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Perry gets a "D-" from "NumbersUSA"
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Many engaged conservatives are considering the pros and cons of the current group of GOP candidates and they’re check-marking mental boxes for each of the issues that they deem important. When immigration comes up, and it often does, a grade from a specialized and credible source like NumbersUSA can help or hurt a candidate.
A number of Republicans and conservatives have brought up Perry’s grade and are concerned about that “D-“ grade. It is what it is … but wait … it could change. NumbersUSA updates the grades weekly, adjusting grades by the candidates most recent statements and actions so the grades are subject to change.
UPDATE: As of 9/5/2011, none of the grades have changed. Does that mean that none of the candidates have made any statements regarding immigration that NumbersUSA deems "material?" And should affect their grades since this was originally written and linked on 8/17/2011? Either that or they don't actually update weekly.
On the NumbersUSA Web site, Perry a grade of “D-“ and so does Mitt Romney. For what it’s worth, Ron Paul gets an “F.” President Obama gets an “F-." An F-minus? I certainly would agree with the grade given Obama – or maybe it should be a “P-,” for “present”?
Though not (yet) running, Sarah Palin gets a “D” and Herman Cain gets a passing “C-“. The only leading candidate for the 2012 GOP nomination to get a good grade was Michele Bachmann with a “B-“.
How does NumbersUSA arrive at a grade and what are the components?
For one thing, NumbersUSA grades the candidates on what they say, and to a lesser degree for what they’ve done. The following is from their website:
These are not Report Cards on past actions, which matter but not as much as what these politicians now say in the news media or on official websites. These grades and ratings are about what a Hopeful says a President should do about immigration. We look at contradictions and changes in stances. We generally give the most weight to the most recent statements and actions.
Therefore, NumbersUSA is grading the candidates on their latest rhetoric. Words speak louder than actions to them. Their grades are based on what the candidate says they would do (or wouldn’t do) as President. That doesn’t seem to set a very high bar. I’m not saying that any grades would be any different – I don’t know, but it seems like a record of votes or bill signings (or vetoes) represents something solid as opposed to a statement made up of a carefully selected, politically beneficial series of words.
If the candidates know that they only have to talk a good game why wouldn’t they just voice some promising rhetoric - calculated to achieve a good grade and leave it at that? Barack Obama has never been held accountable for his campaign promises. I recognize that is a cynical position, but they are all politicians.
For his part, Rick Perry is graded poorly on two items: “mandating e-verify,” which is defined as:
Jobs held by illegal aliens SHOULD be opened up for unemployed Americans and legal immigrants already here by REQUIRING all businesses to use the Federal automated, rapid-response internet E-Verify system to screen out illegal foreign workers.
And “Limit Unfair Worker Competition,” which means:
The government should institute SAFEGUARDS that will prevent importation of foreign workers any time they would threaten the jobs or depress the wages of American workers
Perry comes across as “middle of the pack” when compared to the others who are also seeking the Presidency. Only Bachmann stands out. While Perry does grade fairly well on four (of the 12 components), he is given an “unhelpful” (“null”) on the remaining six.
I know that many will want to see for themselves all of the other details of the NumbersUSA ratings, so here is a link to the NumbersUSA Web site and to the specific page for Presidential ratings. While on the Presidential page, you can click the candidate's image at the top of the column to get more detail on which the grade is based.
Much of this FAQ originally appeared in Emile Bonnecaze's The Pesky Truth blog post on "Rick Perry's Negatives." Used as a starting point for this FAQ with permission.