Rick Perry Makes it Official and Steps in the Race as a Responsible Libertarian

Bookmark and Share    The announcement of Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy (see the announcement in the video below) on the same day that the field of opponents were dealing with the Iowa Straw Poll, has met mixed with mixed criticism. Some have suggested that timing the announcement for the same day as the major event in Iowa was poor judgment. Most of those who say that though, come from Iowa.

But insofar as the other 49 states go, I fail to see how Perry’s move will hurt his chances in them. At the same time, with his relative late entry into the race and a virtually non-existent organization in the Hawkeye State, Perry’s decision to announce his candidacy while the Straw Poll was taking place, was smart. It assured that whoever won the Straw Poll would have an asterisk next to their win which states “The win was achieved before Rick Perry entered the race”. This diminishes the victory, which went to Michele Bachmann.

As it relates to the Republican presidential nomination, under the set of circumstances that Perry is confronting, this announcement was technically perfect and in every way.

In addition to diminishing the effect of Bachmann’s win in Iowa. The location of Perry’s announcement and the venue used to do it at were politically shrewd for at least two reasons. First, he chose to make his announcement at what is the third annual Red State Gathering. It is a convention of sorts for conservative activists and attending it this year were 500 highly motivated activists. The gathering is sponsored by the blog “Red State“, which is one of the most widely read right of center blogs there is,  and is widely considered one of the most influential voices of the conservative grassroots . That means that the conservative blogosphere has been and is a buzz about the potential and promise of a Perry presidential candidacy. In addition to that, Perry’s willingness to embrace hardcore conservative activists like those who follow Red State, shows guts, and an unwavering devotion to the conservative cause. Few if any mainstream politicians would choose to introduce their candidacy from something that is so politically partisan that it would call itself “Red State”.   While many haven chosen to announce their candidacies in front of some Norman Rockwell-like backdrop of a farm in Iowa or picnic ground in New Hampshire, Perry came right out and held no punches regarding  his commitment to conservatism and willingness not to hide from it. That sends a strong, positive signal to the Republican base.

The second thing about the location of the announcement was that it took place in Charleston, South Carolina.

South Carolina is currently seen as wide open with no clear frontrunner. And while Michele Bachmann has the inside track on the Iowa Caucuses, after that the race turns to New Hampshire where Mitt Romney is expected to come out on top. After those two states, the race turns to South Carolina which has a Republican electorate that is closer to that of Iowa’s Republican demographic than New Hampshire’s. This makes South Carolina  more fertile for Bachmann than it is for Romney. But New Hampshire’s Republican base is not great turf for Bachmann and after a win in Iowa, a bad showing behind Romney and anyone else in New Hampshire could begin to convince voters that Bachmann may not be all that electable.  This all means that South Carolina could be a cakewalk for Perry.   If so, that will have a big effect on nearby Florida which holds its primary soon after. And with its compliment of 99 winner-take-all delegates, the third largest delegation of all states, Florida could be the state that finally determines who the real frontrunner is as the nomination process moves on from there.

But there was much more that was right about Perry’s announcement on Saturday.

While all of the candidate’s are using TEA Party talking points, Rick Perry’s talk about not exchanging “less freedom for more government” and “time to get America working again” seemed much more convincing than the others who have spoken similarly. Perhaps what makes him more believable than the others on these issues is his standing as Governor of the “Lone Star” state a state known for independence, and the fact that he has ruled over a state that has recently accounted for nearly 40% of all new jobs in that nation?

Be those the reasons or not, in his speech, Rick Perry demonstrated an ability to connect with voters and to electrify a room quite naturally. Nothing was forced in the way that Tim Pawlenty often seems to do, or stretched as Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann seem to do. With Rick Perry it all seems natural and genuine and based on his record, you can understand why.

In the final analysis, Perry’s announcement was a good start and as for the timing, South Carolina’s popular Governor and a national TEA Party darling, stated:

“I think his timing was brilliant. I think to turn around and do this the same day you’ve got the Ames Iowa poll really just lets us all know that it’s game on time for all the candidates and I love that,”

But there was much more to Perry’s announcement than the timing. The words he spoke rang quite true with the conservative base that will be decisive in the nomination process. Perry struck critical chords in lines such as these;

“The people are not subject to the government, the government is subject to us.”

And his closing line;

“I will work every day to make sure that Washington DC is as inconsequential to your lives as possible.”

That line in particular could be a key to Perry’s winning over of conservatives and those in the Taxed Enough Already movement. It was extraordinarily bold and in direct contradiction with the liberal logic that pushes government to be one of the biggest consequences in our lives. The left may try to use that line against Perry if he is the nominee, but in the Republican nomination process that will get you to the general election, that line demonstrates that Perry gets it and when pieced with all his other initial stances it makes him an adult version of Ron Paul……… a  “responsible Libertarian“, an image that can unite both the conservative base and the growing libertarian Republican base.   It shows that Perry is not only in touch with the right and the TEA movement, but that he is one of them and a part of the  movement. 

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