Alex Massie Alex Massie

Rick Perry: GOP Favourite?

The odds on Texas governor Rick Perry entering the 2012 GOP Presidential Stakes appear to be shortening. The address he gave in New York yesterday sounds like the first run through a possible stump speech. As Rich Lowry (who was there) points out Perry seems to have at least three of the things you need if you’re serious about running for the White House: presence, a story and a theme. Perry might have all three.

The story is simple: Texas is working. Despite some difficulties (don’t expect Perry to elaborate on these) the Lone Star State has enjoyed boom times in recent years, in stark contrast to much of the rest of the United States. That’s Perry’s record and it’s a better one to stand on than anything enjoyed by any of his rivals for the Republican nomination.

The theme is simple too: what’s worked for Texas can work for the rest of America too. Also: Washington needs to set the states free and let them be the little “laboratories of democracy” that they’re supposed, in romantic moments, to be. As themse go this has the great advantage of being a) simple and b) quite appealing.

Federalism is an end in itself but it’s also, in this telling, the means towards getting the American economy moving again. Like Mitt Romney, Perry’s focus will be jobs, jobs, jobs. Romney, of course, fired more people than he ever hired whereas Perry can boast of overseeing, or not getting in the way of, good times in Texas.

Romney is clearly the candidate most threatened by Perry. Coming from Texas gives Perry a measure of gravitas (unearned perhaps but there nonetheless) none of Romney’s other rivals can match.

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