Atlanta, GA- When a party starts, the host is able to gush over the first person that arrives. If they are a particularly excitable and energetic host, they just might gush over the first few. But at some point, the ability to gush simply ends, and we get to the phase of just waving hi to Joe as he walks in. I don’t know when it happened, but the Republican Party of candidates for 2016 has become so crowded that we’ve gone beyond even having the energy to wave as a new candidate hits the door.
We already have lots of far right wing conservatives running. We already have former governors running, and we even already have a Texan running. But that’s not stopping Rick Perry, Texas’ longest serving governor, the man who was the follow up act to George Bush Jr., and the man who managed the state into a fortress of conservative political ideals of God, Gravy, and Guns, from announcing that he will be running a second time for the presidency.
Rick Perry, at least to me, comes across as a likeable guy, and being a Texan, he always tried to make himself out as a rough-and-ready sort of character. But he also had a tendency on the campaign trail three years ago to open his mouth a lot, and stuff his foot down his gullet.
However, for all of this I don’t see Perry as one of the ones without a chance. He managed to lead Texas into remarkable economic growth. During his watch, the state added roughly 1,800,000 jobs. He managed to fill nearly every position in Texas with someone loyal to him, he managed to actually pass conservative legislation, he managed to even get his chosen successor elected.
There is a cloud of a political indictment hanging over Perry of two felony charges, however, an in indictment is not a conviction, and many have called the indictment politically motivated against the governor because of his far right stances.
What we saw in 2011 was a man who was not comfortable on the debate stages. But supposedly practice makes perfect, add although Perry’s 2011 debate circuit was filled with gaffes and a famous “oops” after he forgot the three Federal Agencies he would cut if elected, perhaps he has grown and gotten better. Maybe not, but certainly Perry’s managers have to know where their candidate is weak, and will be practicing many hours with him so as not to have a repeat of some awkward moments.
But in the long run, surprisingly, all the gaffes just might help Perry. Americans are jaded with polished politicians, and they just might like a down home good old boy from Texas who isn’t afraid to make a mistake or three.
Andrew C. Abbott