Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), known for several controversial stands on issues ranging from abortion to secession, fired off a giant political signal flare Monday when he announced he would not seek another term in office. It also sent a message to conservatives that he may, indeed, be ready to put his full attention into run for the White House in 2016.
During the 2012 Republican Primary, Perry tossed his hat into the ring in a campaign many considered to be a half-hearted attempt to curry favor with establishment conservatives such as Dick Cheney, the Koch Brothers and Bush family. Following his trouncing at the hands of Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and others, Perry dropped out of the race, eventually tossing his support behind Romney. Many Perry supporters considered it a sellout and washed their hands of him. Cal Jillson, political science professor at Southern Methodist University, told the USA Today that the announcement may, indeed, be a signal that Perry is getting his political house in order.
“If he plans to run for president again, he needs to be free of the governor’s office so he can give his full attention to putting together a top-flight campaign team and prepare himself substantively, especially on foreign policy and national security issues.”
Any decision by Perry to run will be carefully weighed against the prevailing national sentiment, as political analysts have suggested that Texas-style conservatism doesn’t always translate well onto the national stage. The Daily Beast’s Meghan McCain, in a 2011 article, stated as much in her analysis of Rick Perry’s chances of defeating President Barack Obama.
“Yes, a west Texas campaign will get you attention and the support of right-wing Tea Partiers but will hurt nearly every other voter demographic. Last spring, Perry held a Texas prayer and fasting rally to pray for rain and has been quoted saying that “anyone that doesn’t accept Jesus as their savior is going to hell.” How well do we think this is going to play in the battleground state of Florida with its large Jewish population (or with anyone who isn’t a Christian)?”
Suzanne Bellsnyder, a Republican strategist, told NPR Monday that Perry may, indeed, be the sort of dynamic leader that GOP diehards are clamoring for following the disastrous campaign of John McCain in 2008 and the lackluster, milquetoast appearance presented by Mitt Romney in 2012.
“After two lackluster presidential races, the GOP is looking for an inspiring leader, someone who can make us feel the fire in our bellies again.”
There are those who believe that Perry’s past ideological statements, along with his refusal to quell the 2012 secession movement in Texas, could cripple the GOP’s chances should he win the nomination. Many political analysts have stated the GOP’s fundamental failing is an inability to come up with reasons why they are a viable alternative to the Democrats, and some believe Perry is part of that brand problem.