Maybe I convinced him, because, from what I hear, he’s going to jump into the GOP presidential sweepstakes very soon.
Now, I want to be clear. I am not endorsing Perry. I think he’s a great candidate who can beat Obama. But there are several others running who are great candidates who can also win the presidency. I’m not one of these people who thinks Obama is invulnerable or unbeatable – far from it. The fact that an unnamed Republican candidate beats Obama in the polls today suggests he is all but toast right now.
But let me say this about Rick Perry: His entry into the race will change the dynamics of the Republican primary season.
He is formidable. He is a force to be reckoned with. He’s got lots of executive experience running one of the largest states longer than any other governor of Texas. His state is prosperous even in this very deep recession Washington has created for us. He is attractive. He is real. And he’s got a good track record.
Is he perfect? Far from it. No one is – especially anyone in politics.
Has he made mistakes? You bet. Here are a few of the biggies:
One of the biggest came in 2007 when he signed an executive order that required every sixth-grade girl in Texas to be vaccinated for the HPV virus – a sexually transmitted disease. He needs to explain clearly why this was a mistake he will never make as governor again, nor as president.
Another one was his unbridled support of the Trans-Texas Corridor, also known as the NAFTA Superhighway. He needs an education on why this is a bad deal for Texas as well as the rest of the nation.
A third is the way he has played footsie with the Council on Foreign Relations. Americans don’t want another guy from Texas who hangs around in secret societies that want to control the world.
None of these policies or actions was in line with Perry’s self-proclaimed “conservative” credo. But are they lethal politically to a guy who has served as governor for 10 years?
I don’t think so. But they do require explanation from a guy about to run for president – and I trust that Perry is working on those explanations right now. If he needs someone to explain why the wrong answer to questions about these miscues will end his presidential aspirations, I will be happy to provide them to him personally.
Some of his previous forays into national politics have demonstrated less-than-stellar political judgment. In 2008, he was out of the box early endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president. When Giuliani went down in flames, he quickly changed horses to John McCain – who still had not wrapped up the nomination. Many of his closest supporters thought his support might have saved the nation from the horror of an Obama win.
On the positive side, much of what Perry represents personally will be very appealing to American conservatives. This is not George W. Bush II. This is not a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Rick Perry grew up in a home of rural poverty – without indoor plumbing. His political career began as a Democrat. But once in office as a state representative, he realized he was in the wrong party.
He’s a sincere believer in Jesus Christ and takes his faith seriously. I don’t know Perry well, but those who do say his moral character and personal life are beyond reproach.
Perry is an excellent speaker – motivational, even inspirational.