Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Captain Rick Perry: Time for a Military Man in the White House?

 

“More than any election since 1980,” ace pollster Kellyanne Conway tells me, “2016 will be a national-security contest.” And she says former governor Rick Perry may have the best chance to convince voters that he can be commander-in-chief.

Let’s think on that. With the world in turmoil, who do you really want sitting across the negotiating table from Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs, or the Chinese? How about a military man to command the war to destroy radical-Islamic jihadism?

Very few people know that between 1972 and 1977, Perry served in the U.S. Air Force, flying C-130 tactical aircraft in Europe and the Middle East. He is the only current GOP candidate to have worn the military uniform. And he rarely talks about it.

Perry’s childhood goal was to learn to fly. He went into the Air Force after graduating from Texas A&M. And he ended his five years of service with the rank of captain. As Perry would say on other subjects, “That matters.”

The Perry story usually revolves around the Texas economic-growth miracle. But the military service? The captain’s rank? The piloting of strategic-airlift planes? That’s hardly known. And in his 14 years as governor of the Lone Star state, plenty of national-security issues (and border-security issues) came across his desk.

So imagine this: A president who actually served in the regular military. A president who understands the military, listens to the military, and has good relations with the military — the opposite of the Obama experience.

And imagine having a president who looks forward to the daily intelligence briefing, completely unlike Obama. What a change.

Perry spoke last week at a small dinner in New York City. Few there knew Perry had worn the Air Force uniform, much less that he held the rank of captain. But as he addressed the 50 or so at the dinner, it showed. It showed in his ramrod-straight posture. It showed when he described his tough foreign-policy views and opposition to Obama’s national-security policies. And it was unmistakable when he so easily discussed the constant need for “a show of force.”

Haven’t heard that phrase from anyone lately. My wife, whose father was a career Air Force officer, describes “a show of force” as something to intimidate the enemy. She says it means: We’re here, we’re stronger, and we could really hurt you. You might recall that during the Cold War, hundreds of C-130s flew over Europe as a show of force against Soviet aggression.

At the recent CPAC conference, Perry devoted nearly two-thirds of his speech to national-security issues. He described a simple truth about current U.S. foreign policy: “Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us.” He sees ISIS and the whole radical-Islamic-jihadist movement as the worst threat to freedom since communism.

In his New York talk, he expressed concern that our military is hollowing out. He’s actually running an ad on the Internet about the need to strengthen American national security. No other candidate is doing this.

Perry also strongly supports Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. From what we know of the Obama Iran deal, it looks like a very bad deal indeed. And Perry draws attention to how Team Obama has backpedaled on a number of Iran-deal issues, with the result that Iran could be allowed to build nuclear weapons while boosting its economy.

Perry says: No, Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. He says: No, the U.S. should not normalize relations with Iran until Iran ceases to support terrorist groups that ultimately will target the U.S. and its allies.

Finally, Perry has adopted the Reagan model whereby America must be economically strong in order to be internationally secure.

Unlike his military credentials, his role in the Texas economic miracle is well known. While Perry was governor, low taxes, deregulation, and tort reform led to the creation of nearly one-third of the new private-sector jobs in America. He’s a Tenth Amendment man. He loves it when states compete against each other to create a climate of risk-taking and growth. And he wants to bring the Texas economic model to Washington.

Now, it’s way too early to endorse anyone for the GOP nomination. That’s not my intent here. But it’s important to bring out the facts about all the Republican presidential candidates. And most of you might only know half the story about Rick Perry. He’s an economic miracle worker, but he’s also a military man with national-security credibility.

And in typical military fashion, he’s an optimist. Perry has faith. And he believes America’s best days are in front of us.

Sounds like a show of force.

There are 19 comments.

  1. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Rick Perry did a wonderful job during his fourteen years as governor of Texas. He would make a fine president.

    • #1
    • March 6, 2015, at 4:13 PM PST
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  2. BastiatJunior Member

    Perry is one of my top three, the other two being Walker and Jindal.

    • #2
    • March 6, 2015, at 4:41 PM PST
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  3. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Indeed. How can he overcome the oops moment of last cycle? I have no doubt he’d be a fine president, and that he is the exact antithesis of Obama, but how can he actually get elected?

    • #3
    • March 6, 2015, at 5:09 PM PST
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  4. MarciN Member

    Larry Kudlow:“More than any election since 1980,” ace pollster Kellyanne Conway tells me, “2016 will be a national-security contest.” And she says former governor Rick Perry may have the best chance to convince voters that he can be commander-in-chief.

