Here are the reasons why Perry is well placed to be a viable contender in 2012:
1. Unlike Huckabee, Romney, and Palin, he is still in office.
2. He is the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
3. He is governor of the biggest red state that sends the most delegates to the Republican convention.
4. He has the best conservative record of any contender: significant tort reform, a large property tax cut, refusal to raise taxes in the face of a $10 billion budget deficit (2003), declining to expand government by accepting strings-attached unemployment insurance stimulus funds, implementing efforts to enhance border security. During his tenure as governor, Texas has been active in passing social legislation, including a strong abortion bill in 2003 and a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. You can argue that the effect of the property tax cut was wiped out by rising appraisals, or that his border security efforts were all for show, but it adds up to a record that will be popular with Republican voters.
5. He has assiduously courted key figures in the Republican establishment, such as Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh (whom he made an honorary Texan), as well as other talk radio hosts.
6. The Murdoch news empire loves him. He is the beneficiary of puff pieces in the Wall Street Journal and softball questions on Fox News.
7. He has an extensive fundraising apparatus in Texas that is capable of raising enough money to make the race, and he is now in charge of finance for the Republican Governor’s Association, giving him access to the GOP’s big national donors.
8. He has not one but two strong messages. One is the familiar refrain that Washington is corrupt to the core and out of touch with Main Street. The second is the Texas economic miracle: that by following conservative fiscal policies, Texas has been able to survive the recession in better shape than most, if not all, other states. Low taxes, low spending, constitutionally mandated balanced budgets, saving for a rainy day, and business-friendly regulatory policies have made Texas the top state in job creation year after year. Perry can say to residents of the other states: Do what Texas did and you can enjoy economic growth too. It is a strong message in a recession.
9. He was quick to understand the significance of the tea party movement and attended many of the early gatherings. The tea party people are a natural Perry constituency: angry, unyielding folk who are eager to go where few in American politics are willing to venture: states rights and secession.
10. With rare exceptions (such as the HPV vaccine controversy), he almost never deviates from the conservative line. He is against the border fence, but he makes up for it with his emphasis on border security, even though the cameras and the deployment of Texas Rangers were mainly for show.
I don't know. I think it would be difficult for Rick to run for president being from Texas. I think Bush guarantees that America will not have a Texas president for at least a few more election cycles, but I could be wrong. I think Rick has positioned himself in some ways, but he has also drawn a big target on himself as well on certain issues. If anything all this shows is that Rick and his peeps have done a good job elevating Rick's national profile especially with bloggers and the national conservative media including talk radio and Fox News.
In the end I just can't see Rick running for president. I think his wife wouldn't stand for it. I think he just would have a hard time overcoming some of the reporting on his secession comments, even though he never actually used the s word himself... I think the Willingham stuff was probably a preemptive strike from CNN and MSNBC on any possible candidacy... I take him at his word also that he just likes being governor and has no intention of ever being elected to anything that would cause him to move to Washington...