Governor Good Hair
Many believe that Perry's entrance into the race changes everything, and I'm one of those believers. He's the one candidate at this point who can beat Romney for the nomination.
He'll appeal to social conservatives because of his open religiousness: he suggested Texans pray for rain to break the drought gripping the state and led a religious gathering attended by 20,000-30,000 people in Houston for a "Response" to the problems facing the state and the nation.
He'll appeal to fiscal conservatives because of the record he will claim for the way he has managed his state and for his comments on the spending habits of the federal government.
And he will appeal to the old guard of the party because of his access to big money from wealthy Texans who have always given freely to his campaigns in a state without any real limits on campaign financing.
He can beat Romney and he has a damned good chance of beating Obama.
Is he an automatic win/win? Certainly not. He hasn't had to face any real scrutiny on a national level. That scrutiny will start the moment his announcement is made, and there certainly is plenty to look at. An article in McClatchy DC suggests just a few of the items on his presidential resume that bear looking at. Among them are the following:
Trans-Texas Corridor — Perry introduced the ambitious concept in 2002 of a network of corridors linking major Texas cities, with toll roads for cars and trucks, tracks for freight and passenger rail, and rights of way for power lines and pipelines. But the $175 billion, 4,000-mile network was immediately controversial, as Perry signed a contract with a Spanish consortium to build it and then used eminent domain powers to acquire private land. After sustained public opposition, the state abandoned the large-scale project — and its name, which had become toxic — in 2009 in favor of some highways and smaller projects.
Texas debt/economy — Texas critics of Perry say that while the state may claim 37 percent of net job creation in the country since June 2009, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, the jobs are low-paying and that even then the governor shouldn't take the credit.
"The narrative about Texas jobs' miracle dissolves," said Craig McDonald, the director of Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based watchdog group. "The price of oil is responsible and really helped our economy."
Democrats are vocal about the state's rising debt, which grew from $13.4 billion to $37.8 billion from 2001 to 2010, according to the Texas Bond Review Board.
"The number one issue he's vulnerable on is debt," said Matt Angle, the director of the Lone Star Project, a Democratic research group. "When he took office it was zero. That goes against his message of fiscal responsibility." The state budget must be balanced by law, but the state may still incur bond obligations. [Emphasis added]
There's plenty to look at, but Governor Perry has proven to be a tenacious campaigner, as his recent defeat of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for another term as governor shows. Although his name is not on the Ames ballot today, his supporters have waged a strong write-in campaign, and it conceivable that he will place high in the results, perhaps even winning the event. His prayers for rain in Texas may not have brought any drought-busting storms to his state, but his entrance into the race will surely bring about a change in the campaign.
Popcorn futures are up.
Labels: Election 2012