In This Corner…Rick Perry

2012 Contender Series: Rick Perry

(Update: After coming in dead last in New Hampshire, Rick Perry withdrew from the Repblican Primary)

(Update: Perry officially announced his candidacy on Satuday, August 13th on the day of the Iowa Straw Poll)

Yes, Texas Governor Rick Perry is not actually a candidate for President in the 2012 race. But he probably will be due to popular demand. The current baker’s dozen of Republican mediocrity is not making anyone all that excited and the smart people like Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Christie know that there will be no chance of defeating the current incumbent President, Barack Obama. They’re all seeing the writing on the wall, reading the tea leaves correctly, and looking just the right way into the crystal ball. This is probably the best time for Governor Perry to be competitive in a race of futility against the fourteen or so lackluster candidates already in the race. He is the ideal Tea Party candidate and he doesn’t really have anything to lose by running for the Republican nomination; well, except for the Presidency.

Governor Rick Perry

Polls now routinely include Perry as a potential candidate despite his not being in the campaign. Perry has said he is considering getting into the race and that seems to be enough for Republicans desperate for a champion they can get behind that isn’t too crazy or milquetoast. He’s the underdog. The great white hope. But a Perry candidacy has its own problems.

The ruggedly handsome Perry is the 47th Governor of the state of Texas. He’s also Chairman of the Republican governors Association. A former Democrat, Perry switched to the Republican party in 1989. He even campaigned for then Senator Al Gore during his presidential bid in 1988. However, Perry maintains a staunch platform of fiscal conservatism and tax reform; hallmarks of any Republican. In fact, Perry is on record objecting to the 16th Amendment of the Constitution regarding the personal income tax.

Probably the most conspicuous trait of Governor Perry is his unapologetically evangelical Christianity. He is not timid about mixing his religion and politics and he supports teaching ‘intelligent design’ in Texas schools. He recently claimed that he has heard a ‘calling from God’ to run for President. Perry is also a climate change denier although he does advocate an alternative energy strategy that includes multiple types of renewable energy systems.

Recently, Perry has come under fire from critics over his comments on the possibility of Texas secession from the United States; an irony for someone considering a run for President of an actual United States. Perry’s camp has insisted that he was merely engaging in hyperbole but it did inflame sentiment in some factions, particularly the Tea Party. Ron Paul is another candidate (and Texan) on record agreeing with the idea in principle.

Is Perry a viable candidate? Certainly. Even this late in the race he would become a top tier candidate. Does he have issues? Again, certainly. It’s possible Americans have ‘Texas fatigue’ or perhaps ‘Bush fatigue’. People may be weary of boisterous politicians from Texas and Perry certainly has George W. Bush ties. The religious fanaticism may be a turn-off as well. It’s unclear how the Republican machine would view his entry into the race since the establishment is already clearly behind Romney. But Perry is likely to be a darling to the Tea Party and that is a factor that the establishment can no longer ignore.

Can he beat President Obama? According to recent polls he fares no better than any other GOP candidate save Mitt Romney. Perry comes in at 40% to Obama’s 53%, nearly identical to the numbers for Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. Mitt Romney comes in better at 47% to Obama’s 49%. It’s not clear that Perry can break out of the flavour of the month mold amidst an already mediocre Republican field. But he stands a better chance than most.

About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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2 Responses to In This Corner…Rick Perry

  1. clmbusboy1 says:

    that there will be no chance of defeating the current incumbent President, Barack Obama.

    – Unemployment is at 9.2. Articles out there now say it’s within the realm of possibility for it to be over 10. For the record, Goldman Sachs is saying it will be 8.75 come election day.
    – Gallup has Obama’s current approval rating underwater, at 43/49.
    – PPP came out with a poll where Obama is now tied with Romney. When you go deeper in the numbers, alloting undecideds by their approval rating, he loses to Romney. Shoot, using the same methodology, he only beats Bachman 51-49. Eeks.
    – The bettors at Intrade have Obama at a 56% chance of reelection.
    – Generic R beats Obama 47-39 in a Gallup poll of 2 weeks ago. (Of course, no one by that name is running for the R nomination.)

    With all that said, there is still another 15+ months till people pull the lever. That’s an eternity. So much will happen. If I were to lay money, I’d even go higher than the current Intrade odds and give someone 3:2 in favor of Obama reelected. But I certainly wouldn’t be betting the million to one you’re willing to give. My point is, saying “no chance” is just foolish. There are many scenarios where we could be swearing in Mitt Romney on the 20th day of 2013.

    As PPP said yesterday, “There’s a very good chance Obama would lose if he had to stand for reelection today.”

    Back on topic, I would say most of your negatives on Perry are just wishful thinking. The one I do agree with is the “Texas Govenor fatigue.” But the that Bush and Perry don’t get along so well could lessen that.

    Lastly, your “great white hope” was a poor choice of words. At least in my opinion. As a minority, I think racism of any type blows.

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    I debated using the term ‘great white hope’. But I remember it as a song by a band I liked when I was younger so I’ve never attached anything racist to it. It was only as an adult that I learned about it’s historical boxing ties. And upon consideration of how I perceive motivations behind the Republicans priority of defeating President Obama, I felt that it was completely appropriate. As a minority, I’m surprised you didn’t get that.

    But you’re right, it probably is too early to be making predictions but now that the Republicans are trashing the joint I suspect we’ll see some different polls pretty soon unless Obama does something stupid like sign that crappy bill.

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