Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting for Rick Perry

If it’s not going to be Mitt Romney by default, someone will have to stop him.  As we were discussing a few days ago, Romney has, by default, become the front runner in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.

Yet, Robert Pearson sagely reminded us that it is far too early to start handicapping the race. Much can happen between now and the first primary. New candidates can emerge. Events can throw us more than a few hard sliders.

Mitt Romney is an Establishment candidate. He comes out of central casting, with about as much charisma as John McCain. At a time when the country and the Republican party is fed up with the Establishment, we keep hearing that he is the most electable candidate.

Many Republicans much prefer Michele Bachmann. She is more to their philosophical likings and has been fighting the Obama administration from its inception.

And yet, it isn’t a secret that Michele Bachmann is not going to be the Republican candidate. Most Republicans do not believe that she is electable or that she can raise the kind of money needed to run a national campaign.

I know that a lot of people are not going to be happy with that, but that’s how it is.

Given the general dissatisfaction with the Republican field, and given that Gov. Chris Christie is, in all likelihood, not going to run, that leaves the nation and the world awaiting the entry of Rick Perry, governor of Texas.

Right now, everyone believes that Perry is most likely to put an end to the feeling of inevitability that has come to surround Mitt Romney.

Perry is the only other candidate who brings electability and serious fundraising prowess to the campaign. He runs a highly professional, high disciplined political organization. He has solid conservative credentials in most-- though not all-- areas. Most importantly, he can run on a track record of job creation in Texas.

Perry’s record as governor is far better than Mitt Romney’s. He has far more political experience. He does not have a record of laying people off. And he does not have Romneycare hanging like an albatross around his neck.

In 2008 the American people took a chance on a neophyte, an untested and unproven candidate. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I doubt that they will make the same mistake twice.

The most electable Republican will be running on a record, not on gauzy dreams of hope and change.

Of course, if the conservative candidates splinter the conservative primary vote, then Romney might be able to sneak in. Those who believe that Romney would be a bad candidate should think in terms of coalescing around one candidate.

Today, the most likely candidate is Rick Perry. You need but look at the press coverage.

Time Magazine explained that Perry will create a force field in the race that will diminish a number of other candidates, especially Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.

Writing in the Economist, the Lexington column makes the case for Perry: “By comparison with the rest of America, which continues to languish in the doldrums, Texas is thriving. It is already the second most-populous state after California and is growing fast. Newcomers are attracted by the absence of state income and capital-gains taxes, cheap housing and, compared with most other parts of America, a steady stream of jobs. How much of this is Mr Perry’s doing is debatable: he did not create Texas’s energy riches or invent its economic model from scratch. The state’s constitution gives its governors less power than the imposing Ionic columns of the governor’s mansion in Austin might lead you to think. Still, Mr Perry has served for over a decade, and nobody else can claim the credit either for protecting and advancing the Texas model or for making it into the best single example of the general Republican proposition that all it takes to unleash America’s animal spirits is for government to get out of the way.”

This morning I also came across a story in the Texas Monthly purporting to provide some background information about Perry from someone who has been following his career for decades.

Paul Burka writes: “Though he managed to avoid the 2012 spotlight longer than any other candidate, Perry, the nation’s longest-serving governor, has lately become, in the words of a recent NPR report, “the eight-hundred-pound gorilla on the sidelines of this race.” The trickle of stories about him has become a stream, and the minute Perry declares his candidacy, that stream will become a flood, a flood that will carry you straight to Austin. “

What does Burka want us to know?

First, that Perry is not George W. Bush... not at all.

Second, that it doesn’t much matter that Perry was once a Democrat.

Three, Perry is canny, that is, politically astute and effective.

Four,  Perry has enhanced the power of the Texas governorship.

And so on.

Admittedly, Perry has taken some positions, especially on illegal immigration, that will open him to attack from his opponents.

As of now, Rick Perry is clearly the man to watch in the Republican presidential field. Unless he commits a serious unforced error, the Republican horse race looks like it’s going to come to down to: Romney or Perry.

Your call.


Anonymous said...

I could happily get behind Perry if Palin doesn't run. She's the only person I could be 99% certain is not corrupt.

Robert Pearson said...

I agree with you A to Z in this post. And if Perry runs I think he will defeat Romney because the Republican primary voter/caucuser(?) across the 50 states is overall more aligned with him.

Bizzy Brain said...

Have not you heard that Perry is pro-homosexual marriage? That kinda sorta leaves him without the support of millions of Christian Republicans. I think that nixes his chances of getting the nomination, and it also tells me he's to stupid to run.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

No, I didn't hear it. What I did hear was that Perry said that he did not want to interfere with a decision voted on by the people's representatives in the New York State government.

The logic behind his position sounds to me a lot like the conservative argument against Roe v. Wade-- namely that such an important policy decision should not be taken by the courts, but should be submitted to votes by the people's representatives in the states.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

See also Rick Perry's most recent clarification:

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