FORT WORTH — Promising to secure the border and take the Texas approach to government national, Gov. Rick Perry delivered an impassioned speech Friday morning in which he called for conservatives to wage a “war” on “the battlefield of ideas.”
“Thomas Jefferson was right when he said a little rebellion now and then is a good thing,” Perry said. “Now faced with a hungry, oppressive ruler in a faraway place, it’s time for us to start a little rebellion.”
Perry spoke at the RedState Gathering, an annual event hosted by an influential conservative blog. He touched on many of the same ideas he broached at RedState’s national conference in 2011 — in which he officially launched his failed bid for president — including touting the Texas model of limited government as a template for the country and a pathway to economic prosperity.
“One of the reasons Texas has been so successful is because we are one of the few states that have consistently enacted red-state policies,” Perry said. “In fact, since 1998, we have done something that no other state has achieved. Every single statewide office has been won by a Republican.”
During the speech, Perry made his first public comments about RickPAC, his new political action committee, which he said will work to elect Republicans around the country.
“We can make America great again by electing the right leaders,” Perry said. “We are an exceptional country. We have an exceptional Constitution.”
Perry drew the most impassioned response from attendees when he spoke about the border and the recent influx of migrant children that has drawn national attention.
“Our hearts go out to those young children for making these perilous journeys,” Perry said. “We’ve got to do everything we can to reunite them with their families in their home countries because it is the right thing to do.”
He then noted that the majority of those crossing the border illegally are adults, including some criminals who pose a threat to public safety. He mentioned a border guard who was killed over the weekend.
“This violence will not stand,” Perry said. “If Washington won’t stand to secure the border, as the governor of Texas, I will.”
Perry ended his speech sounding very much like a presidential candidate, speaking forcefully about bringing America together around a common agenda of innovation.
“Let’s make America once again that shining city on a hill,” Perry concluded, drawing a standing ovation.
During a brief question-and-answer session with attendees, a woman asked Perry about Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a former Marine who has been held by Mexican authorities since March after driving across the border on March 31 with three loaded guns in his truck. Perry said he has spoken with local government leaders in the area where Tahmooressi is being held but that the situation is a federal issue.
“If the president of the United States and the president of Mexico were committed to bringing that young man home, it would have happened months ago,” Perry said, calling Obama’s handling of the situation “a failure of foreign policy.”