Is Texas Governor Rick Perry gearing up for a run for President? Some see the signs and the issue has come up. And now National Review lends more credence to the speculation:
Texas governor Rick Perry’s high-profile battle with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) couldn’t have come at a better time. The fight may not be over in time for the 2012 presidential elections, and he very well may lose, but no matter what happens, he can count it as a political victory. Given that Perry is angling for a shot at the White House in 2012 — and given the fiscal problems his state faces — that’s just what he’s hoping for.
This nasty row stems from the EPA’s recent effort under the Clean Air Act to deny Texas its authority to issue air permits for power generation and industrial plants. It’s perfect for Perry, who has emerged as a favorite of Tea Party and anti-tax activists. Indeed, it fits Perry’s political agenda like a pearl-gray Stetson. For proof of that, consider Perry’s new book. On November 15, just a few days after becoming the first Texas governor to win a third full term, Perry published Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington. In the book, Perry declares: “It is not America that is broken; it is Washington that is broken.”
Although Perry and his spokesmen continue to claim he’s not interested in running for the White House, Perry is following his predecessor’s playbook. Recall that in November 1999, then–Texas governor George W. Bush published his book, A Charge To Keep, to give readers “a sense of my values, my philosophy.”
Of course, Perry doesn’t have the kind of national name recognition that Bush had. But he’s clearly trying to raise his profile. Political operatives in Austin tell me that Perry’s campaign team has been quietly polling voters outside of the Lone Star State to gauge his chances on the national stage. With the November 2012 election 22 months away, Perry is hoping to gain some early traction.
To be clear, a Perry White House bid would be a long shot.
Perry’s apparent study of the political scene again raises the issue of (who else?) former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. It once again brings to the forefront how Palin’s appeal rests solely with her present constituency and how she has become the GOP’s main bona fide political celebrity.
But the contrast between Perry and Palin could not be more evident.
Perry had suggested his state could secede from the union. Palin seceded herself from the Alaska Governor’s office.
Perry has not fled from interviews with the mainstream media (even though he probably is not thrilled with them). Palin’s definition of a hard-hitting journalist is Sean Hannity (apparently Bill O’Reilly is if not part of the “lamestream media” not with
her the political program).
Perry would be going after some of the same voters Palin will be seeking to harvest, if she runs. It’s unlikely he’d be deferential to her if he’s trying to get votes she would get. Would Palin call him “limp” as has called some Republican and journalistic critics? (Maybe she’ll find some other alternatives for that word such as THESE.)
And then there’s the big factor: the media loves a good political battle and Perry versus Palin scrambling to get the Tea Party vote would be a dream come true for reporters, editors (and bloggers).
Of course, the teeny-weenie factoid is that it’d be an uphill battle for Perry or Palin to win in a national election.
But that story would come later after the fun for all.
The only thing that would be more fascinating to watch would be Vice President Joe Biden trying to observe a moment of silence.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.