Will it be Rick Perry’s turn again?

When he first entered the Republican presidential campaign, Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) became the immediate front-runner with former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA). The campaign was clearly an “anybody but Romney” affair, as the social conservatives in the GOP don’t find the more moderate Mr Romney acceptable, and Mr Perry was a long-term Governor of a large state, with the best job creation record in the nation, and was seen as a social conservative as well; his record as Governor would be an instant selling point against President Obama’s record in office.

Unfortunately for Governor Perry, he didn’t perform well in the various Republican debates. He wasn’t polished, he forgot basic points, and he was simply a poor debater. And that led to a “next man up” as the conservative alternative to Mr Romney, with Herman Cain at first, who said most of the right things, until his candidacy was destroyed by allegations of sexual harassment (including some proof, as the National Restaurant Association he once headed made payouts to settle such claims), to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA); Mr Gingrich is now having problems due to his recent answer concerning illegal immigration. (Governor Perry had a similar problem, concerning Texas granting in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants.¹) The others running for the Republican nomination never got a primary-challenger-to-Mitt status, and it seems unlikely that Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) or former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) will get that “next man up” promotion; they just haven’t generated much traction after Mrs Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll, months ago. Mr Santorum lost his last election, the 2006 Pennsylvania Senate race. And Mrs Bachmann is showing herself to be a little on the thin-skinned side for a presidential campaign; if she was so terribly offended by NBC’s music selection during her appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, she’ll never make it through a general election campaign. Former Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT) is seen as just as much of a moderate as Mr Romney, so he’s not going to be the next conservative challenger, and while Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and his strong libertarian leanings have found a niche in the GOP, he seems unlikely to be the next man up.

Which makes me wonder: will Governor Perry get a second chance?

I signed up early for Governor Perry’s campaign, and gave an early endorsement to him. My initial endorsement was based on his performance in office, and his record for actually having run something, something that Mr Gingrich and Mrs Bachmann and Mr Santorum can’t claim they have ever done. The voters in the next general election, noting how President Obama came into office without any executive experience and how poorly he has performed in office, are going to be a little more leery about a Republican nominee who lacks real governing experience. Mitt Romney, at least, has that.

But so does Rick Perry, more than Mr Romney, though Mr Romney does have a bit wider range of experience, including being President and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. If Mr Gingrich stumbles as the current next man up, it seems possible that Mr Perry will get another chance.

Possible, however, does not mean probable. It will take a lot of hard work to get that done. Fortunately for Mr Perry, I’m seeing a much better campaign from his organization than was the case early on. Where they were initially taking e-mail lists for news and campaign distributions, and doing nothing with them, now they are right on top of things, and getting their contact work done. Where his campaign website was kind of pathetic when it was started, and it took far too long to improve it, it has improved significantly.² The campaign has been right there, after every debate, and after every news event, with instant appraisals and stories and information e-mailed to supporters, and been there to try to frame the story to Governor Perry’s advantage rather than to let the talking heads of the professional media do it.

In an odd way, Governor Perry might even benefit from the Romney campaign. Governor Romney is making the “electability” argument these days, an argument which holds, among other things, that the voters should expect a candidate to agree with them on many things but not necessarily everything, if they expect that candidate to be able to win the election. Governor Perry’s initial strength was based on the perception that his record made him a very strong challenger to President Obama, so Mr Romney’s arguments play to Mr Perry’s strengths. Conservative voters may well be willing to overlook Mr Perry’s position on one part of the illegal immigration issue, a part which can be easily defended, given that he is closer to their positions on other issues than is Mr Romney.

But it depends on two things: will the Republican voters be willing to take a second look at a candidate who was up and then stumbled, and can Mr Perry, now with a bit of national campaign seasoning under his belt, be able to perform better on the campaign trail than he did right out of the starting gate? He has done reasonably well in the last few debates, with no stumbles or gaffes, but he has not been noteworthily spectacular, either. It seems to me that Governor Perry does have another opportunity to move ahead, but, this time around, he’ll have to come from behind.

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¹ – To be eligible for in-state tuition, an illegal immigrant must have been graduated from high school and been in Texas for at least three years; to meet those criteria, they would have had to have been minors when they came into the country. Even after having dropped in the polls, Governor Perry is still defending that policy.
² – For about the first month, there wasn’t even a campaign telephone number listed. It took about that long for the website to have any “campaign store” link, on which you could buy t-shirts and coffee mugs and bumper stickers. The issues section was pretty skimpy at first as well.

