What does Rick Perry’s probable candidacy tell us about the current state of the GOP, and will the entire party UNITE behind a REAL conservative nominee? Has THAT much changed in less than a year?
Up front, I don’t know that much about Rick Perry. Most of what I’ve read, I tend to like, but figure I’ll wait until he officially announces before starting to do my homework. However, there is ONE aspect to his candidacy that confuses me, and I wonder what, if anything, it portends for our nominee, whoever it is, in 2012.
Normally, when I write a diary, I have a perspective, a position, an opinion that I’m advancing. Here, this time, it’s none of those. I also don’t know that much about internal Texas politics either, so I’m hoping for some input here.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a reasonbly popular Senator ( though viewed as somewhat of a RINO by most on the right), forgo a chance at re-election in 2012 to run against Perry for governor last year. Had she ran for the Senate, she’d have considerable seniority, and would have been in the majority. She offered herself as a “moderate” alternative to Perry. For me, it makes no sense to believe that she she felt that she had a better chance challenging Perry in a primary rather than defending herself against a primary opponent two years later.
So, in August, 2009 she announced that she was challenging Perry for Texas governor. Early polls showed her wthe a fairly substantial lead. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT EARLY ON, AT THAT TIME, NO ONE REALLY FORESAW THE UPCOMING GOP SURGE THAT WOULD RESULT IN THE MASSIVE 2010 ACROSS THE BOARD VICTORY. So possibly she just had really, really bad timing.
But she was soon endorsed by Bush, Cheney, Baker, and a whole slew of GOP establishment types. They were more than willing to toss aside a two term, apparently conservative governor. Why?
Hutchinson’s support quickly evaporated. Possibly due to her reneging on her intital promise to resign her Senate seat to run for governor. She lost to Perry, 53% to 31%.
BUT FAR MORE IMPORTANT, DEBORAH MEDINA, A VIRTUAL UNKNOWN, RUNNING WITH THE TEA PARTY CACHET, GOT 19% OF THE VOTE.
And now, all of a sudden, out of the blue, in the last few months, Perry springs into the national consciousness. In most polls, he’s near the top, and everyone is talking about him favorably. Most conservatives, most Tea party types, have a positive view.
YET LESS THAN A YEAR AGO, AS A SITTING TWO TERM GOVERNOR, HE BARELY MANAGED A PLURALITY IN THE GOP PRIMARY. MUCH, MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, HE WAS OPPOSED BY CANDIDATES POSITIONED TO BOTH HIS LEFT AND HIS RIGHT. AND HE HAD CONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION WITHIN THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT.
And now, a few months later, hey..everything’s great..it’s all good. I just don’t get it. Perry’s the one..perhaps? I don’t know what it means, what it says about the GOP nationally. I’m, well..confused. Maybe it’s just Texas politics…maybe someone can explain it to me.
Again, just to be clear…I’m not opposed to Perry. This is NOT about him. Indeed, I like most of what I’ve read. In the baker’s dozen of GOP candidates to date, he’s one of several I’d happily support.
But I just don’t understand this near spontaneous evoltion of him as a viable candidate.