Politics & Government

August 8, 2014

Is this a preview of 2016 GOP presidential primary?

Two potential Texas presidential contenders — Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz — reach out to conservatives gathered in Fort Worth.

Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz agree passionately about at least one thing: It’s time to shake things up Washington.

First, Perry told a crowd of hundreds Friday at the national RedState Gathering at the Worthington Renaissance hotel, Republicans must claim a majority in the U.S. Senate this year. After that, he said, it’s time to put a Republican president in the White House.

More than anything, he said, it’s time for “a little rebellion.”

“Thomas Jefferson was right when he said a little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” Perry said. “Now, faced with another power-hungry oppressive ruler in a faraway place, it’s time for us to start a little rebellion.

“This war that we will fight will be on the battlefield of ideas,” he said. “We’re going to show up” with the Constitution, common sense and conservative values.

Neither Perry — who launched his presidential bid at RedState’s annual gathering in South Carolina three years ago — nor Cruz nor any other potential presidential contenders mentioned whether they would be stepping forward to lead that rebellion.

While both were mum about their future political plans, they both laid the groundwork for future campaigns.

Other leaders talking to the group Friday included Heritage Foundation President and former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint; the Republican nominee for the state Senate District 10 seat, Konni Burton; and state Rep. Scott Turner, a Richardson Republican who hopes to oust House Speaker Joe Straus next year.

Texas Democrats welcomed the Republican leaders to “Wendy Davis’ Fort Worth.”

Davis, D-Fort Worth, is running for governor, as is Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who will speak to the gathering today..

“We assume Republicans are drawn to the economic vitality and first-class amenities [Davis] made possible through her hard work on the Fort Worth City Council and her leadership in the Texas Senate,” said Emmanuel Garcia, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “As the next governor of Texas, we have no doubt Wendy Davis’ economic policies will attract many more conferences, meetings and conventions to the state.

Rick Perry

Perry touted the virtues of Texas, telling the story of how this state has created 35 percent of the country’s new private sector jobs since he became governor in 2000.

Texas’ success, he said, is due to low taxes, fair courts and smart regulations, which lets Texans succeed in business and encourages others to move here as well.

Perry also took the leadership in Washington, D.C., to task.

He said federal leaders have failed on everything from the national healthcare system to protecting Texas’ borders.

“For years, we have had a serious security problem along our border with Mexico as a direct result of this administration,” Perry said. “We are now faced with an unnecessary humanitarian crisis.”

Regarding the thousands of unaccompanied minors who have crossed into Texas, he said it’s time to “do everything we can to reunite them with their families back in their home countries because it is the right thing to do.”

He said adults and criminals crossing into this state need to be stopped as well, which is why he sent National Guard troops to help on the border.

“If Washington won’t act to secure the border, as the governor of Texas, I will,” he said.

Perry, who steps down as governor next year, didn’t mention his future political plans.

“I think he would be a good president,” said Dick Hollenbeck, 58, from Spicewood. “I don’t know if he can get elected. In debates, he’s not quick enough on his feet.

“But his values and his heart are in the right place.”

Perry briefly mentioned his RickPAC political action committee geared to help elect Republicans across the country. It could also be used to help with a presidential bid, should he decide to enter the race.

Ted Cruz

Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, skyrocketed to national attention in 2012 by defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a battle for U.S. Senate that turned into a classic Tea Party-versus-establishment-Republican, David-versus-Goliath fight.

He has remained in headlines for constantly criticizing the Obama administration and the healthcare law.

Friday night, he rallied the crowd, talking about conservative victories in Congress that ranged from the lack of gun control measures to the lifting of the FAA ban of flying over Israel, which he called an economic boycott of Israel.

He predicts the House Republican immigration proposal won’t pass in the Senate this year, but he said it gives voters a clear choice.

“The line has been made very clear for voters in November,” he said, adding that he believes Republicans could pick up more than a dozen seats in the U.S. Senate this year.

Now, at a time where Cruz said Obama has the “lowest approval rating he has ever seen,” the nation’s healthcare system is “an albatross” around the necks of all those who supported it.

“Students of military history know that wars are not typically won on a single battle,” Cruz said. “I think we have laid the foundation for winning the war to repeal Obamacare.

“I believe in 2014, Republicans will retake the Senate and retire Harry Reid,” he said. “Mark my words, 2016 is going to be even better.”

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