Jun 3, 2013 By FRED BARNES
When President Obama arrived in Austin three years ago, Texas governor Rick Perry greeted him with a four-page letter asking for help in securing the border with Mexico. “He was not particularly enthralled with my theatrics,” Perry says. The president didn’t bother to respond. Perry heard later from a White House aide.
Rick Perry Greets The President, 2010
AP / Carolyn Kaster
Obama returned to Austin in early May on the first leg of his new “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity” tour. This time Perry met him at the airport without delivering a message. Instead he put an ad in the Austin American-Statesman: “Mr. President—Take a look at our successful ‘Texas Model.’ ”
Obama may ignore that advice, but Perry says Obama must be aware of the state’s booming economy. “He wouldn’t have come here if he weren’t aware of the success,” Perry told me. “Where do you start your jobs tour in America? You go to the most successful place in the country. That’s Texas.”
Perry has no illusions about converting Obama to the free market, small government model that’s worked in Texas. “The president is not the most open individual in the world when it comes to looking at another point of view,” he says. Obama “is a true believer in socialist policies, and to take a step away from those would be devastating to his psyche.”
So forget Obama. Perry, in his 13th year as governor, has begun a bigger crusade to persuade the country that what has worked in Texas and other Republican-led states will work everywhere. “I want to engage America in this blue state / red state discussion,” he says. This may sound grandiose, but he’s not kidding.