gets the votes these days!) who sounds like Rahm Emanuel leading this country? He’d get things done, but WHAT might he do? He now claims to be for small government, but he mandated a vaccine for little girls — how much more government intrusion can you get? And he stuck by that decision as recently as last year, and it’s only been since he joined the race that he has disavowed it. Sounds like pandering to me, and I simply don’t trust him to give him the job of President for four years.

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      1. Nah, but that’s okay. It’s more for your readers than for me. What happened is, in the Gardasil victims video html close tag, I forgot the / before the “a”.

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  3. I don’t mean to come across as insensitive, but come on. You’re going to discount a presidential candidate because of Gardasil? Seriously?

    And to think I was shaking my head at someone the other day because she uses “belief in Darwinian evolution” as her litmus test for a candidate. (She’d rejected Ron Paul for this reason alone. Right decision, wrong test…)

    The fact remains – and is utterly indisputable – that Texas has a stellar job creation record in these recession years, and it’s hard to imagine that the governor had absolutely nothing to do with it or that it occurred in spite of him rather than because of him. He himself has said that the secret lies in keeping taxes low. Centuries of American economic history verifies that. Other than stopping Iran from going nuclear and killing Al Queda dirt bags, I can’t think of a more important thing for a president to be focused on.

    The performance of the Texas school system vs that of liberal states is icing on the cake.

    The man is an ardent social conservative, a quality I find absolutely essential in a US president. (I do not subscribe to the Libertarian live-and-let-live view – society does have an interest in maintaining certain moral standards of behavior, whether mandated or not.) I also have every reason to think he’d be strong on defense, strong on gun rights (hello, he’s a Texan) and bring to the Oval Office pretty much everything I liked about Bush.

    Weren’t Perry and Bush pretty tight back in TX? Perry has been governor ever since Bush left to become president. How bad can he be?

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s Perry 2012, hopefully with Bachmann and Palin occupying the VP slot or various Cabinet seats. (If Palin doesn’t want to be veep, she’d make a fine Sec of Energy. And I can dream, but I’d like to see AZ’s Maricopa Co sheriff Arpaio as head of ICE.)

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    1. It is telling that Obama & Co. are claiming they are glad Perry is leading. Anyone believe them? Of course not. If they really wanted Perry over Romney they wouldn’t have the Sec. of Education singling Perry out.

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    2. “The man is an ardent social conservative” — what part of mandating Gardasil fits the profile of being conservative?

      Fact: all vaccines can and do cause injury or death to some recipients.
      Fact: Gardasil was primarily tested not against a saline placebo (an inert substance) but was tested against an aluminum injection which by itself can cause health problems or death, therefore it is “safe” compared to a dangerous substance, not compared to a truly safe substance.
      Fact: many girls and women have experienced severe and/or long-term negative health problems and/or death after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.
      Fact: Merck is protected by federal law from any lawsuits stemming from illness or death caused by Gardasil.
      Fact: Dr. Diane Harper, lead researcher of Gardasil has serious problems with the way it is being used — specifically, that it is given to girls younger than were studied (so she calls it an experiment being done on them), and that girls are not getting Pap smears prior to it being given (there is evidence to suggest that if they already have active HPV, the risk of cancer **increases** if they receive Gardasil).
      Fact: Gardasil was “fast-tracked” to market, so long-term safety and efficacy studies were not done.
      Fact: According to the fast-tracking guidelines, Gardasil was supposed to have post-marketing safety and efficacy studies done, and they still have not been completed.
      Fact: Less than one year after Gardasil came to market, Rick Perry mandated that all girls receive a vaccine that can and does cause injury and death to some girls, despite a lack of safety and efficacy studies done, despite a lack of studies done on girls of that age, despite the fact that he’s not a doctor and is therefore not qualified to make such a medical decision for thousands of people, and despite the fact that such a decision is for the parents of the girls to decide. Fact: He did this after heavy lobbying by Merck, who stood to gain billions of dollars of profit by such a move.

      The Gardasil mandate is an EXAMPLE of why I don’t like him, not the sole reason I don’t support him. The Gardasil mandate is why I discount him for the primary and will not support him to become the Republican candidate and will work against him winning the nomination; but if he becomes the Republican candidate, the Gardasil mandate alone will not keep me from voting for him for President. However, the Gardasil mandate gives an indication of his thought and decision-making process, and what I see is someone who is in bed with Merck, and is sold to the highest bidder, and sets aside his “conservative” ethics either due to pressure from his friends and advisors (who also happened to be Merck lobbyists) or due to dirty politics and “crony capitalism”. We don’t need any more dirty politics and crony capitalism, Republican or Democrat.

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      1. Kathy, wow, tell us how you really feel. As someone who is currently undecided on the candidates, I appreciate your information. You’ve helped me understand the Gardasil issue. When the drug came out, my girls were past the point where it was an issue for them directly and in SC we rarely mandate anything (e.g. motorcycle helmets are optional), but I knew it was a big issue to a lot of others. Your comments help me understand…

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      2. 😀 Yeah, subtlety is not often my strong suit. 😉

        I don’t like mandates for vaccines anyway, and am skeptical of most vaccines (think the risk outweighs the benefits), but I am quite tuned into Gardasil for a variety of reasons, and think it should be taken off the market, so for it to be mandated is extremely troublesome to me.

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      3. I agree on the opposition to vaccine mandates and was not happy with what Perry did at the time. I blogged on my Gardasil concerns back then.

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  4. I love the numbers you provided about Texas educational performance v. Wisconsin. I have seen it before but it is still compelling. However, it probably will not convince people still struggling to under stand how LOWERING a tax rate can INCREASE revenue to the government.

    Rick Perry is certainly the best pure politican I have seen since Bill Clinton. I remember P.J. O”Rourke discussing how likeable most politicans were. They have to be to be elected. But Rick Perry really shines brighter than most. In the end, I think he can probably get the most votes. And winning this next election is what is important. Rick Perry may not be anyone’s top choice but he is far preferable than another four yours of this president.

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  5. “I hope that when the Republican candidate beats Obama that he or she puts most of the rest of the field in high level cabinet spots.”

    Sounds good to me!

    As for the Gardasil incident, from what I’ve heard, I certainly agree that it was a bad choice on Perry’s part.

    That said, first of all, as bad as it was, in some respects I don’t think it was as bad as some people think.

    Second, the fact that it’s practically the only bad thing about him that anyone can come up with seems like a really good sign to me. As Neil said, Jesus isn’t running in 2012. I think Perry is probably the best candidate available at this point.

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