Potential presidential candidate Rick Perry attempted to invoke memories of Ronald Reagan’s iconic 1964 speech as he claimed that President Barack Obama’s failed leadership would result in a new era of Republican dominance.
Speaking at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, California, on Monday, 50 years to the day that Reagan launched the modern conservative movement, Perry echoed remarks the late president made during his address while calling for a federal government with less control over American lives.
The outgoing Texas governor told the audience that government "cannot replace the industriousness of individual workers, or assume the responsibility of families," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Perry continued, "We have indeed come to our own time for choosing. And the experience of these years has framed the questions for us in the clearest of terms. Are we going to accept as inevitable in this country the constant expansion of federal power at the expense of individual liberty?"
"For too long it has been expanded into our lives, played too central a role," Perry said.
"But a simple fact remains: The larger government grows, the smaller our circle of freedoms."
The Republican governor also blamed the president’s policies and lack of competence for the series of crises the country has faced since Obama took power.
"It’s no wonder Americans are frustrated," he said. "We have entrusted immense power in government and America has never had less faith in its institutions. The issue is not merely an adversarial agenda enacted by another party. This isn’t just R versus D. It’s about basic competence.
"In the last year we have witnessed government bungle healthcare for heroes, target our citizens under tax laws, fail to operate a website for the president’s signature initiative, trade five terrorists for a soldier who disappeared under questionable circumstances, and leave the front door of the White House open where a crazy man could walk in."
Perry slammed Obama’s energy policies and his handling of the economy while laying the blame of the violent Islamic State’s rise to power squarely on Obama’s shoulders.
The governor, who will be replaced after the midterm elections next week, also said that Americans will punish Obama in 2016 by ushering in a new era of government controlled by the GOP.
"I doubt very much that after this season of disappointment, mediocrity and decline a slow correction in course is what voters are going to be looking for," he said. "I believe that come 2016, if the American people are given the choice, they will be ready for a clean break from the Obama agenda and anything like it."
Reagan delivered his famous "A Time for Choosing" televised address
on conservative ideology in Los Angeles on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater a week before the 1964 election.
Although Goldwater lost the election by a wide margin, Reagan was asked to run for governor of California soon after, and 16 years later went on to become the president.
During his speech, Perry refused to confirm or deny that he plans to run for the White House again in 2016, four years after his short-lived first effort when he faltered badly during a troubled campaign, according to the Times.
"I may not run for president in 2016," he said to the crowd. "But if I don’t, the reason I don’t run is not that I’m not prepared. I will be prepared."
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