On Friday, former Governor Rick Perry of Texas, at one time the frontrunner in the 2011-12 GOP Nomination campaign, showed just how different this campaign is from that of four years ago.
At that time the media considered him one of the biggest outsiders in the race, he was sort of the maverick, and people loved him. He was occasionally gaffe prone, but managed to survive until Iowa.
Now, times have changed. The former air force man, the longest serving governor in the history of Texas, (14 years, three and a half terms), the man who, during his stint in office created one-third of all of the jobs in the US, the man who led the great state of Texas, which, if it alone were its own country would be one of the strongest economies on earth, couldn’t even get off the ground with his campaign this time around.
In times past, Rick Perry would seem to be the man to beat. Indeed, with a few less gaffes in 2012, Perry might very well be sitting in the Oval Office right now, running for reelection.
Perry is a man who this time around never even made it to the big stage, while a brain-surgeon, a governor who would like to build a wall between us and Canada, and a billionaire who never learned there is an off switch on his mouth are all standing up there.
There are rumors that part of what destroyed Perry was that he was too busy being governor, many months ago, to engage in the invisible primary, the bloody, bloody battle for talent, money and endorsements from important people in Texas. He lost to Senator Ted Cruz. Having lost America’s most conservative, diverse, and arguably most powerful single state, and having lost on his own home turf at that, Perry was left to dwindle and die.
Without getting into how great Rick Perry may have or not have been for the country were he to move into the White House, it is a troubling sign that a man as accomplished as him was unable to get anywhere with his campaign, despite the fact that he had obviously proven himself a serious public servant with ideas good enough to make his state the best in the nation for jobs creation, he is losing to men who people say they like because of how they talk.
We probably won’t be seeing a whole lot of the governor after this. Maybe some public policy speeches, and endorsement, if some candidate s really lucky in the future maybe a bit of fundraising. I personally would like to see him in a cabinet, either this one or future ones, in some position that would make the best use of his wide array of talents.
But for now, 65 year old Perry will be going back to his ranch in Texas, with his wife Anita, to whom he has been married over half his life. He’s had a good run, and no one can say he didn’t do his best.
With the Republican Party in turmoil, and the nation’s economy struggling, Perry, a man who didn’t believe in divisiveness, and who knew how to fix economies, could have brought healing. But alas, it was not to be.
Perhaps the best epitaph for Perry is from a man not known for saying nice things about people-Donald Trump. When told Perry was leaving the race, Trump said “Perry is one terrific guy.”
Andrew C. Abbott