Rick Perry once tried to get out of a speeding ticket.
Rick Perry once owned stock in a chain of video stores competing against Blockbuster, some of which also rented adult movies.
Rick Perry once was a Democrat.
The attacks have come fast and furious against him. But most of the attacks take on a peculiar and very telling strain.
A reporter on television or in print will utter a sentence like this, “Privately many Republican consultants suggest Rick Perry may be too Texas or shoot from the hip too much and might turn off necessary independent voters and women.”
It sounds so serious. As Alex Castellanos said on CNN the other night on John King USA, some fear Rick Perry might have “Mad Cowboy Disease.”
Let me sum this all up for you into what Rick Perry’s biggest problem is.
Whether you are talking about Alex (Team Carole Strayhorn 2006) or Karl Rove (Team Kay Bailey Hutchison 2010) or a host of other national Republican consultants, Rick Perry and his Texas team have beaten a significant portion of them.
But they did not just beat them. In many cases, Team Perry then shut the consultants who opposed him out of future business with him.
So there are scores and scores of Republican consultants who have scores to settle with Rick Perry and his team. And for guys like Karl Rove, if Perry were to win the White House, Karl and a few others would see themselves shut out of White House business for at least four years.
Rick Perry may be the only guy in America to have beaten both Karl Rove and also Obama’s own consultant, David Axelrod.
So there’s a lot of score settling in a lot of the attacks. Next time you hear some Republican consultant say Rick Perry can’t win because he is too much of a cowboy, understand that it is probably a national Republican consultant fearful they will be shut out of work if Perry wins and, more importantly, understand that the same dynamics were in place in 1980 with Reagan’s “boys from California” team of consultants and the national consultants back them said the same about Reagan — he’s too much of a cowboy conservative who will alienate key voting blocks.
That’s not to say Perry is Reagan. It is to say the GOP national consultants have been pulling the same stuff since 1980.