Recent whispers out of Texas have Gov. Rick Perry becoming more and more interested in a possible entry in to the Republican Primary field in 2012. He is set to deliver two big speeches next week in both Manhattan and New Orleans. Both of these appearances will give him a platform on which to gauge the temperature of support for his proposals, ideas, and possible nomination run. While there are some disagreements concerning his record, no one can dispute the fact that Texas has navigated the financial crisis better than almost any state. For example, from 2008 to 2010 Texas added 165,000 jobs while California lost 1.2 million jobs. In an election that most likely will be mainly about jobs this would be an impressive record to run on.
Governor Perry would be a very strong candidate in the Republican primary. He has a vast array of donors to call on and his early association with the Tea Party would help him greatly in closed primary states. The general election however would be a different story. Looking back at the 2008 election, it is clear that the overriding reason Barack Obama was elected was because of Bush fatigue. Some may point to the economic collapse or the selection of Sarah Palin, but the main reason was that after 8 years people where simply tired of a certain Texan in the White House and wanted a change. It is not likely that after 4 years of President Obama the American people are to go back.
What the Republican party needs in order to compete with President Obama and his expected one billion dollar campaign budget is a fresh face who is able to galvanize and inspire a an already motivated electorate. Nominating a governor of Texas will basically hand President Obama an opportunity to recycle the attacks of 4 years ago trying to paint his republican advisory as the 2nd coming of George W. Bush. Governor Perry would do well to consider the counsel of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush who so far has rightly conceded that the public still suffers from Bush fatigue. Perry would obviously be painted as too similar and would find it next to impossible to escape the characterization of a tough-talking Texan ill-schooled in foreign affairs.
The news that David Carney, Governor Perry’s longtime confidant and adviser, just yesterday decided to leave the imploding Gingrich campaign will do little to stem the tide of rising anticipation for a Perry 2012 campaign. Mr. Carney would do well to advise Mr. Perry that like Jeb Bush, 2016 promises to be a much better opportunity and that he should focus his energies on his work as head of the RGA. Then in 2016, he may run with the support of many Governors who he has helped guide and aid. 2016 may very well be the year for Mr. Perry but it is most unlikely that 2012 is.