Former Texas Governor Rick Perry joined me in the first hour today:
HH: I’m pleased to welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show now Governor Rick Perry of Texas, four-term governor now running for president. Governor Perry, it’s always a pleasure, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
RP: Hugh, thank you. We were out in your part of the world last week. So other than being out of water, the state’s still as beautiful as ever.
HH: Yeah, now, in your old job, you used to always leave here with a couple of businesses and a few thousand jobs. Did you just leave them alone this time?
RP: Well, pretty much. I tell you, this whole water situation out there is one of grave concern. You know, whether you’re on the outside looking in or traveling through the state realizing that is going to be the limiting factor for California if they don’t get that addressed. And you know, a lot of this is a manmade drought. There’s a lot of technologies out there and a lot of ways to address this, so hopefully, you’ll get some big rains and use some common sense to deal with this going forward.
HH: And desalinization. I point out desal’s on, there are 600 desal plants around the world, and California doesn’t have a major desal plant. We’re kind of technology-phobic out here, Governor.
RP: Well, it really is an interesting, there’s some great technologies. I mean, the Israelis lead the nation, or lead the world, rather, I should say, in technology. We’ve done some work with them back through the years, semi-arid land study. And the desal side of this, when you think about the money that they’re talking about spending on this high-speed rail, and you know, maybe it’s time to have a conversation that the high-speed rail is not the most important thing that the folks in California could be discussing, and maybe using that money to put water conservation projects in, desalinization plants. Just an idea.
HH: Amen. Governor, I want to talk to you about two big issues. One is Obamacare. And the Supreme Court left it alone. And I’ve had a conversation with a number of the people that are running, as you are, for the GOP nomination. And I’ve asked them this question, and they’ve divided on it. If you had to choose between urging Mitch McConnell to break the filibuster in order to repeal Obamacare root and branch or defend the filibuster and only get rid of what you can get rid of via reconciliation in a Republican majority, as President Perry, what would you urge Mitch McConnell to do?
RP: Well, I think it’s important for us to understand that there’s actually two different issues here that we need to be discussing. Obviously, the reconciliation is a way to repeal Obamacare. But you’ve still got to have 60 votes to pass a replacement. And the other side of this issue that I think doesn’t get enough discussion, we don’t focus on enough, is to change the rules of the Senate so that you can put legitimate conservative judges and strict Constitutionalists, credentialed conservatives on that Supreme Court with 51 votes instead of taking 60. And I think that’s a conversation that we need to have as well. The next president of the United States may choose upwards of three Supreme Court justices. And to be able to put those in with a majority rather than 60 votes makes a huge difference.
HH: Well, I’m glad to hear you endorse that, but I want to stay focused on the filibuster. Your colleague, Ted Cruz, said the filibuster matters more than root and branching Obamacare. But Scott Walker said absolutely, he’d urge that the filibuster be broken if that’s what it takes to get it out of the system and replace it with something that works. Where’s Rick Perry going to be on that divide? Filibuster or anti-filibuster?
RP: Well, as I said, I’m for using the Reid Rule on, to break the filibuster. And you know, I support using the Reid Rule to appoint these Constitutional conservatives as well. So I don’t have a problem at all with breaking the filibuster.
HH: Now then, thank you, clarity. Gosh, I love talking to Rick Perry. He’s always clear. Today in London, they had a big terrorist drill. It was very scary. They posted a video of it, and I think it must have been SAS people playing the red team. And it just alarms people that Tunisia happened last week, and they’ve got this drill. Folks are on edge right now, Rick Perry. Are you picking that up in your travels around the country?
RP: Yeah, and they should be. I mean, and I don’t think it’s just a today thing or a last 30 days thing. You see Christian Copts being led down to the beach and beheaded, and Libya, when you see a Jordanian pilot burned alive, you know, these people are, I mean, this is the face of evil. And the attack of the British subjects out on the beach, these, it goes right to the point, Hugh, of why we need to have a coalition of Middle Eastern countries – Saudi Arabia with Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, United States, all of those countries in a coalition. I’m telling you, when I see the Jordanian king, it gives me great hope that in that part of the world, there are people that are willing to go do whatever it takes to totally eliminate ISIS from the face of the Earth, and that’s what’s going to have to occur. We’ve got to have some substantial intelligence operations that their boots on the ground and our Special Operators working together to go in and to eliminate these people from the face of the Earth.
HH: Now I want to ask you intelligently, not emotionally, in the aftermath of Charleston and the massacre down there, people grieve, but there was not that kneejerk call for gun control. And I believe that the reason that even the President retreated from that quickly is that Americans believe now very much in having an armed citizenry because of situations like this, that no one fought back on the Tunisian beach. The police that were there, their weapons didn’t work, and the killer was not wearing armor. I mean, one person could have fought back had they been armed. Do you think that the public opinion in America has decisively shifted on this issue?
RP: I don’t know whether it’s decisively shifted or not, but I think that people really realize now in their heart of hearts that there is always going to be evil in this world. It is going to crop up in places that we may not think about it, and that having an individual, whether it’s a private citizen or whether it’s an armed police officer at a school, makes a lot of sense. I want my family protected. Either I’m going to do it singularly, or I’m going to do it in collaboration with trained law enforcement as well. So either way, I think that Americans are sitting back and saying, and I think the rest of the world realizes that with the evil that is in this world, protecting your family, protecting your property is very, very important.