15 Comments

  1. You know Editor, I like Rick Perry. He seems conservative enough, experienced, and able to me. But if we are looking for a person who never gaffs or stumbles or the perfect candidate we had best look for the Second Coming. I look at it this way: in a serious national emergency where our lives or those of our family is at stake who do I see as able to make the tough decisions? Perry ain’t in my answer. Neither is Cain. My answer is Newt or Romney are the guys who can meke the tough calls.

    The object is to not only get rid of this Obamination but replace him with someone who has the ability and integrity to make hard, tough and sometimes no-win decisions for our country. None of our guys is perfect but all of are guys are more perfect than the idiot we have now. There’s still a good possibility that this looser with the help of his media pals, Hollywood backers, crony capitalists, union thugs, community organizations and left wing fringe can win another term. One thing I’m sure of. If he does win another term history will note that the eight years of his administration was the downward turning point for America. However, I do give Bush credit for getting the ball roling downward. Bush and Obama, two peas in a pod separated only by a (R) or a (D) behind their names. We just can’t afford to elect another weak-kneed liberal Republican and remain a viable party. We need new ideas, not a rehash of old stupid policies.

  2. “We need new ideas, not a rehash of old stupid policies.”

    That’s just it, Mr. Hoagie, your party and candidates have no new ideas whatsoever, just a rehash of the same old ideas that contributed to our economic collapse. If these did not work before, I’m talking mainly about trickle down tax policy and near total deregulation, what evidence do you have to recommend that we return to the same policies. Or perhaps, if I am wrong, you could list the new ideas that your party and candidates are offering. Please do!

    What we have here on this thread is Dana rationalizing reality and Hoagie revising reality, neither of which will help our country recover either our economy or our senses or our sensibilities (morals and ethics)!

  3. Perry, the ideas of the GOP are to stop doing the things which have pushed Europe near collapse and have us not terribly far behind. Continual overspending and borrowing just to pay the interest on our debts hasn’t worked, yet that’s what you want us to keep doing.

    Oh, I know: you want us to tax the top producers more, but if we taxed every income of over $1,000,000 a year at 100%, we would still have a higher deficit than any run under President Bush, because we spend so much.

    Rick Perry articulated the right idea, when he said that he would make Washington inconsequential in our daily lives. We need to reduce government spending to the bare minimum necessary, and lower the level of government at which services are provided to the one closest to the public that can be reasonably maintained.

  4. “…. your party and candidates….”

    Again with the blame game, Wagonwheel? Is it OUR party which enforces an ever-expanding federal government in taxes, spending, regulating and borrowing? I think not. And “economic collapse” as you so rightly termed it, does not come from spending what we earn, but by spending more than we earn and expecting it can last forever. Ask Greece.

    Then you move on to: “I’m talking mainly about trickle down tax policy and near total deregulation”. Really? When did I or any other conservative call for “near total deregulation”? Reasonable regulations play a part in good government and a good society. But with you leftists there’s never enough regulation and never enough taxes. Are there no old, outdated, foolish or crappy regulations that need to be reversed? Are there not enough regulations on banking , energy , the environment? And when you look at tax policy you see Social Policy, I see revenue. Taxes are being abused to reward certain groups and harm others. That’s not a tax policy, that’s cronyism. Either we all deserve equal protection under law or we all don’t. Tax policy is there to RAISE REVENUE to run the government, not to penalize people YOU don’t like and reward people YOU do.

    And as far as new ideas are concerned, you may be right with the current crop of politicians on both sides! They’re politicians Wagonwheel, not enterpreneurs or inventors. They are NOT the idea people. We are. We, the average guys, come up with the iPod, Google, Facebook, Urban Gear, and every new idea under the sun. So to expect politicians who have never had an origional thought to come up with New Ideas may just be tilting at wind mills.

    Just the other day on this very blog I suggested that the first home buyers tax credit be flipped into a cash payment toward the actual house. In my opinion, giving a guy a tax credit so he can perhaps buy a car just because he bought a house makes no sense. Now, putting that money down on the house gives the buyer more instant equity and encourages the bank to underwrite the loan. The buyer now has more skin in the game and the lender has more equity to rely on. That will sell houses.

