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Rick Perry appears to be on the move. He's working the phones, calling Republican operatives and politicians around the country. Some of them are being summoned to Austin. Polls are showing him coming in at an almost statistical tie with Romney should he enter the race.

PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS/Lee Celano (Reuters)

We need to start getting prepared if this guy jumps in. He's a game-changer and he is probably the biggest threat to Democratic interests. Don't let overconfidence in President Obama fool you. Obama can be beaten with the right combination of a strong candidate and a bad economy. It is difficult to unseat a sitting president, but with the right combination of factors it can be done. In almost every case, it has been done by a superior candidate beating a president in a period of high unemployment.


Perry is reaching out to major Republican fundraisers, many of which have been sitting on the fence so far. He is the head of the Republican Governors Association, which Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour used to tremendous Republican advantage in the 2010 election. He's already raised a record breaking $22 million for the RGA. That is certainly going to enhance his national clout. As kos has often taught us, Governors and Mayors make a huge difference when it comes to running a national election. He is the longest serving Governor in the country and there are now a slew of Republican governors he will have at his fingertips.

Texas. Big Oil. Nuff said about that.

Keep in mind that this will also be the era of the Citizens United ruling. Corporations will have an unlimited playing field to engage on Perry's behalf. If Mitt Romney is a battleship, Rick Perry is an aircraft carrier surface battle fleet in terms of fundraising. In short, Rick Perry will be as potent and powerful a fundraiser as Barack Obama.


There is more. Rick Perry is a rock-solid social conservative, and his right-wing bona-fides among that group unquestioned. There are some vulnerabilities Democrats can exploit, but I wont discuss that now. I'll do a weaknesses diary later. But for now, just understand that Rick Perry has strong support from the American Taliban wing of the Republican party. The large number of prayer breakfasts and prayer meetings he's held over his long term as governor have, while not endearing them to him as much as George W. Bush, have indicated to them he's hospitable. Furthermore, Perry has been a staunch anti-choice Governor, working hard to pass laws restricting abortion in Texas.

Next, Rick Perry was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool. When it comes to slash and burn budget cuts and constant lowering of taxes leading to government shrinkage, he's the most right wing governor in office today. He's the guy who even stirred up secession talk during the height of the heathcare debate. He's been consistent throughout his career on issues of small government and "returning power to the states." This is perhaps one of his more seductive selling points. More on this later. There is some grumbling among Tea Partiers thathe isn't conservative enough, of course. Especially over immigration issues. But I have no doubt the vast majority of the conservative base will find him acceptable enough.

As to corporate power country-club set, Perry is a charter member. Due to his completely big-oil friendly record, I have no doubt that he will find plenty of support on Wall Street and in multinational boardrooms. Anything a big corporation in Texas wants, it gets from Perry. He just signed perhaps the most anti-consumer tort reform law in the country. Furthermore he is about the most anti-union Governor in the nation, but he is extremely quiet about it. He famously took the 5th Amendment during the Wisconsin battle. While that may open a line of attack on him in the primary, his record in Texas should be more than sufficient to convince the money boys he's on their side.

In summary, Perry has enough credentials to unite the three pillars of the Republican base in a way perhaps no other candidate in field can. Furthermore, he's a rock solid Republican record to prove it. If he wins the nomination, he'll have a united party.

Campaign skills

As a campaigner, Perry is a natural. He's never lost a race for any office he's run for, and very few of them were close. He's slick on the stump in Texas, although we haven't seen how he can perform under the national spotlight. But if there is a good training ground for a presidential candidate, a big state like Texas would be it. It's got five major media markets and Perry is comfortable under the spotlight. Perhaps he will need some conditioning to achieve presidential quality (way too much hand gestures!), but he's so far shown a willingness to practice the discipline and determination it takes to win.

For a good sample of his stump, take a look at this. Of all the candidates in the field, there isn't perhaps anybody as good on the stump as Perry except perhaps Palin. He's animated , and emotional on the stump. He'll probably improve if the past is any indication. But he certainly isn't afraid of the camera. When it comes to debate, he's not very good. Obama will probably wipe the floor with him in a debate. Just like John Kerry could wipe the floor with George W. Bush. But he' s certainly not a McCain. He'll be good enough to get his soundbytes in without having the lack of gravitas and annoying voice that Palin has.

