August 5, 2011. Austin. The Republican Party appears to be fractured after the recent debt ceiling fiasco. Political talk shows are speaking of divisions between the establishment GOP who agreed to compromise with the Democrats and the Tea Party’s fiscal and social wing of the Party that was willing to default in order to keep their pledge not to raise taxes on the super rich. Now, it looks like that division has made its way into the GOP Presidential Race.
It’s no secret that Republican voters and party insiders alike aren’t thrilled with the current field of Presidential candidates. On one hand, it’s going to take a seasoned and well financed campaigner to take on the Obama Machine. On the other hand, with the nation’s economy in shambles and unemployment still above 9 percent, the President is beatable. Republicans are having a difficult time deciding on who has the best chance.
Despite all the advantages in fundraising, the experience of running four years ago, and the support of the GOP’s most powerful insiders, Mitt Romney just can’t catch on with mainstream Republican voters. Critics cite a number of factors - his flip-flop on universal healthcare, his Mormon religion, his lack of excitement or the impression that he’s so wealthy, he’s completely out of touch with the rest of America.
Michele Bachmann has her share of support as well. However, her backers are from the smaller Tea Party wing of the party. As Chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, she will win or lose based on the group as a whole. Lately, the Tea Party has used its 58 House members to do some serious damage. Aside from the enemies she’s made within her own party, Bachmann continues to stumble over her financial questions, religious questions and misstatements that put her on both sides of numerous issues.
Tim Pawlenty is raising enough money to compete, but he’s focused too much on going negative against Mitt Romney and his campaign doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. If he can arrange to be the last man standing, he may be able to satisfy both wings of the party. Ron Paul on the other hand, is loved by the veterans, libertarians and Tea Partiers, but despised by the big bankers who fund a large portion of the GOP. They would sooner see President Obama reelected than see a reformer like Congressman Paul in the White House.
The rest of the field has been chalked up as novelty candidates and powerful names that couldn’t connect with the Republican rank and file. With a large portion of the GOP begging for more options, many party insiders have already begun shifting their support and paving the way for the answer to their prayers. That answer is Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Just the sound of the words, ‘Texas Governor’ gives many in the GOP goose bumps. Considering half of all the US Presidents since 1988 have been former Republican Texas Governors, they have good reason to get excited. Current Texas Governor Rick Perry has been toying with the idea of a Presidential run for months if not years. Perry even won a recent party sanctioned, county-wide Iowa straw poll last month. While he hasn’t officially entered the race yet, his supporters have made it clear that they’ve already made up his mind for him.
With Perry not being well known outside of Texas or the GOP, Republicans from around the country like what they’ve heard so far. And speaking of hearing, anyone who’s ever seen and heard Gov. Perry give a public speech will tell you that the mannerisms, characteristics, Texas accent, facial expressions and arrogance are eerily and remarkably similar to the younger George Bush. And to many in the GOP, that’s a definite asset.
Governor Perry also has a pretty good record to stand on. His supporters’ favorite statistic is that Texas creates more jobs than all the other states combined. While that may be a trick of the numbers, it is completely true that Texas does consistently lead the country in the creation of jobs. Cities like Dallas have been the most popular cities in the nation for businesses looking to expand. Perry’s website touts the recent statistics, “In June, 32,000 net new jobs were created in Texas according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics - more than any other state. The Bureau also notes that from June 2010 to June 2011, Texas led all other states by leaps and bounds, adding 220,000 net new jobs.”
In an election season where jobs are the voters’ number one issue, that’s impressive. The Texas Governor also promotes his record of reducing spending and cutting business taxes. Perry proudly stands by his support of states rights saying, “Folks in Washington should take a closer look at the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which clearly states the preeminence of states’ rights in the structure of our country.”
Perry criticizes the Bush and Obama administrations for not doing enough on the Mexican border to fight illegal entry of not just migrant Mexicans, but of the drug lords and the armed gangs. He is also fiercely pro-life proclaiming himself, “the most pro-life governor Texas has ever had.” The Texas Governor insists he’s committed to protecting Texan’s rights as land owners as well.
All of the above positions place Governor Perry in the heart of the Republican Party. While he leans more toward the Tea Party wing, Mitt Romney’s powerful and elite backers must already be wondering if Perry doesn’t stand a better chance of defeating the President. Consider the results of an Ohio Republican Party poll two weeks ago. As reported by Politico: Romney 25 percent, Pawlenty 16, Bachmann 15, Perry 14. The interesting part is that Gov. Rick Perry wasn’t even on the ballot. The GOP rank and file wrote his name in.
Not everyone is hoping Rick Perry will enter the race for President however. With the Texas Governor’s grassroots support growing by the day, so are the ranks of his critics. ThinkProgress.org even put out, ‘Top 10 Things Gov. Perry Doesn’t Want You to Know about Him’.
Here is a brief summary of what they said:
Regardless of whether the voters like him or hate him, Texas Governor Rick Perry could swing the tide of the Republican Presidential primary the instant he entered the race. As we get closer to the first primaries and caucuses, it’s looking more and more like Rick Perry is a sure thing to run.