These are words that make me want to vote for Rick Perry. Today, if possible.
And I’ll promise you this: I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.
These are the concerns that make me worry about having Governor Perry become President Perry.
I’d like to hear some of the more thoughtful conservatives lining up behind Perry weigh in on this. Here’s how I see it: A state government has no more awesome, complete, or solemn power than the power to execute its own citizens. If you’re going to claim to loathe big government, this is one area where you ought to be more skeptical of government than any other. Hell, if for no other reason than that it can’t be undone.
The problem here isn’t necessarily that Perry presided over the execution of a man who was likely innocent. If Perry had shown some concern about what happened in the Willingham case, maybe set up an investigation into what went wrong, perhaps even attempted to suspend executions in Texas until he could be sure checks were in place to prevent the execution of an innocent, the way George Ryan did in Illinois—if he’d done any of that, he’d at least have shown some appropriate skepticism. He’d have shown that he’s at least cognizant of the fact that government employees in law enforcement and criminal justice are just as fallible and subject to the trappings of power, bureaucracy, and public choice theory as government employees in, say, tax collection or the regulation of business.
Instead, Perry couldn’t even acknowledge the possibility of doubt about Willingham’s guilt.