As far as presence, he's got a presidential look. Great hair. He's 6 foot 1 and lean, just about matching Obama as far as stage presence. He doesn't have that 1000-watt winner's smile that the President has, but he's adequate. As far as his ability to inspire love and loyalty, that just isn't him. Rick Perry is the kind of man who would rather be feared than loved, according to Texas politics writer Paul Burka.

Burka also cautioned people that Perry is not Bush:

Perry is not George Bush. Don’t assume that because Bush and Perry served together in the Capitol, or because they’re both Republican Texans who wear boots, the two men have a lot in common. They don’t. As governor, Bush positioned himself as “a uniter, not a divider,” championing education as one of his main priorities. Perry has been the opposite kind of chief executive: dismissive of Democrats and fond of political maneuvers that put the heat on moderates within his own party. And in the legislative session that just wrapped up, he presided over a budget that cut $4 billion from public schools. The cultural differences are striking too. Perry, the son of a Big Country cotton farmer, is at ease with a populist tea party message; W., the scion of a political dynasty, always seemed more comfortable with the country club set. They have followed starkly different paths. When W. began his political career, he had a famous name, access to his father’s huge national fund-raising base, and the backing of the establishment wing of the Republican party. As a late arrival in the Republican ranks, Perry had no fund-raising base and little name identification.

Perry had to scrap and claw his way up the Republican ranks, which is especially notable since he began his career as a Democrat and was Al Gore's Texas campaign manager. I've always said that somebody who had to hustle their up to the Presidency, like both Clinton and Obama, are generally going to be better campaigners than those whom come from political families. They've just had to work harder to get where they are, making them tougher.

But here is the most seductive part of the Perry pitch, I think: The states rights stuff. Perry is a 10th Amendment nutcase. But lately, he's been skillfully using that same language to appeal to social moderates without losing his conservative base. Kossack seanflynn wrote about this yesterday.

Here is Rick Perry on marriage equality:

"Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That's New York, and that's their business, and that's fine with me," he said to applause from several hundred GOP donors in Aspen, Colo. "That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business."

Rick Perry on abortion:

Despite holding personal pro-life beliefs, Texas Gov. Rick Perry categorized abortion as a states’ rights issue today, saying that if Roe v. Wade was overturned, it should be up to the states to decide the legality of the procedure.

“You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t,” Perry told reporters after a bill signing in Houston.  “You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, 'We’d rather not have states decide that.'”

We're seeing a pattern here. Whenever Rick Perry doesn't want to come down hard on an issue, deflect it, or take some of the sting out of his hard-right position, he quickly moves to the 10th Amendment. It's a very seductive "let and let live" argument without really being it. That leads me to believe than on domestic issues from healthcare to social security to infrastructure, his mantra is going to be "Everyone can see that the federal government is dysfunctional. Both sides cant make anything work. I mean look, we almost defaulted because they cant make it work. Better to let the states do it." It is will probably be the key counter-argument to Obama's "lets get both sides to work together to make the federal government effective" spiel. I can totally see him transferring that social argument to an economic one. As in "Vermont shouldn't have to ask the Federal Government if they want single-payer socialism. If thats what they want, fine by me. If Texas wants free market healthcare, no problem. If Florida wants Medicare, fine. Lets have Florida-based Medicare." It's wrong, but its political snake oil.

And finally, Rick Perry will have the opportunity to frame the debate by asking the question that has undone the last two Presidents to get unseated:

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

No matter who wins the GOP nomination, President Obama has to get something done about jobs, housing, and the broader economy. Not the deficit. Jobs and housing. It's going to be tough, close election. It is especially the case if he has to face a slick snake-oil salesman like Rick Perry.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I logged in on my iPhone...i (0+ / 0-)

      In the middle of a busy move from Tokyo to Kyushuu just to Rec this and make this comment (and what a pain in the ass it is...if the mobile version didn't suck so bad I might actually log in more often)...

      And then I noticed this was a diary by BBB. Damn dude you rock...I didnt Rec this from UID...just good writing about a candidate that scares me more than Pawlenty did before everyone figured out he was a loser.

      Thanks mate.

      Not every story has a happy ending but Im doing my best to make mine so. Come and take a look at my discussion forum: TheNewCurevents We are looking for new active members!

      by ProgressiveTokyo on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:04:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please add this to your reading materials (0+ / 0-)

      If you want some info on Perry and Texas, the Texas Observer is a pretty good place to read.

