I attended the governor’s speech to the realtors yesterday. If the Hutchison folks videotaped it, they got an eyeful, and not one that they would have liked. He was greeted with a robust ovation accompanied by the waving of placards that said, “Realtors for Perry.” I was standing outside the room at the time, and it was LOUD, even through closed doors. My summary of the speech, which follows, reflects my notes, not the actual text. * * * * Perry knows how to connect with his constituency. Near the beginning of his remarks, he said, “I don’t know how many of you watch Fox News,” and then he dropped his voice a little and said in a knowing tone of voice, “but I suppose most of you do.” Most of his speech was about the economy. He quoted Steve Wynn — I assume he was referring to the Las Vegas casino developer — as saying, “The only thing that helps [in a recession] is giving people a job,” and then added that this is what he spends much of his time doing as governor, getting jobs for Texas. “There is nothing more important that a governor does than give someone a job, to take care of his or her family.” “And here is something else Steve Winn says,” he added. “The biggest obstacle that working people have is government spending.” This drew another ovation. “These two sentences capture the heart of conservatism better than anything else,” he said. More outtakes from the speech: * “We have had two state budgets since World War II that cut general revenue state spending, and I signed both of them.” * “I have vetoed over $3 billion in spending. It doesn’t hurt to cut spending.” * “Where do you want to live if freedom is at the top of your list? Texas. It’s a safe harbor in these tough economic times.” Much of it is familiar by now: More jobs created here than the other 49 states combined … an economy that is not just deep but diverse … Instead of taking the Washington approach of beating companies down with the heavy hand of regulation, we have an incentive based approach … Washington paid too much attention to those alarmists in the radical green movement … The cap-and-trade law would destroy the Texas economy. At one point he interrupted his speech to urge the people in the audience to take out their cell phones. He transformed himself into an Aggie yell leader. “Put in that you’re fed up,” he urged them. “No, put in that you’re FIRED up. “Then text it to [and he gave the number]. It comes directly to me.” Perry switched into what he had done for public education. “We are creating a skilled work force with our accountable school system. We provide more incentive pay for teachers than any other state. Public education spending is up 43% in 9 years. Since 2003, we increased spending for public schools by $1.83 billion. We’ve increased financial aid by 90% over the same period of time.” “We’re protecting people’s freedoms by securing our own borders. The Legislature provided $110 million for the securing the border. We sent Ranger recon teams to take the fight to the drug smugglers who are poisoning our children.” “It’s frustrating to deal with the federal government. They are supposed to provide a strong military, secure our borders, and deliver the mail.” [Pause] “Well, one out of three ain’t bad.” He ended by talking about the challenges, which demand “strong executive leadership.” (Read: no senators need apply.) After running through proposals that he wants to see adopted, such as a 2/3 vote to increase state taxes, he ended with, “We all need to send Washington a message. Stop the spending. Stop the bailouts.” It was a very effective speech. Perry is a polished performer on the stump. He is a formidable politician. He isn’t ready for the national stage yet, but he’s getting close.
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