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Rick Perry's "Fed Up!" may actually win him some votes

Unlike the bulk of campaign books, Rick Perry's "Fed Up!" has something to say – and is winning some praise in the press.

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In a column titled “Rick Perry’s book is good. Really,” the Washington Post’s Klein writes, “Campaign books are terrible. I know that... Any campaign book, that is, except Rick Perry’s ‘Fed Up.’ This is not a boring book. More to the point, it’s not even a book about Rick Perry. It’s a book about Rick Perry’s ideas. And his big idea is that most everything the federal government does is unconstitutional.”

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As Klein suggests, Perry’s book is essentially about the Tenth Amendment, the one that states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

And unlike Pawlenty, Perry takes a stand. A pretty radical, one in fact.

He thinks Congress and the federal government should butt out of regulating the environment. And regulating guns. And protecting civil rights. And Medicare and Medicaid. And minimum wage laws. And labor laws. And education.

States, Perry thinks, are simply more capable at solving problems, than the federal government. “Most problems get better solutions when they’re solved at the local level,” he writes.

To his credit, Perry stands by his bold proposal.

In a November 2010 interview with NPR, he offers a state-led solution to the healthcare crisis.

Rather than forcing people to buy health insurance from a "Washington-devised program," he said on the show, states should be allowed to compete to devise the best programs.

"You let California, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Florida compete against one another, and they'll be laboratories of innovation," Perry said in the interview. "They will come up with the best way to deliver health care."

And in a fall 2010 interview with Newsweek, he didn’t budge when Newsweek’s Andrew Romano pressed him to explain how programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would work without federal government involvement.

“I think the states are the ones who should be making the decision on whether or not they want to be spending their dollars on those types of programs – not having it made in Washington, D.C.” Perry said. “I would suggest a legitimate conversation about [letting] the states keep their money and implement the programs.” He continued, “But I didn’t write the book and say here are all the solutions. I think the first step in finding the solutions is admitting we have a problem – and admitting that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.”

Brash? Maybe. But it’s big, bold, and, to borrow a word that was once associated with our current commander-in-chief, audacious.

Let’s see if Perry can say as much of his campaign.

Husna Haq is a Monitor contributor.

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