Perry’s Very Telling Decision to Stay in the Race

Bookmark and Share    When it became clear that Rick Perry was going to come in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus, it seemed as though his hopes to recapture the lead that he once held in the G.O.P. nomination contest were dashed.  The only two good bits of news to come out of Iowa for Perry was the fact that he won two of the 99 counties, the only candidate to win any county aside from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, and that he did not have a totally embarrassing last place showing.  That distinction went to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose sixth place finish put her ahead of only Jon Huntsman, the one major candidate who did not do any campaigning in the Hawkeye State and who summed up his appreciation for Iowa by saying “who cares”.

Then the writing seemed to be on the wall when Governor Perry came out to address his supporters and told them that he was going back to Texas to reassess his campaign.

But a strange thing happened to Governor Perry on his way home.  Between the time he decided to reevaluate his campaign and the time he woke up the following morning, an infusion of optimism compelled him to type a Twitter feed that read;

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State,” Perry tweeted, “Here we come South Carolina!!!

The electronic announcement came as a pleasant surprise to his campaign staff and stunned the political world.  Few thought it possible for Perry to continue with his campaign after making an inference to how bad things were by stating the need to “reassess” his chances of winning the nomination.  Most experts agree that given the poor showing and all the time and money that he invested in Iowa,  no sincere evaluation of his campaign have  possibly found any promising reason for Perry to stay in the race.

From my vantage point, I can only assume that  Rick Perry believes that if doesn’t give up too early, the short history of this election which has created a new frontrunner every month, will repeat itself enough times to give him another opportunity to be in that position.  Perry probably assumes that Rick Santorum will not be able to sustain the attacks he is undoubtedly about to face and will not have the money to respond to those attacks effectively.  As a result, he is holding out hope for another opportunity to became the clear viable alternative to Romney.

But there may very well be another reason why Perry has found the strength to continue his fight.

Not long before the Governor tweeted his battle cry and aimed his campaign guns at South Carolina, it was revealed that a group of national evangelical leaders will gather in Texas for the second time in five months and determine who other Mitt Romney, they can all get behind.

Having a very good relationship with these religious and their associates, Perry may know something about what they are inclined to decide and it just might be responsible for his going from the need to take a close look at if and how his campaign could move beyond Iowa, to determining that he still has a chance to make a last stand in  South Carolina.

No matter what was exactly responsible for Perry’s change of heart, it is mainly a leap of faith.  Especially since Rick Santorum’s surprise strength in Iowa makes him the more likely candidate for movement conservatives to get behind.

Iowa Faith and Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats, a leading voice among evangelicals, had already issued a personal endorsement  of Rick Santorum before the Iowa Caucus but now, in its wake, he called on Newt Gingrich to reassess his candidacy, in hopes of mobilizing conservatives to rally behind Santorum.  Gingrich came in ahead of Perry but Vander Plaats’ plea to Gingrich came before Perry surprised everyone by his decision to stay in the race.  Had it been known that he intended to remain in the race, Vander Plaats would have certainly requested the same of Perry that he requested of Newt Gingrich.

So it would be hard to imaging that evangelicals leaders would choose to get behind Perry instead of Santorum, but either way, it would seem that Rick Perry is counting on some kind of divine intervention to turn things around for him.  And as for those evangelical leaders, I have a word of advice.  It took God seven days to create the earth but with less time than that remaining before New Hampshire, if their main goal is stop to Mitt Romney, they better get moving fast.

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New Perry Ad in Iowa Tries to Re-Establish Perry’s Image

Bookmark and Share Rick Perry’s latest television ad in Iowa, is a strong 30 second spot that helps to a s solid positive image of himself. It establishes Perry is a candidate who shares the values of Iowa conservatives…..hard work, faith, and family.

While the ad is not a game changer, it is also not meant to be. It is designed to merely create a mental opening in the minds of Iowa voters that will make them more receptive for the larger messages that his campaign will roll out in the months ahead.

Another things worth mentioning is the fact that the ad shows a confident, well spoken Perry. That is just the opposite of the awkward Rick Perry that many have seen out on the campaign trail and in the debates. Some candidates are at their best when unscripted. They are best left to extemporaneous responses that combine both their grasp of the issues and passion for the issues.

That is not Rick Perry.

As evident in the commercial below, Rick Perry is much better when scripted and being given direction. unfortunately for him though, not every moment in a campaign can be scripted and until Governor Perry can show that he is as naturally confident that he is in this ad, his polls number will remain low.

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How Others Have Tried To Make the Case Against Rick Perry

   Bookmark and Share  Rick Perry is currently the longest serving Governor in the nation.  He is also the only person to have ever been elected Governor of Texas three times. Such distinguishing accomplishments are not achieved by luck.  He has to be doing something right.  At the same time you can’t spend over a quarter of a decade in politics and half of that time as the Governor of a state, without making some enemies and some mistakes and no enemies.  However in Perry’s case, it is quite obvious that he still has more friends than enemies in Texas .

When George W. Bush stepped down as Governor to assume the presidency of the United States, Lt. Governor Rick Perry took his place and in 2002 he ran for Governor in his own right. Perry proceeded to handily beat millionaire South Texas businessman Tony Sanchez by a margin of 58% to 40% and that was even after Sanchez spent $75 million of his own money in the race.

