The 61 year-old Rick Perry is at the perfect age to launch a bid for the White House. He sees himself as the new Ronald Reagan heir serving the country as Commander-in-Chief and retiring at the feisty age of 70. Who could ask for better timing? There are of course a few obstacles he must overcome before fulfilling his dream: Winning the Republican primary and defeating Barack Obama. Can he do it? Does he have what it takes to emulate his predecessor in the governorship of Texas? Perry is after all the longest serving governor in Longhorn territory, a fact that speaks well of his ability to raise funds and control the political world in his native state.
When he defeated Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2010, who by the way was supported by the George Bush family, he sent a clear message to the Republican Party that he was a political force to be reckoned with. He probably strengthened the idea at that time that he had a shot at the Presidency.
In 1988, as a democrat who chaired Al Gore’s presidential bid in Texas, Rick Perry, at that time, wasn’t going to get a Christmas card from the Bush family. However, he later became Lieutenant Governor of Texas as a Republican in 1998, serving under George Bush II and taking over the position after the 2000 infamous elections. Talk about good timing!
Perry has the right credentials as a candidate for the highest position in the land of Lincoln. Honorable military service, Christian Evangelical in good standing, long experience in an executive position, no known scandals, sexual or otherwise, presidential looks (unlike George W.), an attractive figure for female voters, and a relatively good public speaker. He doesn’t have the charisma of a Ronald Reagan, or the intellect of a Barack Obama, but he compensates these factors with unparalleled ambition and energy.
Perry initiated his campaign by dropping political bombs to shock the electorate into paying attention to his candidacy. Unlike the suave and polished Mitt Romney, who was content with remaining above the fray as befits a veteran of presidential runs, the Texas governor quickly accused Obama’s monetary policy of being “almost treasonous” (excessive printing of money) and soon thereafter presented his new proposal to amend the constitution, or rather to eliminate some amendments. He clearly wants to remain on the front page with controversial statements, though these tactics may well backfire on him. His remarks about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme will endear him to older voters, a fact that he quickly sought to clarify without much success.
Controversy and close vetting are an essential part of any political campaign; as they say in my native country: “If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”