HH: Now former Secretary of State Clinton in the aftermath of Charleston said we have to talk about guns. She blasted Donald Trump for his comments about building a wall, and I thought it was unfair, but I had Trump on and he defended himself. You don’t need to defend him. But Mrs. Clinton then went on and said this is about guns. And no one’s pushed her on that, Governor Perry. What do you think she means, because the only actual thing that would work to stop a crazed racist domestic terrorist or a Tunisian terrorist is the confiscation of all weapons. Do you think that’s what Mrs. Clinton has in mind?
RP: Well, I don’t know whether that’s what she’s got in mind, but that is an extraordinary fallacy just on its face. The idea that you’re going to confiscate all weapons, all you’re going to do is confiscate them from law-abiding individuals. And I thought that conversation was over with, that the reality is that you cannot take and gather up all the weapons from the bad people and the evil people in the world. And that seems to be, if that’s what Secretary Clinton’s concept is, then she is truly living in a delusional world.
HH: So then what is the answer about violence in our society? And I know Rick Perry stands with America in revulsion at the racism of the killer in Charleston. But digging deeper, what is the answer about the violence that seems to be everywhere, not just of the jihadist variety or of the white domestic terrorist variety, but Chicago streets? I mean, people will get killed by the scores in Chicago. What’s the Governor say about that?
RP: Well, from a governor’s standpoint, here is the way I would address it. There are places in this country where they are making progress, and they’re making progress in the sense that crime is down to 1968 levels. We’re seeing our prisons being shut down, young people given the opportunity to have second chances in life. And I’m speaking with a pretty good background here, because this happened in the state of Texas over the last 14 years while I was the governor. We implemented drug courts, where we were able to address these non-violent, drug-related events by punishing as we should do, people who had broken the law, but we didn’t throw them in jail where they became very hardened, professional criminals, come back out only knowing crime as a way to take care of themselves. The recidivism rate was going through the roof. In the mid-2000’s, we put these drug courts into place. Now we’ve expanded them to veterans courts and prostitute courts, and it has been a raging success in the state of Texas. Other states are looking at it. The president of the United States and his Attorney General, Mr. Holder, even pointed out and said you know what, this is working. And I will suggest that that’s one of the ways to give people hope that they’re not going to be thrown in jail forever. And you also attach to that economic opportunity and the reality that you know what, I can have a good job. I can take care of my family. All of those collectively, I will suggest to you, is a model to make a country that is sensible in the way that we address these non-violent drug offenses, but also give people hope for a better future with an economic environment that doesn’t overtax, overregulate, over-litigate. And the 12th largest economy in the world, the state of Texas, is a model for that. And if people want to take a look at here’s the way you give people hope that the future is better, look and see what they did in the state of Texas. And you know, I’m not saying everybody wants to be a Texan, but I’m telling you, those policies work. I don’t think that that is a debatable issue.
HH: Let me wrap up, Governor, by talking to you about Mrs. Clinton. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read this wonderful, new book by me, The Queen, yet. Have you had a chance to do that, yet, Governor?
RP: I have not, but it sounds like it’s a good one to download on my iPad.
HH: Well, I quote Zeke Miller as saying the best pure communicator in the GOP field was first Rubio, then Walker, then Perry. And he points out you’re just so good on the stump now. I am curious if you square off against Hillary Clinton, are you going to bring up her server and the fact that she’s engaged in a cover up?
RP: Oh, absolutely. I think the transparency and the honesty issue go right to the heart of the people in this country want as a president. They want somebody that will speak straight, somebody that will be honest with them, somebody that’s transparent. And obviously, she fails in all of those. And it’s one of those issues that whoever our nominee is, and I’m going to do my best to make sure it’s me, is going to look her straight in the face, if that is who their nominee’s going to be. I’m not convinced, yet, with all of this, I mean, destroying these records, at some point in time, the media and the decision makers even on the left are going to realize they have a candidate that is highly, highly in trouble from the standpoint of an honesty and transparency issue, and the American people are not going to cotton to that at all, I would suggest.
HH: Evan Thomas, who wrote the great new book on Nixon, Being Nixon, was in my studio yesterday. And he said look, there are differences, but it’s not unlike Nixon’s tapes, but he turned his over, and she burned hers. Do you think it rises to that level?
RP: I think that there is a clear issue of honesty and transparency. And the American people look at this family, and the drama that goes with the Clintons, and they realize that that is what they’re looking for, four or eight years of that, plus a third term of Barack Obama, which is exactly what you’ll get with Hillary Clinton, and I think a lot of Americans will go you know what, we’ve seen this movie before, and we just don’t think that this is, we don’t want to do this again.
HH: On that note, Governor Rick Perry, I look forward to seeing you again soon. Next time you’re in California, come by the studio. And I’m glad you didn’t take our jobs this time.
RP: Yes, sir. Well, you know, maybe things in California are starting to turn around. I hope so. It’s important for the rest of the country for California to be successful.
HH: Thank you, Governor.
End of interview.