Skip to comments.Rick Perry, the Democratic years: the politician before he became a conservative Republican
Posted on 07/30/2011 1:04:11 PM PDT by freespirited
Gov. Rick Perry, a no-apologies conservative known for slashing government spending and opposing all tax increases, is about as Republican as you can get.
But that wasnt always the case.
Perry spent his first six years in politics as a Democrat, in a somewhat forgotten history that is sure to be revived and scrutinized by Republican opponents if he decides to run for president.
A raging liberal he was not. Elected to represent a slice of rural West Texas in the state House of Representatives in 1984, Perry, a young rancher and cotton farmer, gained an early reputation as a fiscal conservative. He was one of a handful of freshman pit bulls, so named because they sat in the lower pit of the House Appropriations Committee, where they fought to keep spending low.
But Perry cast some votes and took a few stands that seem to be at odds with the fiscal conservatism he champions today. The most vivid example is Perrys support of the $5.7 billion tax hike in 1987, signed by Republican Gov. Bill Clements but opposed by most of the GOP members...
Almost a quarter century later, Perry, as governor, was faced with a similarly sized budget shortfall. But he took a markedly different tack in 2011: He opposed any new taxes, and signed a budget that made the first reduction in overall spending on public education since at least 1949.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.chron.com ...
Perry spent his first six years in politics as a Democrat... A raging liberal he was not. Elected to represent a slice of rural West Texas in the state House of Representatives in 1984, Perry, a young rancher and cotton farmer, gained an early reputation as a fiscal conservative.
Bill Clinton cured me of it.
Now I'm a raging uber-conservative Tea Party political animal.
Sometimes it takes a moment, whether from outside forces or internal meditation, to make you realign your priorities and find your center. I found mine; I can trust that Perry found his.
“Another political move Perry made back then: He was a top Texas supporter and organizer in 1988 for Al Gore, who ran as a southern conservative rather than the populist reformer he eventually became as the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee.
I came to my senses, Perry likes to say when asked about his Gore days.”
I guess this is the killer for me (as if I need another one). The Democrats had just tried to (and nearly did) IMPEACH Reagan for Iran-Contra, which was based on a SICK law that prohibited the president from aiding countries that tried to fight off Communism.
How Perry could stay part of that party, and then openly campaign for them to take the White House is absolutely MIND BOGGLING. I do remember those days, and I do admit that Gore was moderate in the Senate (his last days of being that way, by the way...) but my God, his party’s HATRED of Reagan at that time even exceeds ANYTHING you hear in politics today.
Yes, I know that Gramm and Reagan were Democrats, but both got out long before this crap happened. Perry seemed to be a VERY SLOW learner of what was going on in Washington. As I mentioned before, if he had been successful with Gore we’d be 20 years further down the road to Socialism right now.
I can see Reagan being a Democrat in the 1930s and 1940s, before he started campaigning for Republicans in the 1950s, after all that was before the 60s and Vietnam and Abortion and Gay Rights, and Feminism and Jimmy Carter, The Reagan Revolution, Etc.
It does puzzle me being AGAINST The Reagan Revolution, supporting Carter in 1980, supporting Mondale in 1984, supporting Al Gore in 1988, and enlisting and becoming leadership in the left DURING the Reagan Presidency and the ending of the Cold War.
How does the 1980s and President Reagan, turn a natural born conservative, INTO a Democrat politician and Democrat opposition leader?
Typical, you are born a liberal and die a conservative...as aging makes you wiser (most of us, anyway).
I don't think Reagan turned him into anything. There was a long line of more or less conservative Southern Democrats and Perry seems to have been bringing up the rear.
Charlie Wilson (of the Tom Hanks movie fame) was another. They certainly weren't against Reagan's Cold War policies. They were just yellow dog Democrats following a 100-year tradition.
Having a father who took him to Sam Rayburn's funeral probably did something to keep Perry in that tradition. He's not my candidate for anything, but I doubt he was acting out of a strong negative reaction to Reagan.
You know nothing about Texas politics. In the 1980’s, Republicans were rare in Texas. A lot of the Democrats were pretty conservative. So it is not unusual that a conservative from west Texas would be a Dem. And can you substantiate your claim that Perry was in the “leadership of the left”? I didn’t think so.
