Friday, August 12, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Path to the Nomination and the White House and Beyond, Part 2

Going From the Nomination to the White House,  Not That Hard a Climb

[Editor’s Note:  With Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry expected to enter the Presidential race, The Dismal Political Economist takes a look at his chances, and how he would govern if elected.  Part 1 explained how he wins the nomination; Part 2 how he can win the Presidency and Part 3 how government policy would be expected to transpire under a Perry Presidency.]

If Texas Governor Rick Perry wins the Republican Presidential nomination, his road to the White House will be relatively clear, so clear that once he gained the name recognition he needs and will get, and once his general campaign took off, he would have to then be regarded as the favorite in a race with Mr. Obama. 

Mr. Perry
 Here’s why

  1. Money:  Mr. Obama is expected to have in excess of $1 billion for the race.  Mr. Perry will not only have more than that in direct funding, he will also have as much as $500 million in outside, so-called “independent” groups supporting him.  These groups will run anti-Obama ads 24-7, in fact they have already started.

  1.  The Race Will be a Referendum on Mr. Obama:  In 2008 the race was about George W. Bush and voters voted to reject Mr. Bush, played by John McCain more than they voted to elect Mr. Obama.  In 2012 the situation will be reversed.  Mr. Obama will have to defend his record, while Mr. Perry will have no national record to defend.    If Mr. Obama is the main issue in the campaign, he likely loses.

Mr. Obama

  1. Lack of a Way to Attack Mr. Perry:  As Mr. Romney will have learned in the primary season, there is no good way to go after Mr. Perry.  Mr. Obama’s advisers will attack his record in Texas, with the low level of public services, education etc as their main target. Mr. Perry will simply point to the fact that he was re-elected, twice.  There is no way to discredit Mr. Perry's Texas record,  because of this re-election record his governing in Texas is almost bullet proof.

  1. Enthusiasm:  Conservatives will be fanatical in their backing of Mr. Perry.  Liberals will have a “hold  your nose and vote for him” attitudes towards Mr. Obama.

  1. Jobs and Credit Ratings:  The number one issue in 2012 will be employment.  Mr. Perry will point to the job creation record in Texas.  Mr. Obama will point to ????  Mr. Obama will be blamed for allowing the U. S. credit rating to be reduced from its AAA status.  Mr. Obama will point to ???

  1. Hiding The Radical Ideas:  Mr. Perry is a very rigid ideologue and is political philosophy is well to the right of the mainstream American public.  However, he will not stress that philosophy, and any attempts by the news media to describe it will be attacked as “liberal bias”.  For decades the media has suffered these attacks, to the point to where today it is simply no longer an educational force in elections.  Mr. Perry will get a free ride from the news reporters and an enthusiastic one from Fox News.
  1. Running Mate:  The Dismal Political Economist has long predicted that Florida Senator Marco Rubio will be the VP nominee for the Republicans.  He will bring youth, charisma, a Hispanic background and Florida to the GOP.  Mr. Biden will look old and tired beside  him.

So, at the end of the campaign Mr. Perry looks like the winner. What can derail his chances.

  1. His radical agenda:  If the news media does accurately report on Mr. Perry, he will be on the defensive and the public, if it knows his philosophy will move away towards the middle, which Mr. Obama will occupy.  Not too likely, given the current state of the media but certainly possible.

  1. Scandal.  There is no hint of impropriety in Mr. Perry’s terms in Texas, but he has been there a long time, and something unsavory might come out.  Not very likely, but possible.

  1. George W. Bush:  Americans were not happy with the last Texas Governor they elevated to the Presidency.  If Mr. Perry brings back memories of Mr. Bush the public will turn against him.  Mr. Obama will pursue this strategy, but  Mr. Bush and Mr. Perry are not close, and in fact there has been some animosity between them.

The critical states will be the old midwestern manufacturing belt of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Right now, don't look so good for Mr. Obama and Democrats, but Mr. Perry's southern roots will not help him there.  If Mr. Perry does not choose Mr. Rubio it will be to select a northern Conservative Republican, and there are many choices.  Whoever is the most popular northern Governor at the time could be the V.P candidate if Mr. Rubio does not make the ticket.

The key for success for Mr. Obama will be over-reach on the part of the Republicans.  Mr. Obama cannot be re-elected on his own merits, he has squandered too much political capital for that.  His strategy will have to be "the other guy is worse", but if the "other guy" was so bad, how did he get elected Governor of Texas three times.  Mr. Obama has never been re-elected to national office.

Re-elect the President Button
Re-elect the President campaign pinback
button from the 1973 campaign for
Nixon's second term as
President of the United States

The re-election thing is one of the key elements to Presidential election success in America, but it is largely unknown and unreported.  Re-election gives a candidate credibility and some protection against attacks. If the constituents, who know the candidate best, vote to continue that candidate in office he or she has a "seal of  voter approval."

George W. Bush had been re-elected Governor of Texas before he ran for President; Bill Clinton had been elected several times as Governor of Arkansas and George H. W. Bush was twice elected Vice President.  His President, Ronald Reagan had been re-elected Governor of California and that fact gave him credibility and protection against attacks that he was "just a movie star".  Nixon, Kennedy and Johnson had all been re-elected at some time in their political lives.

Re-elect The Presient Jimmy Carter ButtonInterestingly, Jimmy Carter had served only one term as Governor of Georia when he ran for President, and he failed to win re-election as President. He was not imbued with the credibility re-election brings.  Mr. Obama has a similar problem, he cannot turn to his poltical history and show a pattern of faith by voters.  He did not even finish one term as Senator.

Mr. Obama has about 12 months to turn things around.  That is a reasonable amount of time, but he needs to start soon.  If he does not, then sorry Mr. Obama, a 2nd term may be something that just wasn’t meant to be.

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