He is treading low in the polls in his own state, his beloved oil industry is cutting jobs, 1,000,000 Texans remain in the health care coverage gap, DPS is highly critical of his outgoing border strategy, and the Republican judge presiding over his case refuses to throwout his indictment, which has hampered fundraising, and already dug a $1 million hole in his campaign war chest.
The writing on the wall becomes bolder with each passing headline — Rick Perry’s forthcoming White House bid is starting off much shakier than his last. He hasn’t been completely coy about his intentions, but he has stated that what is most important is that he will be more prepared this time if he chooses to run.
Unfortunately for the former (and longest serving) Governor of Texas, it’s not his short term memory, back pain or verbal fumbles that threaten him with the prospects of a short fruitless campaign, it is the manifestation of his political legacy that is shaping to be his ultimate demise.
Most of the aforementioned problems undermine his theories behind the “Texas Model” and are likely to surface during his party’s primary. GOP firebrands are standing behind him now with regard to his indictment, but that’s easy when: a.) it has been brilliantly — but fictionally — framed as a liberal attack, and b.) he isn’t currently viewed as a real threat by most top tier candidates.
Even with those who know him best, Texans, Perry fails to reach double digit support for a presidential bid. Worse may be that those who know him less and view him almost solely through the lens of his last national campaign. He has been making the rounds to early states, but his LexisNexus search and travel schedule continue to be peppered with court dates. The indictment, which he had referred to as a “badge of honor” is starting to look more like an albatross. Now just picture an empty chair at primary debates.
Then, there are issues he will inevitably face in a general election, like having to explain why Texas still leads the nation with over 1,000,000 million of her own falling in the health care coverage gap. Other GOP Governors are finding ways to provide access to care for their vulnerable populations, but Perry told the press that the large number of uninsured is “what Texans wanted.” If he is doing his diligence to be prepared, then he knows that’s not what most Americans want. That will likely be a new trick for Perry as someone who not only rarely gives ground but generally responds to high charges by actually doubling down.
As a Texan who has watched Perry’s career arc over the decade, I can report that even when he looks to be on the ropes it has proven unwise to bet against him. So don’t count out Rick Perry until the fat lady sings, because only time will tell if she gets that encore.
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