COMMENTARY | Some of the more interesting pre 2016 buzz concerns outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry, according to Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy. Every indication is that Perry wants to have another go at the presidency.
The buzz has been heightened by Perry’s presence on Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show when it came to Austin. By all accounts he charmed the audience to distraction.
“The Kimmel interview was a case in point. Upon taking the stage, he appeared entirely unfazed by the loud boos that rained down upon him from the left-leaning crowd. And throughout the interview, he was characteristically charming, as he transitioned from a well-received joke about the self-healing practices of Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson to making a serious point about his efforts to reform drug-sentencing laws in Texas.
“By the time he shook hands with Kimmel at the end of the segment, the crowd’s boos had shifted entirely to cheers. There may have been precious few Perry supporters in that crowd, but they couldn’t help but like the guy sitting in front of them, who hadn’t come across the way they’d expected.”
The inevitable comparisons to Nixon and Reagan, who took more than one time to finally get elected president, come to mind. Of course Dole, McCain, and Romney also ran for president more than once and, even though each man was finally nominated, each also still lost in the end.
Perry has some strengths, besides his drawling, Texas charm, that will serve him in good stead, especially now that his health problems will no longer stand between him and a good public persona (no more “oops” moments.) He has a 14 year record of success as governor, for one thing. There is nothing like having presided over a humming economy on the state level to make the argument that one can do the same on the national level.
Perry also does not come across as a squishy moderate like Chris Christie, so he is a sold conservative with tea party appeal. He adds to that just a dash of the libertarian concerning his efforts to ease marijuana laws in Texas to appeal to the millennial generation. As an experienced Texas politician he also knows how to appeal to Hispanics.
We’ll know whether Perry is actually serious after he steps down as governor of Texas in 2015 if he immediately starts fund raising and continues to make the obligatory visits to early states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Thus far he is not considered a top tier candidate, but that could change. Only time will tell.