Texas Governor Rick Perry, who won a third term last fall by oozing hostility to the federal government in between outbursts of aggressive Southern braggadocio, is more likely than ever to join the Republican presidential race, probably sometime this summer, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A Republican campaign veteran tells us that Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to run for President, though the official word from Team Perry is still a definite maybe.
The thinking is that apparent front-runner Mitt Romney “does not reflect the Republican Party” and is therefore vulnerable to a credible challenge from the right, especially after Mr. Romney’s recent squishy remarks on global warming.
Republican consultants and political scientists I’ve spoken with gush about this guy and his potential to be the one Republicans “fall in love with.”
For the sake of thoroughness, let’s review some of the more colorful things the governor has said/done in the past few years:
1) Speaking recently to Evangelical Hispanics in Los Angeles, Perry claimed that, “Under Obama, our federal tax dollars can now be used to fund abortion all over the world. With the stroke of a pen, abortion essentially became a U.S. foreign export.”
2) When reelected in 2006, Perry invited conservative folk-hero and musician Ted Nugent to play at his inaugural ball. The Michigan native burst onto stage with a shirt embossed with the Confederate flag and spewed invective’s against non-English speakers.
3) Interviewed by The San Angelo Standard-Times about education policy, Perry said, “I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution.”
4) Discussing the federal government’s role in providing Social Security and other guaranteed benefits to society’s most vulnerable, Perry said states should be able to opt-out and do their own thing. “Why is the federal government even in the pension program or the health care delivery program?” he asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this year, apparently unaware Social Security has been extremely popular since its creation in the mid 1930s.
5) I saved the best, and most notorious, for last. Addressing a Tea Party rally chanting “secede” at the height of the healthcare fight in spring 2009, Perry intoned, “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”
This guy scratches Republicans’ existential anti-Obama itch, and if he jumps in, his outrageous comments are likely to help–rather than hurt–his candidacy.