    Let’s think on that. With the world in turmoil, who do you really want sitting across the negotiating table from Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs, or the Chinese? How about a military man to command the war to destroy radical-Islamic jihadism?

    Very few people know that between 1972 and 1977, Perry served in the U.S. Air Force, flying C-130 tactical aircraft in Europe and the Middle East. He is the only current GOP candidate to have worn the military uniform.

    That impressive experience combined with his support for Israel–which is more than academic, given his military background–would push Perry to the top of my list. :)

    Now that Mitt Romney has left the race, I’ll have to get to know the other candidates. :)

    • #4
    • March 6, 2015, at 5:30 PM PST
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  5. Kermit Hoffpauir Inactive

    BastiatJunior:Perry is one of my top three, the other two being Walker and Jindal.

    Jindal has made a total mess of the budget here in Louisiana. How many billion will our small state be short on funding the obese budget this year, is the question. Only high oil prices (much of the state funding is from oil royalties) have kept the state afloat the last several year.

    • #5
    • March 6, 2015, at 5:47 PM PST
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  6. Kermit Hoffpauir Inactive

    Larry Kudlow:Unlike his military credentials, his role in the Texas economic miracle is well known. While Perry was governor, low taxes, deregulation, and tort reform led to the creation of nearly one-third of the new private-sector jobs in America. He’s a Tenth Amendment man. He loves it when states compete against each other to create a climate of risk-taking and growth. And he wants to bring the Texas economic model to Washington.

    He’s certainly at the top of my list, but it seems that he missed his perfect moment by waiting to have the back surgery between the state legislative special sessions and entering the primary in 2011.

    Dewhurst. as the Lt. Gov who has more actual power than the governor in Texas, was the one who got the tort reform through, both times.

    • #6
    • March 6, 2015, at 5:52 PM PST
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  7. MarciN Member

    I live on Cape Cod, and for twenty years my town had the best town manager in Massachusetts. He was amazing. Our town ran like a well-oiled machine. Everything was perfect. Just perfect.

    I found out when he retired that he is a Marine.

    Explains that polished brass in our town hall. :)

    • #7
    • March 6, 2015, at 6:02 PM PST
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  8. Nick Stuart Inactive

    We need a fighter. Walker demonstrated it when he took on the unions in Wisconsin. Maybe Perry is one also.

    The 2016 election is not going to be about issues per se, it’s going to be about whether the Republican is ready to take the fight to the Democrat and not let up.

    • #8
    • March 6, 2015, at 6:14 PM PST
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  9. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MarciN: Our town ran like a well-oiled machine.

    I would never want government to run like a well oiled machine. That’s called tyranny. We have divisions of government for a reason.

    Hell, I’d be willing to pay more taxes if I were guaranteed “gridlock.”

    If You are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive You, but the bureaucracy won’t.

    • #9
    • March 6, 2015, at 7:00 PM PST
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  10. MarciN Member

    Jimmy Carter:

    MarciN: Our town ran like a well-oiled machine.

    I would never want government to run like a well oiled machine. That’s called tyranny. We have divisions of government for a reason.

    Hell, I’d be willing to pay more taxes if I were guaranteed “gridlock.”

    If You are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive You, but the bureaucracy won’t.

    Yeah, but, it sure is nice when the streets get plowed. And the ambulance shows up.

    And town meeting goes smoothly.

    • #10
    • March 6, 2015, at 7:55 PM PST
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  11. Calvin Coolidg Inactive

    I think Perry would do a great job as president!

    • #11
    • March 6, 2015, at 9:41 PM PST
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  12. Dick from Brooklyn Thatcher
    Dick from Brooklyn Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This may be wishful thinking, but perhaps Perry’s perceived weakness (his lackluster debate performances) could be a strategic advantage.

    If the media and the opposing operatives hone in on a single moment of weakness, Perry could laugh at himself a bit (people like that), but chalk it up to a legal, prescription-drug-addled haze and hammer home his economic bona fides.

    I can imagine a debate coup-de-grace in which Perry turns to the camera and says:

    “Look, everyone knows that sometimes I can’t even count to three. (wait for the laugh) But if a guy like me can get such great results from free-market economics, how *DUMB* or *DOGMATIC* must Ms. Clinton/Warren be to want to do the opposite?”

    • #12
    • March 7, 2015, at 5:42 AM PST
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  13. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dick from Brooklyn:This may be wishful thinking, but perhaps Perry’s perceived weakness (his lackluster debate performances) could be a strategic advantage.

