The recent comments by Mitt Romney accepting manmade global warming as scientific fact must cause conservatives to cross him off their list of presidential candidates. The mass exodus of staff from Newt's campaign makes him dead in the water. What Republicans need is a candidate who is unabashedly conservative across the board, a savvy campaigner who does not make stupid mistakes, someone with no skeletons anywhere, a proven government executive who would hit the ground running as president, and a candidate who could very quickly and almost bloodlessly win the Republican nomination.
Governor Perry is perfect for this mission. Consider the five criteria I listed. Is Perry conservative? He is a social and a fiscal conservative with a very long track record of walking the walk as well as talking the talk. In the fiscal area, think of Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie on steroids. Unlike members of Congress, who have stray votes which could offend conservatives, Rick Perry has no blemishes at all.
Moreover, Perry is aggressively conservative. On June 7, Perry called for a special legislative session to abolish sanctuary cities. On June 9, Perry asked fellow governors to join with him for a national day of prayer. His book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington takes on squarely the leftist mania for implementing national policies in areas properly the province of state governments.
Rick Perry has never lost an election. He even knocked off leftist icon Jim Hightower in running for Agriculture Commissioner. Moreover, Perry has the psychological advantage that Reagan had: he grew up a Democrat, won election as a Democrat, and Perry was even the State Chairman for Al Gore in 1988. He can get inside the head of Reagan Democrats better than any Republican around. With video clips everywhere in cyberspace, the persuasiveness of a candidate is no longer guesswork. Look at Perry and then compare him to other Republican candidates. He never stumbles. He never says things which come back to haunt him. He knows how to win elections.
Perry also has no skeletons. His whole life, from being an Eagle Scout to serving his country honorably in the military to marrying (and staying married) to his childhood sweetheart to working his father's family farm bespeak a life constructed for Hollywood with Perry in the role of the hero and dragon slayer. His wife is a nurse who has been active in promoting wholesome causes in that area. The only attack that can be made on Perry is that he is too conservative and too religious -- great, let the left hang their hat on those "flaws."
Governor Perry is the longest serving governor in America from the second largest state in America , and before he was Governor Perry he was Lieutenant Governor Perry (an important job in Texas.) He not only has experience, but Perry has been a successful chief executive. The left will pick on his record -- indeed, some have already begun -- but those attacks can easily be turned against them. Texas does not spend nearly as much on education as, say, California. So what? Texans learn better than Californians. Americans grasp the horror of our national debt. They want someone who will pinch pennies.
Could Governor Perry wrap up the Republican nomination quickly? Yes. The muscle and the mind of the Republican Party today are in bold state governance. Put these images in your mind: Bobby Jindal aggressively protecting his state and attacking Obama for destroying good jobs; Scott Walker defying the public employee unions who acted like thugs; Jan Brewer defending Arizona's right to enforce immigration laws when Obama won't; Mitch Daniels showing, dramatically, that the Great Lake States are not dead, just sickened by Democrats; Chris Christie bolding telling union thugs that saving New Jersey is his first and only priority; Rob McDonnell suing Washington to block ObamaCare.
Where public employee unions are being pushed back are in Republican-run states. Where the rights of the unborn are being defending in brilliant new ways (like banning fetal pain), Republicans in states are doing it. The governors leading these charges also know that the obstacle to true reform is Obama and his radical leftists using federal power. So Nikki Haley finds that her effort to create jobs in South Carolina by wooing Boeing is being challenged by Obama's NLRB. Jan Brewer's state is sued by the Justice Department for upholding those laws which Eric Holder is bound to uphold as well. Bobby Jindal watches productive jobs vanish because of Obama's dubious ban on offshore drilling.
These Republican governors grasp that Washington led by a power-hungry clique of leftists is the problem, and these governors are extremely powerful within the Republican Party. Rick Perry is the Chair of the Republican Governors Association, and he has been chair before. If these governors got behind Governor Perry, the race for the nomination would be over -- with no infighting, no expensive primary campaigns, and no hard feelings for most Republicans.
What about the general election? The generic Republican, today, beats Obama. Republicans have consistently won the generic congressional ballot as well. A united Republican Party beats Obama in 2012. How would the left attack Perry? "Bush Clone" or "Religious Bigot." Perry would be happy to point out things he did as governor that Bush did not and elitist regional snobbery would infuriate Americans in Flyover Country. Governor Perry is very religious -- he believes in prayer as a source of national salvation and trusts in God for our help. His serious Christian faith ought to offend no conservatives but myths die hard. There is one simple way in which Perry could defang this snake: pick Majority Leader Eric Cantor, an Orthodox Jew just as devout as Perry and a rising star in the conservative movement, as his running mate.