What Happened To Rick Perry, "No Apologies Candidate?"

Texas Governor Rick Perry, whom Washington Post reporter Chris Cilizza dubbed the "no apologies" candidate, disavows entirely a book he wrote last year endorsing the view that New Deal reforms like Social Security are unconstitutional. Ian Millhiser writes, "After just a few days of embarrassing press, however, Perry now expects the country to believe that his entire book was not intended to be a factual statement."

He suggested the program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government,” he wrote, comparing the program to a “bad disease” that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme,” he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement.”

But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.

That's not very "brash, bold, and unapologetic," isn't it? Given Perry's previous retreats on mandating the HPV vaccine in Texas, and on federalism and social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, perhaps it's time for Cilizza to review the absurdly favorable characterization of Perry as someone who doesn't back down from controversial views simply because doing so would be politically convenient. Although admittedly, "Perry doesn't apologize when it comes to repeating outrageous right-wing culture war talking points that delight the base" is a little less impressive sounding than "Put simply: Rick Perry doesn’t apologize."

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