    If the media and the opposing operatives hone in on a single moment of weakness, Perry could laugh at himself a bit (people like that), but chalk it up to a legal, prescription-drug-addled haze and hammer home his economic bona fides.

    I can imagine a debate coup-de-grace in which Perry turns to the camera and says:

    “Look, everyone knows that sometimes I can’t even count to three. (wait for the laugh) But if a guy like me can get such great results from free-market economics, how *DUMB* or *DOGMATIC* must Ms. Clinton/Warren be to want to do the opposite?”

    Very funny. And true. I agree. Perry could do the “Aw shucks, folks” thing that so many Texans have down pat* and charm his way out of the situation.

    * I know that move. I grew up in Texas and my dad was a West-Texas born & raised deal maker.

    • #13
    • March 7, 2015, at 9:47 AM PST
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  14. Concretevol Thatcher

    I am still holding out hope that Perry is seriously prepared this go around. He and Walker are my favorites. I will be interested in seeing where they differ on policy.

    • #14
    • March 7, 2015, at 10:11 AM PST
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  15. MJBubba Inactive

    I like Perry very much. He is my second choice.

    So, why did he pull only 4% in the Ricochet poll last week ?

    • #15
    • March 7, 2015, at 12:59 PM PST
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  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    I think–old-fashioned, I know–that service in the military should be a minimum prerequisore of a Commander-in-Chief. I would go further: “Combat experience should be, and a lot of it.”

    That’s where I start, on foreign policy. Not where I end. The military is a hugely important foreign policy tool. But we need many more. It cannot be the only one. By the time you’re using the military, you’ve already failed. It is there to prevent having to use it.

    If Perry can persuade me that he understands all the other tools, I am surely willing to listen. I want to hear about massive intelligence reform, trade policy, boosting our foreign language capacity in a far more meaningful way, and a long-term vision of foreign policy based on a real knowledge and good instincts about what the world beyond America is really like–not our cliches about what it’s like. I would be relieved to discover he shares the kinds of instincts that my experience tell me are deeply important–more so than most Americans think, but I think I have the good argumets on my side.

    I haven’t forgotten Perry suggesting that Turkey is “run by terrorists” and suggesting we cut their aid to “zero.” A slip, perhaps. But it told me he’d never asked himself, “How much aid does Turkey in fact receive? Is it being run by terrorists as any American would imagine the term?” Or by something much more like what I saw–corrupt, Turkish authoritarians who market themselves as “brand Islam-lite”–and are indeed far too cozy with real terrorists–but who don’t believe their own branding for a second, and in fact use it as an electoral strategy when it works–but will also use “any old thing that works, so long as they’re in power and making money.”

    Not trivial distinctions, nor distinctions without a difference. The concern to me isn’t that they’re terrorists, but that they’re authoritarians who play a very dangerous game with Sunni chauvinism–one they may not be able to control. And in fact are not able to control. The difference between one and the other suggests a very different strategy. Getting that wrong is more wrong than we can afford to get wrong.

    But I agree: A Commander-in-Chief who grasps that the military’s no mere decoration may well understand why this difference is important. So I’d hear him our a second time.

    • #16
    • March 7, 2015, at 1:19 PM PST
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  17. LC Member
    LC Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    He’ll get my vote if he runs.

    • #17
    • March 8, 2015, at 2:55 PM PDT
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  18. Emerson Member

    MJBubba:I like Perry very much. He is my second choice.

    So, why did he pull only 4% in the Ricochet poll last week ?

    Probably because he’s a lot of people’s second choice, mine included.

    -E

    • #18
    • March 9, 2015, at 1:45 AM PDT
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  19. Mr. Dart Inactive

    “He is the only current GOP candidate to have worn the military uniform.”

    So states Mr. Kudlow. But, it isn’t true. After all, Lindsey Graham is as much a candidate today as Gov. Perry.

    Graham joined the US Air Force in 1982 and was on active duty 1984-89. Upon leaving the USAF he joined the SC Air National Guard and his time there spanned 1989- 1995. He joined the US Air Force Reserve in 1995 and is currently a Colonel.

    So, Sen. Graham has “worn the uniform” in one way or another from 1982-2015 and counting.

    I don’t point this out because I support Graham for the nomination, I don’t. Of the two I prefer Gov. Perry. But, Lindsey Graham, if he runs for the nomination, will do so because of foreign policy and, specifically, the military. We should at least be aware of his bona fides in that area, like him or not.

    • #19
    • March 10, 2015, at 7:28 AM PDT
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