Let me say first of all that I like Rick Perry quite a lot. I’ve had the privilege of meeting him personally on several occasions and I am impressed with his accomplishments as Governor of Texas. However, it’s time to confront the elephant in the room: Rick Perry has made some legitimately terrible hires during the course of his early 2016 campaign that leave me wondering what, exactly, he is trying to accomplish.
First, Perry brought McCain flunkie Steve Schmidt on board to help with his legal defense team. Schmidt, allegedly, was the brain child behind the notorious decision to “suspend” McCain’s campaign when the financial crisis hit in 2008, including the disastrous decision to bluff that McCain would not appear in one of the Presidential debates.
Then, he hired Henry Barbour, quite possibly the most despised campaign consultant in the entire conservative movement (apart from possibly John Weaver). Barbour, you may remember, was responsible for smearing conservatives in Mississippi as racist and using overtly race baiting campaign flyers in an attempt to drive Democrat votes to the polls for [mc_name name=’Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C000567′ ] in the Mississippi primary. His actions were so egregious that some GOP members tried to get him censured.
Most recently, Perry hired Austin Barbour, another part of the despicable cadre of establishment Mississippi hacks that torpedoed the McDaniel campaign, to run his Super PAC.
From a political standpoint, it is difficult to see what Rick Perry is hoping to accomplish by hiring people who are such well-known enemies of the conservative grassroots. The only way in which this makes sense is if he believes that he has a chance of becoming the “establishment” candidate if Jeb bush falters. But in so doing, he is alienating what few supporters he has left in a campaign that is, as of now, barely registering in the polls.
But more importantly, these hires reflect poorly on the job he would do if he were to actually be elected President. Personnel is policy, especially within the executive branch. The most important thing a President does is make certain good hires in key positions – especially given the size and scope of the current Federal behemoth. Bad campaign hires are more than just troubling indicators of political leanings, they’re also troubling indicators of possible job performance when it comes to the job of being President.
Coming in to 2016, Rick Perry has a lot to prove to people who were bitterly disappointed in his performance in 2012. Thus far, some of the most important decisions he has made have done the exact opposite.