Perry: It's a go?
Matt Lewis is reporting that his sources in Texas are telling him that there is a "90% chance" that Governor Rick Perry will run for the GOP nomination for president:
Dave Carney and Rob Johnson -- the former top Perry aides who on Thursday left Newt Gingrich's floundering campaign -- are said to be heading to Texas soon to join in on preparations for the run. I am told this is now "ninety percent likely to occur." Additionally, Perry allies have begun holding meetings in the state and have been instructed to
quietly reach out to contacts in early primary states.
The stars may have finally aligned for Perry, who, until recently, said he had no intentions of seeking the nomination. With no clear front runner emerging, and with Gingrich's campaign dissolving, Perry could enter the field as a top-tier candidate, surrounded by the same team that helped him defeat Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison last year in the Texas gubernatorial primary. And because Texas leads the nation in job creation, the recent national economic numbers provide an instant rationale for his candidacy.
If Perry does indeed jump in the race, GOP primary voters will likely be reminded of how conservatives were outraged when he signed an executive order in 2007, making Texas the first state in the nation to mandate Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccinations for sixth-grade girls. They will be reminded that he endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008. And, of course, his controversial plans to create a Trans-Texas Corridor (which were finally dropped after a large public outcry) would come up. Perry would also have to find a way to extricate himself from his important duties as head of the Republican Governor's Association (RGA).
Matt may be overstating some of that baggage. Perry has impeccable conservative credentials - fiscal and social - and it is likely none of it will impact his candidacy substantially. The truck corridor was criticized mostly by the North American Union conspiracy nuts, while the vaccinations might save thousands of those 6th graders from getting cervical cancer later in life were criticized because some believed it validated teenage sex while others thought it took control away from parents. Neither criticism was true, as the Texas health department allowed for waivers for parents who didn't want to participate in the vaccination program.
There is little doubt Perry would be a formidable candidate. He is one tough campaigner as he proved in his primary race against Kay Bailey Hutchison. He's an inspiring speaker, a commanding presence on the stump, and good looking to boot. But is America ready for another Texas governor for president?
By election day 2012, given what the economy is likely to look like, I doubt whether it will matter much at all.