As a highly disgruntled GOP-aligned voter, I must confess to viewing the current slate of GOP POTUS candidates with emotions running from despair to disdain.
You've got serial flip-flopper and dog abuser Mitt Romney, who with his usual brilliant sense of timing has decided that a period of serious economic concern and persistent financial populism among the public is the right time to quadruple the size of his multimillion dollar home in La Jolla.
You've got people like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry who seem more interested in running for President of the Southern Baptist Convention than POTUS.
You've got Sarah Palin lurking in the shadows, a prospect that gives me the willies.
And then you've got seven or so dwarves.
I sort of like Huntsman, but I figure he's got about as much chance as the proverbial snowball in that proverbial Hell that Perry and Bachmann seem to think 90% of us are going to.
Today, however, a news report gave me cause to rethink Rick Perry:
America’s trial lawyers are getting ready to make the case against one of their biggest targets in years: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred — and fear — as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs’ bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor.
And if Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him. ... The governor has pushed through a string of tort reform laws, including a 2003 measure putting a monetary cap on non-economic damage awards. He passed another law in the most recent Texas legislative session, making it easier to dismiss some lawsuits and putting plaintiffs on the hook for legal costs in certain cases that are defeated or dismissed.
The campaign for tort reform in Texas began in the 1990s, well before Perry was governor, but the Republican can legitimately claim some credit for the results. It’s a story Perry proudly tells on the stump, casting himself as the man who mastered a legal system run amok and made Texas friendlier for business.
I realize that I'm flirting with a false dichotomy--i.e., the enemy of my enemy is my friend--but anybody who's been a successful tort reformer deserves a close look in my book.
I refer the interested reader to Trial Lawyers Inc., perhaps the best web site in the world on tort reform.
As Jim Copland explained in their first report, tort litigation is a huge drag on our economy:
Total tort costs today exceed $200 billion annually, or more than 2% of America’s gross domestic product—a significantly higher percentage than in any other developed nation. Moreover, even as the economy has stagnated and the stock market has plunged, the lawsuit industry’s revenues have continued to skyrocket: in 2001, the last year for which data are available, U.S. tort costs grew by 14.3%. Over the last 30 years, tort costs grew at a compound annual rate of 9.1%; by comparison, the U.S. population grew 1.1% annually, the consumer price index grew 5.0% annually, and the gross domestic product grew 7.6% annually during the same period.
If Rick Perry runs on a platform of doing something about that problem, I may have to hold my nose and vote for him.