    I’ve asked you before Wagonwheel, to put aside your old hatreds and prejudices and try to think outside the box. Outside the old ways and the “conventional wisdom” which seems to be no longer working. However, as long as you insist that every Republican, Libertarian and conservative is some kind of evil, greedy bastard out to destroy the republic we can get nowhere. I can compromise, the question is can you? I’m willing to try new ideas, are you? Or are you so stuck on you party’s dogma that the mere thought of deviating from propaganda makes you want to puke.

    We need to start a Betty Ford Clinic for recovering liberals.

  5. “Rick Perry articulated the right idea, when he said that he would make Washington inconsequential in our daily lives.”

    And that is exactly where you and Rick Perry have it wrong, Dana, in my view.

    For a viable and sustainable economic system to flourish, there has to be a check on greed. That must be the responsibility of government, since there is no other entity to do it. Moreover, the distribution of wealth which has been moving away from the middle and more to the upper, is unsustainable. Already we see the beginnings of social unrest, which is going to grow and become ugly unless we have change.

    Stimulating jobs then phasing in austerity is the correct formula for recovery, and it is going to take a long time because we have permitted this spending and deregulation to go on for much too long. Then the sinking began in the final acceleration with the Bush tax cut/spending increase policies.

    So the solution involves not only stimulating and phased in spending cuts, but also judicious regulation and tax policies which serve as the checks on too much wealth and power generation, and reward the working middle and poor a larger share of the pie.

    I simply cannot understand how supposedly intelligent individuals can let their ideological beliefs substitute for the facts and stand in the way of practical solutions. You folks are your own worst enemies, or so it seems.

  6. “Either we all deserve equal protection under law or we all don’t.”

    Hoagie, we do not have equal protection if our system is configured such that the wealth of the nation is moving increasingly into the hands of a top few people. So to achieve equal protection, we have to alter the system in appropriate ways, as I am sure you will agree.

    “However, as long as you insist that every Republican, Libertarian and conservative is some kind of evil, greedy bastard out to destroy the republic we can get nowhere. I can compromise, the question is can you?”

    Of course I don’t think that; however, I do think the mantra of greed has essentially overwhelmed the good sense ethics of community and nationalism. And on the subject of compromise, I do wish you would request your party leaders to adopt the spirit thereof and practice it. Having and acknowledging a no tax increase pledge to a private citizen hardly represent a spirit of compromise in any way or manner!

  7. Rick Perry has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. He had his moment in the sun and he wilted, just like Bachmann, Cain, and now, Gingrich.

    Ron Paul is nuts, and Rick Santorum talks the talk but he isn’t getting any traction at all. So, it’s Mitt Romney by default. I don’t like it any more than you do, but them’s the facts.

  8. I think you have that right, ropelight. And for the Republicans, Romney will run the better race against President Obama than any of the others. There is going to be plenty of negative campaigning on both sides, which will irritate voters on both sides, so the Presidential candidate debates will be very important, as also will be voter turnout, since both sides will have disaffected voters.

  9. Mr Wheel wrote:

    “Rick Perry articulated the right idea, when he said that he would make Washington inconsequential in our daily lives.”

    And that is exactly where you and Rick Perry have it wrong, Dana, in my view.

    For a viable and sustainable economic system to flourish, there has to be a check on greed. That must be the responsibility of government, since there is no other entity to do it.

    When Governor Perry said that, he was actually referring to the services government provides, and holding that they should be provided at the lowest level of government practical. But now, you have added a new function for government. You not only want to use the highest level of government to provide the most local of services, but you also want the federal government to control people’s behavior. “Greed” would, apparently, be defined by whomever had the political power to do so, and the police power of the state would be used to enforce whatever standards of behavior was decided, to penalize whatever accumulation of wealth exceeded the politically-defined standard of “greed.”

  10. Mr Editor, you have not yet internalized the fact that the upper 1%, who own 40% of our wealth, also pretty much own our Congress and our SCOTUS. Fortunately, they do yet own our Executive Branch, but if you conservatives have your way, that would be the next step. We are well on the way to being an oligarchy. I understand well that that suits you alleged conservatives and libertarians just fine, because in reality, you folks are neither. You are oligarchs! I find it amazing that you who are in the middle class have not yet come to this realization! The redistribution of wealth to the top should provide you with at least one clue as to what is going on in our country.

