Last November, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) published Fed Up, a 240-page ode to tentherism, which argues that everything from child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to Medicare violates the Constitution. As it turns out, however, claiming that America’s entire social safety net is unconstitutional isn’t a very popular position — so Perry’s now trying to take it all back just one week into his presidential campaign:
[Perry’s] communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest [Social Security] 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. […]
In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.
The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”
Fed Up is not some 20-year-old graduate school thesis that Perry wrote before he served in elected office. It is a substantial, nationally published manifesto that Perry was proudly signing at book tours just a few months ago. Indeed, as recently as last Monday, Perry was on the campaign trail citing Fed Up for the unusual proposition that “I don’t think the federal government has a role in your children’s education.” Watch it:
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.