A Los Angeles Times comparison of George W. Bush and the man who succeeded him as governor of Texas, rumored presidential candidate Rick Perry, suggests that if America is already suffering Bush fatigue, Rick Perry might prove positively toxic:
Both men hewed to the tenets of Texas Republicanism: low taxes, small government and limited regulation. But Bush prided himself on his ability to work with Democrats, while Perry took a much more partisan approach.
Bush also showed a greater willingness to spend on programs, especially education, with potential long-term benefits. Perry, by contrast, has cut billions from public education to help balance the state budget.
The governor has little use for the philosophy Bush dubbed “compassionate conservatism.” At a recent foray to the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, he told a cheering crowd that conservatives should “stand up” and “stop apologizing” for their beliefs.
Perry has long been a favorite of Christian conservatives, embracing their issues with a zeal Bush lacked. He also has strong support in the “tea party” movement; Perry was at a local rally in 2009 when he broached the prospect of his state seceding from the union, a statement he later disavowed.
More recently, Perry used an emergency session of the Legislature to push for tighter restrictions on abortion and legislation to criminalize aggressive airport searches. The pat-down bill died Wednesday.
If Americans found Bush to be partisan, abrasive, and too conservative–and polls show he continues to be viewed unfavorably, and that Americans hold him responsible in large part for the state of the economy–Rick Perry will be hard-pressed not to come off as a nastier, even more polarizing version of him, especially since the two look and even sound alike.