Rick Perry Superstar
Texas Governor Rick Perry is apparently considering a run for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.
The speculation regarding the Perry campaign was fueled, in large part, by the implosion of the Newt Gingrich campaign on June 9. The advisers who left suddenly all had close ties to Gov. Perry. At this writing, he is in second place on Intrade with 16% probability of garnering the nomination, according to traders. On the graph, you can see the “bump” in Perry’s numbers on June 10: both the price of a Perry contract (line) and the trading volume (green bars) spiked after the defections from Gingrich’s campaign.
Nate Silver has written favorable blog posts assessing Perry’s chances on May 18, June 9, June 14, (and, just in case you missed his point, June 15). Silver’s assessment is that Perry is a strong contender for the nomination, and has put Perry in his “top tier” of candidates with a 1-in-8 chance of winning the nomination.
Who is Rick Perry?
James Richard “Rick” Perry was born in Paint Creek, Texas, about 50 miles north of Abilene in Haskell County. He is described as a “fifth generation” Texan. (So am I, by the way. I suspect a lot of families trace their Texas roots to the post-Civil War period, as mine do.) He is a 1972 graduate of Texas A&M University, and like any Aggie, has extensive political skills and ties which accrue from that association, ties as strong as those between the Ivy League schools and the Federal government. He was a US Air Force pilot.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Anita Thigpen, in 1982. They have two children, Griffin (b. 1983) and Sydney (b. 1986). Griffin married in 2009 but there are no reported grandchildren yet.
His first elected office was Haskell County Commissioner in 1983. He ran as a Democrat. (“I never met a Republican until I was in the Air Force,” the Houston Chronicle quotes Perry as saying.)
Perry served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1985 to 1991. In 1990 he was elected to the post of Agriculture Commissioner and became George W. Bush’s Lieutenant Governor in 1998. Upon Bush’s election to the White House and subsequent resignation, Perry was sworn in as Texas Governor on December 21, 2000. He was first elected Governor in 2002 and is now serving his third four-year term.
In the 2010 election, he soundly defeated Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina in the Republican primary, 51−30−18, and in the general defeated popular former Houston Mayor Bill White 55–42.
Perry made waves in 2009 when, addressing a Tea Party rally, he placed the issue of Texas secession out in the open.
There’s a lot of different scenarios. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.
Texas was an independent Republic from 1836 until its admission to the United States in 1845. Many Texans believe, and are taught in required Texas history classes, that Texas has the right under the annexation agreement of 1845 to secede from the Union if it so desires. Historians and Constitutional scholars have disputed this, but it is still a pervasive belief held by a significant minority of Texans. One presumes that those Texans attending the rally were solidly within the 31% who believe this to be the case, as reports say they cried “Secede!” during Perry’s speech.
Rick Perry would seem to be a “slam-dunk” for the right-wing base, being a Southerner and a charming, outspoken conservative with that unique Texas swagger. But as you can see from these Free Republic comments, reaction to him among hard conservatives is mixed at best. The “Freepers,” while impressed by Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Perry, are suspicious of the candidate himself. They smell more than a whiff of RINO in his former association with the Texas Democratic Party, his cozy ties to big business, and his former suspect views on abortion.
Gov. Perry strongly supported Texas House Bill 15, which instituted a “sonogram requirement” and two-day waiting period for most women seeking abortions. He is opposed to research on human stem cells.
Underlying many of these negative comments at Free Republic is the wildcard that nobody mentions: the candidacy of Michele Bachmann. She is the reason that Rick Perry is considering his chances so cautiously, and is also a growing fear within the Republican establishment right now. They are very much afraid that Bachmann’s early momentum could galvanize her far-right supporters and make them so fervent that when she eventually drops out (as she likely will) then the candidates who remain will have a PUMA-type problem with the disappointed Tea Party base. This would not be so damaging to many of the other candidates like Romney or Pawlenty, who will not be getting the strong support of that portion of the electorate anyhow. But it would be a fatal development for Rick Perry — he must assess Bachmann’s current prospects very carefully.
Another unusual twist in the Perry for President story was revealed on Wednesday June 29: Public Policy Polling (which has a Democratic affiliation but is one of the more accurate pollsters in Nate Silver’s ratings) found that Texans preferred President Obama to Governor Perry in a head-to-head matchup, 47–45%. The same poll found that 59% of Texans are opposed to a Perry run, vs. 33% in favor of such a move.
George Will has written favorably about Perry and his “10th Amendment Conservatism”. Is Perry the right candidate for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination? First he has to decide to run.
- Should Rick Perry Run for the 2012 GOP Nomination? (usnews.com)
- New at Reason: Steve Chapman on Rick Perry’s Presidential Chances (reason.com)
- Rick Perry at the Republican Leadership Conference (minx.cc)
- WSJ: Rick Perry to Run for President (timesoftexas.com)
- 14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President (peregrine5700.wordpress.com)
- Texas Governor Rick Perry To Enter Presidential Race, Campaign Source Says (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- Rick Perry Implores Conservatives To Follow Him On ‘Tweeter’ (VIDEO) (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Run, Rick, run. (timesoftexas.com)