Rick Perry is far better at mornings than I am. Rick Perry might be better at mornings than almost anyone.
This morning’s round of Presidential contenders featured the Texas governor and Sen. Marco Rubio, but where Rubio was steadfast and eminently relatable, Rick Perry was electric, energizing the tired audience with his trademark Texas-sized personality and his brand new hipster glasses. Being governor of Texas, after all, is like being the Prime Minister of a moderately-sized European country and Rick’s experience is the hallmark of his argument for support.
Like most of yesterday’s potential candidates, Perry hit on economics, particularly as it pertains to the working class, and the President’s inability to execute a strong foreign policy, even in comparison to less typically mighty nations:
Egypt and Jordan recognize that they are at war with radical Islam, isn’t it about time that our president proclaimed the same? We didn’t start this war, nor did choose it, but we will have will to finish it.
Rick Perry differed from his earlier colleagues by focusing, also, on the environment. Perry is proud of his administration’s commitment to sustainability, and while he wouldn’t comment on whether humans were responsible for Climate Change — Sean Hannity, doing the Q&A, made sure to ask — but he extolled the virtues of environmental stewardship and claimed that that would be a hallmark of his continuing political career. Oddly enough, Perry, the first to mention environmentalism, was also the first to mention the Keystone XL pipeline, and the first to criticize the President for his attack on American jobs.
Marco Rubio has a much quieter power. He is outgoing and congenial, and being first, had the unenviable task of warming up the crowd. He did an excellent job approaching some of the themes we’re seeing from all of the potential candidates — national security, working-class jobs and American exceptionalism — but did so by directly hitting the Obama Administration on its bizarre commitment to a domestic jobs creation program, but for our national security threats. According to Rubio, the President is putting more effort toward building employment for ISIS than building the economy at home, or addressing our concerns abroad.
Rubio, of course, was being closely watched over his support of immigration reform. Surprisingly, Rubio took this morning’s speech as an opportunity to moderate his tone on the subject a little bit, avoided a call for a comprehensive change to the immigration system, and focused instead on explaining to the audience his rationale for wanting a fairer policy that judges whether someone can come to this country by their potential economic contributions and not merely by whether they have family willing to sponsor:
It can’t continue to be based on family alone. It has to be based on some sort of merit or economic contribution. And yeah, you have 10 to 12 million people who have lived here, some for longer than a decade, who have not broken any immigration laws, I get all that. But what I’ve learned is that you can’t even have a conversation about that until people believe and know — not believe, but know — that future illegal immigration can be controlled and brought under control.
Obviously, neither Perry nor Rubio would commit to a 2016 run, but both think they would make a better President than Hillary Clinton, no matter how low of a bar that might happen to be.
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