Rick Perry’s Guide to Getting Back in the Race

Rick Perry running out of money is not fatal to his chances for 2016. It happened to John McCain in 2007, prior to him accepting the GOP’s Presidential nomination in 2008. It happened to Newt Gingrich in 2011, prior to beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina in 2012. But both of those men had to tinker with their message. Rick Perry needs to do the same.

I would submit that Perry, having taken on Frankenstein’s monster in the form of Donald Trump, now needs to take on Dr. Frankenstein — that is the Washington Republican elite. They created Donald Trump the candidate. The people who are attracted to Donald Trump are patriots pissed off not at Obama, but at Republicans who’ve refused to fight Obama and broken just about every promise they made to get into power.

Rick Perry needs to take on Boehner and McConnell and the Washington Republican political elite. He needs to take them on directly.

Carly Fiorina has already hinted that she knows she needs to go in this direction. Just yesterday, Fiorina hinted that Boehner and McConnell need to go. Rick Perry should not hint it, he should say it.

Donald Trump is at the center of the debate stage not because of his policy positions, but because he is the present vehicle for a disaffected base to signal their repudiation of the Washington Republican elite. Trump is a symptom and Perry needs to go after the cause.

He needs to make the case that the Washington Republicans have decided government is not the problem, but Democrats in charge of government is the problem. He needs to make the case that Republicans cannot tame the leviathan by feeding it. Rather they must slay it. He needs to make the case that Republicans should stop trying to manage big government, and instead must start curtailing big government.

Most importantly, Rick Perry needs to make the case that Republicans have failed to lead and continually broken their promises. He should call out Boehner and McConnell. Then he can point to his record in Texas to show he kept his promises, he reduced government, and he made government as inconsequential as possible to the lives of Americans.

The Rick Perry who runs on making Washington leave us the hell alone is the Rick Perry who gets back in the race. But he can’t honestly say he will make Washington leave us the hell alone, if he is not willing to hold Republicans in Washington accountable for their broken promises.

If Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina can do this, surely the longest serving Governor in Texas can do it with even more credibility.

Or, he can stay on the sidelines. I realize it is tough call for his political advisors. They look at the DC crowd and think they may have to work with these guys and do not want them as enemies. They should be reminded of Reagan’s “boys from California” in 1980 who waged an unrelenting war against Carter and the Republican establishment. That establishment lined up against Reagan in 1980 and the voters decided they liked Reagan better than Howard Baker.

This is Perry’s only path forward. He just needs the will to do it.

Not Dead Yet

Lots of media reports note that Rick Perry’s campaign has stopped paying staff. His campaign itself is out of money though his Super PAC still has more than $10 million cash on hand. That’s why you cannot count Perry out yet.

In the 2008 Presidential campaign season, Senator John McCain ran out of money in August of 2007 and went on to be the Republican nominee in August of 2008.

In the 2012 campaign cycle, Newt Gingrich not only lost his money but his whole staff quit on him. He went on regroup and win South Carolina.

Perry and McCain did not see the staff departures. Most of Perry’s folks are saying they still stand with him because of passion, not money.

He needs a path forward and that may be hard for him since he did not get a seat at the first debate. But given McCain and Gingrich, I would not count him out.

Rick Perry Approaches the Arena

When the economy began to slide under George W. Bush and then cratered complete with Barack Obama entering the White House, Texas’s economy stayed strong. When the summer of recovery saw more and more Americans leaving the workforce, Texas saw more and more people going to work. In fact, if Texas were not a hotbed of economic activity in the past six years, Barack Obama would not be able to claim even the meager successes he claims because those successes belong not to him, but to Texas. And during all that time Texas was led by one man — Governor Rick Perry.

It was telling in 2012, before Perry began to stumble, that the national press corps poured out considerable ink to tell people that Perry really had nothing to do with Texas’s job growth. At the same time, liberal writers in Texas were telling anyone who would listen just what a Potemkin Village Perry was running. They were scared of his economic record compared to Obama’s.

All of this makes for the singular reason Republican voters should be compelled to take a second look at the man who left the stage in 2012 with an “oops.” Then, Perry suffering through the recovery of back surgery and the pain that went with it. Now he is suffering to tear out of the gate and show he is not the guy we saw on stage in 2012.

I spoke with Rick Perry for my radio program. He has an upcoming announcement on his intentions, but it is clear what he intends. We talked about those intentions, what he learned from 2012 (don’t campaign after back surgery), and how 2016 will be different.

One thing worth pointing out with Perry is the generational shift in the country. Rick Perry and, if he really runs, [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] will be the only candidates who have served in the military. For Perry, it goes beyond his own service. He also served as an engaged leader of Texas’s own national guard, sending it to the border to secure it when President Obama would not.

Of the candidates who have run before, Perry arguably has the best case for running again. He also has the most impressive jobs creation record of anyone who will run. But there is one other thing he has. Having been through the rodeo before, he has spent the last couple of years studying up preparing for his second rodeo. Whether the voters do take a second look at Perry is to be seen. But his record in Texas suggests they should.