  •  To take out a carrier group, cripple the runway. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, jayden, marina, falina

    If planes can't take off, the carrier group is vulnerable to attack.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:35:05 AM PDT

    •  Perry is just like GW Bush only worse. (0+ / 0-)

      Publicize all lists where Texas is near the top - child poverty, no health insurance, probation revocation, incarceration, poor graduation rates, children in foster care, children killed, etc.

      Out in the west Texas town of El Paso...

      by falina on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 12:31:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems are doomed: "great hair." (5+ / 0-)

    Seriously, he's for real, I think. You didn't mention his greatest asset: Texas is gaining jobs (crappy ones, but...) Look for stories about the "Texas Miracle."

    But it's always hard to predict how someone will come across on the national stage. I just watched a few minutes of that speech: not bad but not great.  

  •  Yeah, "if" (7+ / 0-)
    We need to start getting prepared if this guy jumps in.

    It might help if folks get over the "if" factor.  Perry is absolutely getting in the race, and this has been certain for at least 2 year.

    BTW, if folks are interested in a backgrounder on Perry, particularly his fundraising, see here:

    "How did you go bankrupt?" "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly." - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

    by weasel on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:41:11 AM PDT

  •  do you believe in the Easter abortion bunny? (0+ / 0-)
    You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t,” Perry told reporters after a bill signing in Houston.  “You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, 'We’d rather not have states decide that.'”
    Around 1927 it was discovered that if you injected the urine of a pregnant woman into a rabbit, there would be corpora hemorrhagica in the ovaries of the rabbit. These bulging masses on the ovaries could not be seen with out killing the rabbit to inspect the ovaries, so invariably, every rabbit died, even if the woman wasn't pregnant. The phrase, "The rabbit died," came to be a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test after the late 1920 and early 1930s.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:41:26 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for understanding this! (5+ / 0-)

    The way to undercut Perry is to go after his "conservative" strengths to GOP primary voters. You tarnish that shell he's got built up around himself, and you bring him down.

    And you're right. It isn't going to be a cakewalk with Perry. He will be the toughest opponent for President Obama to face. It would explain why Obama went so far to the right in the deficit reduction discussions in offering the big three on the table to look more "credible and bipartisan" to independent/moderate voters.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:41:31 AM PDT

  •  Excellent (4+ / 0-)

    Very informative and scary at the same time!

  •  Thanks Brooklynbadboy (7+ / 0-)

    Perry is really the only legitimate threat I think in this upcoming election. He doesn't have the negatives of some of the 'lions of the base' (Palin, Bachmann) and he will go over far better than Romney with the evangelical, southern branch of the Republicans.

    Additionally, It's really all about your final point. Texas has experienced significant job growth - you can argue the details of how 'good' it is - but it's literally a hammer for him to swing. Obama has HUGE issues with jobs and Perry can swing for the fences on that. It's all about the economy.

    •  Was anyone opposing his every move (0+ / 0-)

      the way it's been for Obama?

    •  Isn't Texas also the most polluted state? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, 4Freedom, falina

      Money doesn't equal quality of life; TXSharon's diaries hold mountains of evidence of "life" in Perry's Texas, industrialized countryside in the service of Big Gas & Oil.

      I can pretty much guarantee a certain segment of voters in the Marcellus Shale area who will have nothing to do with him--those who see through he oil and gas companies' greenwashing.

      There are many negatives about Perry.  We'll await your next diary, but it doesn't hurt to be collecting the information in the meantime and disseminating it, truthfully as always, into the web.  

      I just don't see why anyone who wants to secede from the UNITED States of America should be entrusted to preside over it.

      •  Again, Like 4Freedom said (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Catte Nappe, falina, Bluefin

        Don't make the error that because it's a big deal to us, it's a big deal to everyone else.

        That's one of the big mistakes we made with GW Bush in 2000 and 2004. We kept pointing out all the reasons why he was a bad president from a Dem point of view.

        But what were negatives for Us were positives to THEM.
        And vice-versa with John Kerry.

        Not to get in front of Triple-B's followup, but Texas has low educational scores, the highest number of children living in poverty, and the highest number of people without health insurance. Those are items in the PLUS column where even the average conservative is concerned. Tea baggers? They'll do back flips over that shit.


