Gov. Rick Perry kicked off day two of the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference with a barn burner. Perry's remarks were full of red meat for the mostly young Conservative audience, well delivered and even more well received. Perry's speech was by far the highlight of this year's CPAC, at least so far.
Gov. Perry started off by quoting Thomas Jefferson, "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing." He suggested that it's time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas. Perry told the audience that instead of looking to Washington they should look to the states -- red states run by governors like led by governors like Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Rick Scott, to find the rebellious ideas to restore individual freedom, limited government and opportunity.
Perry told the excited audience that the states led by those Conservative governors share certain common denominators including, tax cutting, controlling spending and trusting the people more than government.
After touting his record of governing Texas, Perry said the red state-blue state debate is about the future of America.
It was a great speech. So has Gov. Perry been practicing his debate skills?
You can watch the speech in the accompanying video or read his remarks below.
Transcript of Governor Perry's remarks at CPAC 2014.
"Good morning. It is good to stand in the presence of American Patriots.
I am reminded this morning of words that speak to the American soul…words spoken by Thomas Jefferson, who said “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.”
My friends, our country is in peril. Our debt is at record amounts. Our economic recovery is stagnant. Our place in the world weakened.
So I have a simple suggestion - It is time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas.But instead of looking to Washington to find the front lines of this battle, I ask you to look to the states, where we find the laboratories of innovation, and 50 different experiments in democracy taking place.
Among the states we see two visions for America. There’s the vision common in blue states, where the state plays an increasing role in the lives of its citizens. In these states, taxes are on the rise. Pension programs are out of control and jobs are leaving by the truckloads.
And then there’s the vision common to red state America where the freedom of the individual comes first, and the reach of government is limited. In these states, taxes are low, spending is under control, jobs are on the rise and opportunity is being sought far and wide.
We see opportunity flourishing in states led by governors like Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker and Rick Scott.
Under Nikki Haley, South Carolina moved 20,000 citizens from welfare to work. Under Bobby Jindal, Louisiana has become more competitive for jobs by implementing smart regulations.
Under Scott Walker, red state principles were brought to Wisconsin. The public union leaders balked, and instigated a massive disruption of government. But because Governor Walker had the courage to reform pension programs fairly the people of Wisconsin didn't recall him. They stood behind him, they re-elected him!
And under Rick Scott, Florida’s unemployment rate has dropped for three straight years, when just four years prior his predecessor presided over the loss of more than 800,000 jobs. And now that guy wants his job back. And with a record like that, appropriately he seeks it as a Democrat.
What is the common denominator in these states? Conservative governors who cut taxes,control spending and invest in jobs.
Conservative governors who trust the people more than the machinery of government. Conservative governors who know the freedom of the individual must come before the power of the state.
The contrast with blue states is crystal clear. Pick any two. Well, heck, let’s big the biggest two - New York and California. From the East Coast to the West Coast no two states have lost more personal income to otherstates than New York and California.
If you rent a U-Haul to move your company, it costs twice as much to go from San Francisco to Austin than the other way around because you can’t find enough trucks to flee the Golden State.
New York has an advertisement about the “new” New York, but they implement the tired, old recipe of back-breaking taxes and regulations larger than a Big Gulp.
Now, let’s pick a large red state. Shoot, let’s pick Texas?
We cut taxes, didn’t spend all the money, created fair and predictable regulations and stopped personal injury trial lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits.
We have created 30 percent of the nation’s jobs while keeping taxes among the lowest in the nation. We have presided over not only an energy boom, but the nation’s largest population boom and an economic boom of monumental proportion.
We have demonstrated that no state can tax and spend its way to prosperity, but with the right policies you can grow your way there.
The red state-blue state debate matters because it is about the future of America.
The vision that wins out either the big government, protectionist, nanny state version offered by liberal leaders or the limited government, unsubsidized, freedom state offered by conservative leaders will determine the future of our nation.
America cannot sustain its current fiscal course. We cannot continue to borrow trillions from bankers in Beijing, Brazil and Tokyo.
The downgrading of our credit for the first time two years ago should not have surprised anyone. Our leaders were fighting over a few billion in spending cuts while our debt has soared by trillions in the last five years.
How can the greatest nation on earth continue to spend its way to astounding debt without the bill ever coming due?
How can we explode federal and state budgets with unreformed entitlement programs without the bill ever coming due?
How can we appease a Syrian tyrant, and embolden his Russian ally, without the bill ever coming due?
There is a price to be paid for policies that destroy our economy and embolden our foreign enemies.
And I am here today to say we don’t have to accept recent history. We just have to change the presidency.
It is not too late for America to lead in the world. But it starts by leading at home. And it starts by returning to the founding principles of our democracy found in the Constitution.
Among the enumerated powers of Congress are the power 'To lay and collect Taxes…to pay Debts and provide for the common Defense.' 'To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.' 'To declare War, to raise and support Armies, to provide and maintain a Navy.'
But Nowhere does the Constitution declare we can federalize classrooms. Nowhere does it give federal officials primary responsibility over the air we breathe, the land we farm, the water we drink.
And nowhere does it say Congress shall nationalize healthcare.
It is inherent in human nature once given power to never give it back. And let me tell you something - this human tendency is a bipartisan offense.
That’s why we must elect the right kind of leaders to represent us in Washington. Leaders who devolve power to the states and not rob them of it.
Leaders who believe in free markets and not a bigger federal government. Leaders who respect the freedom of the individual instead of depriving them of the power to realize a dream.
It is time for Washington to focus on the few things the Constitution establishes as the federal government’s role, defend our country, provide a cogent foreign policy and deliver the mail.
And get out of the healthcare business, get out of the education business, stop hammering industry. And let the sleeping giant of American enterprise create prosperity again.
My fellow conservatives, the future of this nation is up to you and belongs to you.
You have the power to change America. You have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to age-old dreams.
You are the path to the future - a light on a distant shore.
And you represent renewed hope that America can be great again.
Thank you, and God bless you."