Currently flirting with the idea of jumping into the GOP Presidential race, Rick Perry, the longtime Texas governor would be among the GOP field’s most conservative candidates.
I’m of the opinion that Perry, who combines TV anchorman looks, a Southern preacher’s oratory and a cowboy’s swagger, could be a very real contender for not only the GOP nomination, but given the current economic outlook, a problem for President Obama’s reelection plans.
In nearly three decades as a politician, the Texas governor has never lost an election.
“Texans, God love them, have that bigger-than-life persona about politics and that doesn’t necessarily play everywhere,” said Christopher Nicholas, a Republican political consultant who has worked extensively in the Northeast and Midwest. “I haven’t heard a lot of Republicans call Social Security a disease.”
Perry has. He branded Social Security and other New Deal programs “the second big step in the march of socialism,” according to a book published last year. The “first step” was a national income tax, which he has said stands alongside the direct election of U.S. senators as a major mistake among the amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Perry rejects the idea of global warming and the theory of evolution, arguing for natural climate variations and intelligent design of the universe.
Working with the fundamentalist American Family Association, Perry urged people to participate in a day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 6, following the example of the Bible’s book of Joel. Courting evangelical Christians always has been one of his core campaign strategies.
In the few polls that have included Perry, he ranks high among Republican primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Should he run, Perry would seek the support of a wing of the party already courted by conservatives in important states such as Iowa. Those would-be rivals include U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a tea party favorite; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a favorite of anti-abortion activists; and former businessman Herman Cain.
In 2009, at one of the first rallies of a movement that would evolve into the tea party, he famously suggested the idea that Texas might be better off seceding from the Union if what he called “federal overreach” continued.
He’s since said that lawmakers in state capitals should decide whether to legalize gay marriage or marijuana. In 2010, he toyed with the idea of pulling Texas out of Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care for low-income people. He gave up on the idea when the state’s comptroller said it would bankrupt the state.
I’m not sure exactly how Americans would react to another cocky Texas governor so soon after the debacle of the George W. Bush years. However, I do believe Americans vote their pocketbooks. And should the economy not begin to turn around and/or show clear signs of improvement, Governor Goodhair could have a serious shot.