Rick Perry looks to claim the Reagan mantle in California speech

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Monday evening Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be paying homage to former President Reagan with his own version of Reagan's famous "A Time for Choosing" speech.

Perry will deliver the speech at the Reagan Library Simi Valley, Calif., on the 50th anniversary of the 1964 speech. Reagan's remarks were intended to help the flailing presidential campaign of GOP nominee Barry Goldwater (he lost in a landslide). Goldwater may not have benefited, but Reagan did--the speech helped propel him to the political spotlight in spite of the fact that he was better known at that time as a film and television actor.

"We have indeed come to our own time for choosing. And the experience of these years has framed the questions for us in the clearest of terms," Perry will say, according to advance remarks provided by his office.

"We are experiencing a crisis in competence in America, and the people know it. What is needed at this moment in time is leadership that can usher in a new era of reform and renewal to restore trust in government. The institutions of government are faltering. Americans have lost faith," the prepared remarks say.

Perry will echo themes in Reagan's speech, most notably the dangers of an expansive federal government. The Texas governor will mention the "routine arrogance" of the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the "chronic incompetence" of the Veterans Administration and "willful neglect of duty at the border."

"Are we going to accept as inevitable in this country the constant expansion of federal power at the expense of individual liberty?" he will ask. "Will we look to that same establishment in Washington as the decider and director of economic activity...regulating, controlling, and slowly destroying the productive power of free enterprise?"

Republicans routinely look to establish links with Reagan, who was revered for his broad appeal. At one point this year, Perry actually found himself in a public feud with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, over whose foreign policy vision most resembled Reagan's.

"Paul conveniently omitted Reagan's long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity," Perry wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, likening Paul's "policy of inaction" to those who preached "accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement" during the Cold War.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for