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RUSH: Man, I have to tell you: What a difference! The last time Rick Perry ran (which, of course, was in 2012), he started out okay. The debates happened; we learned later that he was taking pain medication for surgery and so forth, and wasn’t quite himself.

But my memory of Rick Perry the last time around is that by the end of it there were a lot of people laughing at him, making fun of him, generally disrespecting him, not giving him much a chance. Which I always found kind of curious. Rick Perry has run Texas for a long time. Texas is in one of the best shapes of any state in this country. Texas is one of the few states where the Republicans do get a sizable percentage of the Hispanic vote. You look at Texas and from our standpoint, Texas would be a great model to replicate all over this country.

Yet here they are. People were making fun of or ridiculing Rick Perry for a number of reasons. So I expected more of the same. When Perry made his announcement, I thought there’d be the same catcalls, the same type of reaction. But it’s the opposite. It really is stunning. The Wall Street Journal: “Rick Perry’s Lodestar State — Perry has proven what America can look like from sea to shining sea. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday joined the elephant herd running for president.

“And while the Beltway crowd considers the 65-year-old a long shot, he deserves as much of a hearing as anyone else given his impressive 14-year record as a reform conservative.” Now, the Journal editorial page, they sometimes go off the path on doctrinaire conservatism, particularly when if comes to things like amnesty and so forth. But this is… It’s not an endorsement, but it’s really flattering and positive, and it’s not at all what I expected, simply based on the kind of treatment Perry got last time out.

“Mr. Perry must also overcome a dubious Austin grand jury indictment charging him with two felonies. His heinous crime? He threatened to use his line-item veto to strike funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg — who had been found drunk in her car — resigned. Unlike many of President Obama’s actions, this was a constitutional exercise of executive power.

“In any case, the indictment shouldn’t distract from Mr. Perry’s Texas record of political and economic success. In 2001 he was lucky to inherit a relatively prosperous state. … [He] deserves credit for growing this political endowment. In 2003 the state capped damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits at $250,000, which has helped cut providers’ insurance premiums by nearly half.”

Where else is that happening?

Where are insurance premiums being cut by half or by anything else? “This has attracted more doctors to the Lone Star State to accommodate increasing patient demand. In 2005 Mr. Perry signed a workers compensation reform that has helped slash business insurance premium rates by half.” Where else is this happening. “A 2011 ‘loser pays’ tort reform has reduced the cost of business by warding off frivolous lawsuits.

“The Tax Foundation ranks Texas’s business climate tenth best, and the state’s growth spurt vindicates the Perry formula of low taxes and a light regulatory touch. Between 2000 and 2010, Texas gained a net 781,542 domestic migrants — second only to Florida — while California lost 1.9 million, according to the Manhattan Institute. Last year Texas boasted the three fastest-growing counties with populations above 250,000 (Fort Bend, Montgomery and Williamson).”

Anyway, the story goes on, and it’s laudatory. Perry himself was optimistic, and you don’t see and hear much optimism anywhere in politics today. I mean, we get optimism from Rubio. We get optimism from Ted Cruz. We get optimism from Scott Walker. But really, party wide and throughout the country media-wise, there really is a noted lack of optimism to which people are exposed every day. You look at most of the pop culture media and most of the Drive-By news media?

I mean, it’s depressing.

It is dispiriting.

The stuff that we are told is mainstream in social media — Facebook, Twitter, you name it — that’s depressing. I think, by the way, as I said earlier, by design, I think all the stuff that’s highlighted on social media is all part of the effort to depress you and keep you dispirited and to make you think that you’ve lot the country, that the country’s lost, make you think it’s beyond the point of being salvageable now. I think they would love it if you were so depressed that you just said, “To heck with politics.”

Particularly if you happen to be a Tea Party type, they would loooove to be able to just dispirit you right out of politics. So here comes Perry yesterday. He said, “My friends, we are a resilient country. You think about who we are. We have been through a Civil War. We have been through two world wars. We have been through a Great Depression. Hell, we even made it through Jimmy Carter! We’ll make it through the Obama years. We will do this.”

It’s a good laugh line but it was also upbeat and positive at the same time, and so it’s worth pointing out.

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