Rick Perry's bona fides

A Texan's ‘exceptionalism’


Social issues, especially abortion, are gateways to the Republican nominating electorate: In today’s climate of economic fear, a candidate’s positions on social issues will not be decisive with his electorate — but they can be disqualifying. Perry — an evangelical Christian, like most Republican participants in Iowa’s caucuses and the South Carolina primary — emphatically qualifies


Between 2001 and last June, Texas — a right-to-work state that taxes neither personal income nor capital gains — added more jobs than the other 49 states combined. And since the recovery began two Junes ago, Texas has created 37 percent of America’s net new jobs.

Perry Breaks With a Fellow Texan: Bush


... in recent years, Mr. Perry has broken politically with Mr. Bush, questioning his credentials as a fiscal conservative, accusing him of going on “a big government binge” and playing down some of Mr. Bush’s accomplishments in Texas in light of his own.

Mr. Perry’s public statements exposed a long-simmering rivalry that had been little known outside of the political fraternity here but underscores the rightward drift of the Republican Party since Mr. Bush was president. More acutely, Mr. Perry’s criticism holds potential peril and benefit for him should he decide to mount a presidential campaign, allowing him to establish an identity distinct from Mr. Bush but risking a guerrilla campaign against him by the former president’s inner circle.


The rivalry has become lore in the state capital, at times bordering on urban legend. “An eight-foot alligator in the sewer,” said Mr. Perry’s chief political strategist, David Carney. Stressing that the two men were friends with more similarities than differences, Mr. Carney said, “They are in the same church, different pews.”

Neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Perry would be interviewed for this article, and people close to both said the rivalry existed far more between their aides than between them personally.

The relationship between the camps includes a rich mix of political differences, class distinctions, loyalty questions and perceived slights of campaigns past. And it is a uniquely Texan story, opening in the Western dust bowl where both emerged — Mr. Perry as a conservative Democratic state lawmaker from a modest farming family, Mr. Bush as a failed Republican Congressional candidate of famous New England stock.

Mr. Bush had returned to his hometown of Midland in 1975, to break into the oil business, after his years at Phillips Academy, Yale and Harvard Business School — time away from the state that Mr. Perry’s close associates brought up frequently in interviews. Mr. Perry returned to his struggling family farm in Paint Creek roughly two years later, after graduating from Texas A&M and serving as a captain in the Air Force.

Successfully running for the Texas House of Representatives in 1984, he won early attention as a dogged campaigner who flew himself to his own events in a beat-up propeller plane.

In 1989, Mr. Rove, already a powerful Texas political consultant, helped persuade Mr. Perry to join the Republican Party and run as agriculture commissioner.

Mr. Perry is said to believe that there is a big opening for a Republican like him in the race, and aides are mapping out how a campaign could come together. “The Republican field of candidates looks like a drought-stricken cotton crop,” said a close friend, Cliff Johnson.

Comment: First article is George Will's; second NYTimes. I think Perry could fire up the Republican race! Tim Pawlenty's star is setting because of poor showings in debates. I see the # 1 being Romney and # 2 being Bachmann (who looked good in Iowa last week!).

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