  11. York, you’re right. The fix is in. MSM manipulates the selection of GOP presidential candidates to make sure no Conservative gets the nomination. Every 4 years Conservatives are asked to hold their noses and vote for the RINO MSM and the GOP establishment have agreed to offer up for public slaughter.

  12. John McCain won the nomination because he won the most votes. I wish we had had another candidate, but we didn’t. Considering how unpopular President Bush had become, as well as the financial collapse, I don’t think it mattered who we had nominated.

    But before the collapse, John McCain had pulled within striking distance of Barack Obama, and even after the collapse, he only lost the election by 8%.

    It’s unfortunate, but I think that the GOP has done this to themselves. We have had a dozen candidate debates, and candidates have supposedly been eliminated, without the first vote ever having been cast. The Iowa caucuses, which are being held way too early, are still over a month away, and already we have seen what is supposed to have been the elimination of everyone but Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

    The GOP does, unfortunately, have too much of a tradition of nominating the guy whose turn it is next, which gave us Ronald Reagan in 1980, George Bush in 1988, and, arguably, George W Bush in 2000. But it also gave us Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008, and it looks like it could give us Mitt Romney in 2012. In some ways, the Democrats have done it better: while they nominated the guy whose turn it was in 1984, 2000 and 2004, Democratic primary voters bucked the establishment candidates in 1976, 1988, 1992 and 2008, and won three of those four elections.

  13. Wagonwheel wrote:

    Mr Editor, you have not yet internalized the fact that the upper 1%, who own 40% of our wealth, also pretty much own our Congress and our SCOTUS. Fortunately, they do yet own our Executive Branch, but if you conservatives have your way, that would be the next step. We are well on the way to being an oligarchy. I understand well that that suits you alleged conservatives and libertarians just fine, because in reality, you folks are neither. You are oligarchs! I find it amazing that you who are in the middle class have not yet come to this realization! The redistribution of wealth to the top should provide you with at least one clue as to what is going on in our country.

    Barack Obama was the recipient of a great deal of the largesse of Wall Street donors in 2008, and on many liberal sites you will find a plethora of complaints that he is owned, lock, stock and barrel, by Wall Street.

    I used to worry that President Obama was a not-so-closeted socialist, but I don’t anymore. Rather, I see him as a man whose sympathies might lay with the left, but who really has no political or philosophical compass which guides him. Sometimes he acts to the left — the idiotic delay of the tar sands pipeline, which will cost tens of thousands of jobs — and sometimes he acts to the right — the cancelling of some environmental regulations, to save jobs — and he’s mostly been a muddle. Couple that with his seeming inability to manage people and real lack of leadership ability, and that’s why you have a failed presidency. He is the epitome of the distinction between being a good candidate — which he certainly was — and a good President.

    If Mr Obama had been a successful President, you wouldn’t be worried about whom the Republicans nominate, nor would you feel the need to trash every possible Republican candidate. Instead, you’d be lauding President Obama’s accomplishments, secure in the knowledge that he’d almost certainly be re-elected. Instead, you have to try to tear down the opposition, because you know that, if the 2012 election is a referendum on the President’s job performance, he will lose. I’m sure you saw what happened in 2010, when the congressional elections were made into a referendum on the President’s job performance.

  14. Wagonwheel said: “The redistribution of wealth to the top should provide you with at least one clue as to what is going on in our country.”

    Well, Wagonwheel, the very fact that you used the term “redistribution” scares the hell out of me. Wealth is not distributed nor redistributed, it’s earned. If you don’t know that at your age then I feel sorry for you. And furthermore, what gives you the right to determine the correct “distibution” of other people’s wealth? What are you some kind of freekin’ god?

    I’m really sick and tired of you socialists telling anyone and everyone who earns their own way that they’re wrong, too rich, too stupid or too greedy for doing so. Can’t you people mind your own damned business and let the rest of us mind ours? Or is every dime I or someone else earns to be scrutinized by you to assure conformity in distribution and equality? Oligarch’s indeed. Your envy and covetness of other people’s wealth is the real oligarchy. And there are so many like you that equality of opprtunity has turned into equality of results. That’s pure crap.

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