The news that longtime Texas governor Rick Perry is jumping into the race for the GOP presidential nomination isn't too surprising for me, since this guy has all the key elements on paper for getting the nod. Governors tend to do better than Senators and Congresspersons, and his state is the second biggest in the country. Perry manages to straddle both establishment Republicanism as well as the Christian right, and has Tea Party cred--and add to that a great head of hair. He is expected to be a juggernaut in this race, for good reason.
There are a few things though that may ultimately sink a Perry candidacy:
1) He's got troubling secessionist sympathies. Yes, I get that Texans think they're a separate country when it benefits them, but fealty towards a movement that was traitorous to this country? How much creditiblity will President Perry have when Maine finally secedes (and they will--mark my words!) and he has to send federal troops in?
2) He has a thing for executing innocent people. Now, Americans do love them some executin'--Clinton famously made a campaign swing back to Arkansas to watch the execution of a man so severely retarded that he saved some of his last meal for later--but this sort of thing can blow up a bit when it goes national.
3) America really can't afford another war right now. Our last two--and only--Texan presidents brought us long and costly wars in Iraq and Vietnam. I'm not even sure what new country Perry would have to invade to keep up his Texan cred, but I'm sure he'll find somewhere. And we can't afford the wars we have already.
4) He's green on the national stage. One reason I think Mitt Romney is going to win the nomination is because for the GOP the nomination tends to go to the candidate who has been through the nomination races before. (McCain in 2000, winning in '08; Dole in '88, winning in '96; Bush Sr. in '80, winning in '88; Reagan in '76, winning in '80). The first time means the national media gets a chance to do their digging on the candidate, and the candidate gets a chance to learn from his mistakes. Romney's been through it last time, and this time seems less gaffe-prone. Perry has a lot of opportunity to flub around, and get the heat of attack ads that can define his image before he gets a chance to.
My money's still on Romney taking the GOP nod, but it looks like now for the first time in the race he has an actual threat. His strength as a candidate is about to be tested.
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