Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas, called for a return to federalism on Friday in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Quoting Thomas Jefferson, Perry said, “It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas… instead of looking to Washington, look to the states.”
The states, Perry argued, are “laboratories of innovation.” It is time to elect national leaders “who devolve power to the states, not rob them of it.”
“It is time for Washington to focus on the few things the constitution establishes as the federal government’s role,” Perry told the receptive crowd. The federal government should “get out of the health care business…get out of the education business… [and] stop hammering industry.”
According to Perry, there are two visions of America at the state level.
In blue states, Perry said, taxes are out of control and jobs are fleeing. In red states, “freedom of the individual comes first. Taxes are low, spending is under control, and jobs are on the rise.”
Perry singled out four Republican governors whose conservative policies are leading to economic growth in their states: Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Rick Scott in Florida.
“Let’s pick the two biggest [blue states], New York and California. No two states have lost more personal income to other states,” Perry said. He noted that “it costs twice as much to hire a truck to move from California to Texas as it does to hire a truck to move from Texas to California… You can’t find enough trucks to flee the Golden State.”
Perry cited Texas, the state where he has served as governor for over a decade, as an excellent example of “Red State” success.” We cut taxes, we didn’t spend all the money… we made predictable regulations… we created 30% of the nation’s new jobs.”
As a result, Perry said, Texas has an “economic boom of monumental proportions.”
Perry concluded by saying “the red state-blue state debate really matters” because “the vision that wins out… will determine the future of our nation.”
“There is a price to be paid for policies that destroy our economy and embolden our foreign enemies,” Perry warned.
The Texas governor ended on an upbeat note. “It’s not too late for America to lead in the world but it starts by leading at home.”
“We don’t have to accept recent history,” Perry said. “We just have to change the presidency.”