Even during the Vietnam War, the Draft, everything that you know about the 60s, 52% of the 18 to 29 year old vote went for Richard Nixon.
In the heart of the Reagan Revolution in the same year that Rick Perry decided to run as a Democrat candidate for Congress, 1984, 59% of the 18 to 29 year old vote went Republican.
The old saying that I didn't leave the party, the party left me, still stands today. The majority of Conservatives, like me, were Democrats at one point in our young lives.
Some of us just grew up and smelled the bullsh*t. Onward, Christian soldiers! Proud to be a Conservative every damn day of my life! And you are correct about most Democrats being conservative!
I voted for Dukakis in '88. My fisrt Pres. election vote cast was for this loser.
I have since changed my ways.
I am a born and raised Texan, my stepfather held elective office in Texas.
In 1980 Reagan carried Texas by 55%, in 1984 when Perry was enlisting to become a Democrat leader, the Republicans carried Texas by 64%, in 1988 Reagan's veep carried Texas by 56%.
Were you voting Democrat in those years, working for Democrat Presidential candidates in those years? I wasn't.
Perry is NOT to be trusted.
Step carefully when heaping accolades and praise upon him.
He talks big bluster about border security and then lets the Texas special legislative session end without passing
“sanctuary city” legislation.
He could have told big Republican donors like Charles Butts of (HEB food stores)..... adios mofo!! But instead he caved.
More like - The Democratic years - Before he became a RINO.
Perry didn't, The Reagan years is when he chose to become a Captain for the Democrats, a 1984 Congressional Democrat candidate, and Al Gores's campaign manager against Reagan's veep in 1988.
To understand this, you need to freshen up history of the South prior to president Lyndon B. Johnson (D). The South had been markedly, almost religiously, Democrat since Reconstruction, that is, since the end of the US Civil War.
This was a very different Democrat party than cripples the country today. The southern Democrats were liberal in some ways, conservative is some ways, and many of them were deeply offensive in some ways such as racism. But they were *not* radical leftists, of the type that could be found in the northeast of the US.
In two successive elections, in 1968 and 1972, the northeastern liberals first crippled the southern Democrats, and then pushed them entirely out of the power structure of the Democrat party.
The northeastern liberals thought they had done so with the election of JFK, but with his death, LBJ, a Texan, became president, and being a southerner stole the radical leftist ascendancy and returned it to the South. So they spent most of his term trying to undermine him, to the point where he refused to run for reelection.
The first coup attempt was then in 1968, where the radical left put forth Hubert Humphrey, who was a northerner, if not from the northeast, and philosophically supportive of the radicals agenda. That was so offensive to southerners that they split the party, and ran George Wallace as their candidate.
This threw the election to Republican Richard Nixon. But from that point, the radicals decided to purge the South from the Democratic leadership ranks. Importantly, it should be remembered that even stripped of power, the southern Democrat leaders remained Democrats.
The Dixiecrat leaders who split from the party remained with the party, with one, and only one, prominent defection: Strom Thurmond, who became a Republican. And the Dixiecrat leaders, proud defenders of segregation, remained Democrats to their dying day.
Finally, in the 1972 presidential election, the coup was completed, the northern radicals completely controlled the Democrat party, and have since shunned southern Democrats and their ideas.
With all that as background, the fractured southern Democrat rank and file no longer had a political party, and finding conservatism much more appealing than radical leftism, they have migrated to a new home in the Republican party.
Importantly, the most vile parts of the southern Democrats could never abide conservatism, so have remained behind as Democrats, concealing their true feelings and thoughts under a veneer of radicalism.
To be fair, the Al Gore of 1988 didn't look much to his fellow Southern congressmen like the Al Gore of later years. If they were wrong, it was a common perception.
And a lot of Reaganites weren't crazy about the prospect of George H.W. Bush in the White House. I'm not sure they were entirely wrong.
I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, just saying that it's possible to overstate the case against Perry.
If you were alive, fully grown, politically oriented, and remember the 1980s, there was no way not to have a strong reaction to Reagan, you reacted either strongly positive, or strongly negative, Perry became an active Democrat leader and campaigner for Al Gore.
Sam Rayburn died in 1961, it didn't influence anyone during the Reagan Revolution.