Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Another Texas Governor

File this under "will-he-won't-he": it now appears certain that Governor Good Hair will be entering the race for the 2012 GOP nomination.

In a bid to steal attention from his Republican rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to affirm his intention to run for president this weekend, just hours before a major straw vote test in Iowa.

Perry will probably use a previously scheduled speech Saturday in South Carolina, home of the first Southern primary, to signal his plan to enter the race. He will follow that by flying immediately to New Hampshire, the leadoff primary state, for a house party that evening.

At the same time, thousands of party activists will be awaiting the results of an Iowa straw poll with the potential to sort out the Republican field. Perry's name is not on the ballot but a well-financed write-in effort, which he has not officially sanctioned, is being waged on his behalf.

The Los Angeles Times sees Perry as a serious threat to Mitt Romney, the presumed front runner in the current motley group of contenders, for several reasons. First, he's a "southern governor" with access to local dollars (oil money). Second, he's a social conservative, as evidenced by his leading 30,000 or so folks in prayer at a special gathering in Houston on Sunday. Third, he's got what appears to be a formidable staff on board to run his campaign, including a couple who ditched Newt Gringrich because that candidate refused their advice.

Like Mitt Romney, Governor Perry has pretty much stayed out of Iowa in terms of campaign appearances, leaving Michele Bachman and Tim Pawlenty (the Minnesota Twins) to slug it out in public for the bragging rights in an essentially meaningless straw poll, but also like Mitt Romney, he's kept a presence of sorts: that write-in campaign just might work.

The perfect candidate to take the nomination? Not hardly. Once he's in (and it now appears that he will be), he will have to face more actual scrutiny than he has. His big claim to fame is that Texas has added more jobs under his tenure than the rest of the country combined. Someone just might point out that a huge chunk of those new jobs are minimum wage jobs, and most are due more to the enormous profits oil companies made during the last round of oil speculation than to his efforts. His efforts at dismantling the education system of his state, from K-12 right up to the state university system, might also need defending. And there's also the problem that those donors who supported George W. Bush just might not be as willing to open their wallets to him because the two principals are not exactly best friends forever.

At any rate, the field will look a little different after this weekend, which means I will need to order more popcorn.



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