By 2006,  Perry was plagued by budget woes, embroiled in battles over school financing reform, and on the receiving end of a controversial and contentious redistricting battle. His approval rating had dropped to 38% during the latter part of the 2005 legislative session and by September of 2006 it had improved but still found Perry in the red with 44% of Texans approving of him compared to 51% disapproving of him.

In that election, Democrat Chris Bell ran an aggressive campaign that relied on uniting Democrats into a coalition that would win a plurality by seeing a divided Republican vote splinter itself among Perry, the G.O.P. nominee and several Independent candidates who were mounting strong campaigns.  One of which included the  State Comptroller of Public Accounts, Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  The strategy did not work.  In the end Perry won but with only less than 40% of the total vote.  A result that made Rick Perry the first person elected to the Lone Star state’s executive office with less than 40% since 1861.

Then in 2010, Perry faced a significant challenge for the Republican gubernatorial nomination from incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Despite many powerful negatives to campaign against Perry with, Hutchison didn’t even leave much of mark on Perry and lost the primary with 30.03 % of the vote to Perry’s 51.1%.  He won the primary handily and went on to defeat his Democrat opponent, former Houston mayor Bill White.  But that race did not always look like it would be very easy for Perry.    At one point the highly respected Charlie Cook of the Cook Report moved the Texas governor’s race from the “leaning Republican” column and placed it in the “toss up” side of the ledger.  But Perry wound up besting White with 54.97% of the vote to White’s 42.28%.

So how did Perry do it?

Well in 2010, Perry successfully shut out Kay Bailey Hutchison with a, “if you think I’m bad, wait till you see her” strategy that painted Hutchison, a three term incumbent in the U.S. Senate, as the ultimate Washington insider.  And in the general election, Perry ran as the ultimate conservative in one of the most ultimately conservative states in the nation.  In his 2010 victory speech, Perry stated that Texans were tired of big government raising taxes and added  “I am genuinely optimistic that we’re one day closer to seeing fiscal conservative approaches applied at the national level as well,”  and then he told the audience who earlier that same evening saw nearly 80 new Republicans get elected to Congress that he wanted to “challenge those new faces in Washington to press for change sooner than later”.  He added “I want them to go in there and really go to work.”  Now, a year later, and Rick Perry is trying to go Washington to make sure that they do just that.

But the question still remains if he is the right person for the job.

While Rick Perry’s natural Texas swagger helps to emphasize his conservative language, there are plenty of potent arguments to challenge the authenticity of his conservatism.  They are questions which although they did not keep him  from getting elected in Texas, could help create quite a negative and damaging impression of Perry among conservatives in places like Iowa, South Carolina, Utah Montana, Wyoming, and Florida.

Here is just a brief look at how Rick Perry’s opponents shaped the case against Perry in the recent past.  We will see how effectively people like Cain, Romney, Bachmann and others may be able to do it in the near future.

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Rick Perry’s Attack Ad Ties Romney to Obama. But Does it Help Rick Perry Any?

Bookmark and Share   With some polls showing Rick Perry in fourth place behind Herman Cain and even the doomed candidacy of Ron Paul, the Governor, is at least for the moment, on the ropes.  His immediate strategy is to attack the man  who many polls currently have in first place, Mitt Romney.

The ad is produced by the same young, creative wiz kid that produced Tim Pawlenty’s ads and it ties Romney to President Obama through the  healthcare plans Romney created for Massachusetts and that Obama created for the nation.  The problem is, the ad may not work as well as Perry hopes.  First of all, the comparison between RomneyCare in Massachusetts and ObamaCare in the nation, is not new.  The secret about the similarities with the two plans is out.  Secondly, like Tim Pawlenty, the attack is probably not going to help Perry very much.  When he was running for President, Pawlenty was the one candidate who attacked Romney the most on the issue.  Who can forget the waves he made when he coined the phrase “ObamneyCare”

While Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts certainly raises enough questions about Romney’s limited government credentials and is perhaps what is most responsible for making him a flawed candidate, it has not been enough to derail his candidacy and as we saw with Tim Pawlenty, it is not enough to help others move ahead of the pack.  Furthermore; Obama’s Massachusetts healthcare plan has nothing to do with Perry’s own precipitous drop in the polls.  On the flip-side, it is not likely to be the cause of an equal precipitous rise in the polls for Perry.

Going negative this early is a sign of desperation.  Perry’s slipping popularity apparently has him trying to find a rung on the ladder that he can grab on to and lift himself up.  But this approach to focus on Mitt Romney.  Besides, at the moment, Perry has to go through Ron Paul and Herman Cain before he can realistically challenge Romney.

In the meantime, Mitt Romney is essentially running a general election type of campaign and building his own candidacy up without having to tear down anyone elses candidacy.  All that the new Perry attack ad does is show that while Romney is gaining ground, Rick Perry is trying hard to compensate for ground he lost.  This is not the way for him to do that.  And by the way, despite all his opposition to “ObamneyCare”, who did Tim Pawlenty endorse for President?  It wasn’t Rick Perry.

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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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