You can hear my full interview with Governor Perry in the Soundcloud link above.

A Profoundly Decent Man and Family

Governor and Mrs. Perry are friends of mine. We all get to see Rick Perry as a politician, candidate for President, and longest serving Governor of Texas. I’ve gotten to see Rick and Anita Perry as themselves — covered in dust bunnies (“ghost turds” as the Governor called them) moving out of the Governor’s Mansion. We have traded prayer lists of people to pray for. We’ve talked politics, scripture, family, and life.

Rick and Anita Perry are two of the most profoundly decent, kind people I have encountered in politics. Most all politicians are when the cameras are rolling. Not all of them are after hours. The Perry family are just good people.

If you need any more evidence of that, here is a previously untold story that gives you a sense of their souls.

Before he became immortalized as the “Lone Survivor,” a Navy SEAL who escaped a 2005 Taliban ambush on a mountain slope in Afghanistan, Marcus Luttrell was a broken man in search of a haven.

He found it one day in the spring of 2007 when, struggling to recover his body and mind and with the horrors of war still raw, he showed up unannounced at the Texas governor’s mansion and asked to see Rick Perry.

Often times, particularly in the South, people say that so and so is in their prayers. I keep track of the people I want to pray for. I scribble down names and notes. Rick and Anita Perry are often there, not because they need it in a particularly way, but because I know they are so often praying for others I want to make sure someone is praying for them.

The First of Many 2016 Polls

Let the games begin for 2016. RedState readers, who do you prefer?

Who is your preferred candidate for 2016
Jeb Bush
Ben Carson
Chris Christie
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ted Cruz94%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard94%
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
John Kasich
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Rand Paul92%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard92%
Mike Pence
Rick Perry
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Marco Rubio81%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard81%
Rick Santorum
Scott Walker
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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The 2016 Republican Field: They Don’t All Suck

On January 27, 2007, I wrote what remains one of the most read posts in RedState history. The title summed it up. “They All Suck”. In it, I noted that the field of Republican candidates then taking shape headed into the 2008 election were just terrible. Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Tom Tancredo, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Duncan Hunter68%House Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard68%, and Sam Brownback were a lightweight crew of candidates. as I noted:

They all suck. Let’s just admit it. Every one of the thus far announced Republican candidates for President sucks. From the lecherous adulterer to the egomaniacal nut job to the flip-flopping opportunist with the perfect hair to the guy who hates brown people to the guy we’ve never heard of to the guy who has a better chance of getting hit by a meteor while being consumed by a blue whale being struck by lightening.
They all suck. (Well, okay, Brownback doesn’t suck at all, but I perceive no viability for his candidacy.)

That post galvanized the following year of Presidential politics among conservatives. We saw other entrants into the field, but by and large the candidates were unaccomplished, only looking accomplished in light of the Democrats’ own nominee — a half-term Senator who spent more time voting present than doing anything.

Fast forward now to the field that is shaping up in 2016. We may very well have a race that includes Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Rand Paul92%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard92%, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ted Cruz94%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard94%, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Marco Rubio81%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard81%. Others may join the race too. In fact, with the exception of Jeb Bush whose career in elected politics was ending as RedState was starting, it is worth noting that at some point RedState has raised money for and supported every single person on this list. It is a testament to our success as a site.

As it stands now, this will be one of the deepest, most experienced benches of Republican candidates since 1980 when the GOP fielded three governors, two congressmen, two senators, and the former CIA head/RNC chief. We will have six governors looking, five of whom will have served or be in their second term. There will be three senators who’ve been able to galvanize various parts of the right. And there still may be others. More so, of the governors, all will have been economically successful within their states during rocky national economics. They’ll stand in sharp contrast to any field of Democrats.

Frankly, this goes to why national parties see-saw. With Barack Obama, the Democrats’ bench became very shallow through a series of major defeats in 2010 and 2014. They were not able to make up ground in 2012. Meanwhile, the Republican bench has been growing and deepening for some time.

Conservatives may view each of the candidates differently. Some will be more liked by the base than others. But every one of them would be well qualified to be President and to stand up to any Democrat, be it Hillary Clinton or someone else.

I am excited about the 2016 field in a way I have not been excited about either the 2008 or 2012 fields. The media will not be able, this year, to talk about a weak Republican field, though they may try. This is also a reason the major Republican donors might want to rethinking trying to consolidate the field quickly. The candidate who will do best in the general will be the candidate who can win the small dollar donors, not the large dollar donors.

With so many gubernatorial picks, the mega-donors of the GOP might want to see which of them can break through and connect to the small dollar donors on their own terms. The odds are always, in a Republican primary, with Governors. Letting them go at it alone, relying on their own bases of funding and messaging, will have a way of shaking up the race and thinning the herd in a way productive to both the interests of the conservative base and the less conservative mega-donors.

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