        The Republican Party is Michael Douglas. The Tea Party is Glenn Close

        by Jank2112 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:29:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perry is described as GWB Lite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or GWB w/o the brains.  I can only shudder

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      I would call him Bush/Cheney on steroids.

      All the conservatism, with none of the "compassion"


      The Republican Party is Michael Douglas. The Tea Party is Glenn Close

      by Jank2112 on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:30:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whoever's using that description is dead wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The guy has a bunch more brains than Bush. He didn't get into, or through, college on a famous daddy legacy, like Bush did. He actually completed for real military service, unlike the Bush pretend kind. He doesn't need a Karl Rove to pull the strings - he's his own Karl Rove. And all that makes him even scarier.

    •  Anybody that describes Herr Perry like that is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a complete fool and an ass.
      Rick Perry has the same intellectual heft as Obama and Clinton, a heavyweight. Even if y'all around here don't seem to think so, and he's slicker 'n owlshit too.
      A Formula 1 racer compared to his Formula Vee Rescummie competitors.
      It has always been a Texas trait to get your opposition to underestimate you, the better to sandbag them at the right time. He and his handlers have played everything with perfect pitch and timing.
      Like tripleB lays out so well, Perry is going to be the one, and a very formidable candidate.
      It scares the shit outta me that because Obama has been such a piss poor leader of the Democrats that Gov. Blowdry now has a political opening big enough to fly a corporate jet through.

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

      by Bluefin on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 04:32:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great analysis. (0+ / 0-)

    One very minor point:

    . . .was Al Gore's Texas campaign manager
    That was in 1988, in case anyone is wondering how he could have managed Bush's opponent's campaign and then been appointed to take Bush's place as governor.

    Families is where a nation finds hope, where wings take dream.

    by cardinal on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 07:59:47 AM PDT

  •  IMO Romney will be the toughest (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, Bluefin

    to beat if he can get through the GOP primaries. The real question is can he win enough support to do so?

    Whether Rick Perry will catch on nationally remains to be seen, at this point it could go either way. I remember when the Chris Christie was supposed to be biggest threat to Obama until he imploded.

    But your general point is spot on, Obama will ultimately be judged by the economy and whether the American people still have confidence in his stewardship compared to whoever will be the GOP nominee.

  •  Perry isn't Bush but it should be easy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, falina, echo still, Bluefin

    for us to paint him as such. Texas has huge fiscal problems  ( that were forewarned about by the comptroller ) and just slashed billions from public education. Perry executes innocent people and thinks the country is so shitty that Texas should secede. And if people stopped moving here job growth would likely drop-off considerably.

    Oh, and let's not forget his bitching about "Washington" and then begging for federal aide to help with wildfires. And don't let any cameras near the gulf coast. There are still lots of work to be done after Rita hit six years ago.

    Perry has good hair and is a smooth talker but his record is crap.

    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 08:18:48 AM PDT

  •  The Republican candidates are barely worthy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    of debate, consideration, or attention, but they are about to get billions of dollars worth of buffing, primping, polishing, educating, glorifying and whatever billions of dollars of positive attention can do for them. Most are such set pieces it has been difficult to take them seriously, but I know we must.

    It's not even a good battle we will be waging, but another trench warfare to be fought hand to hand, and hopefully won. This will be a campaign season I will soldier on through, rather than look forward to. There's not a Republican in the loading shoot that will do anything, should they accede to the Presidency, but further damage our country.

    That motivates me, but not in a positive way. And as a lifelong opponent of the death penalty, I find Perry, 'strenghts' and all, particularly loathsome.

    Hate is going on in this world and it has to stop. Hate causes a lifetime of pain. ~ Mark Stroman 7/20/11

    by 4Freedom on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 09:07:21 AM PDT

  •  Texas has 27 billion dollar budget shortfall (0+ / 0-)

    and so the response is heavy heavy cuts.

    we have low business taxes and we were recently ranked 2nd in the nation for good business climate by CNBC I thinkit was...would have to check...

    but ...the 2011 budget story...

    and then theres the bit where funding for nursing homes gets cut on the same day tax breaks for luxury yacht owners gets approved.

    i know this i sthe legislatures doing but Perry is in charge of the state.  he must have some say in these matters.  I have heard that the comptroller warned Perry and the legislature that things they did years ago would result in these huge budget shortfalls.  Im not sure what those things were though right off hand.  I read it at the observer though so...its there somewhere

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