Could Rick Perry Be a Viable Candidate in 2016?

perryGovernor Rick Perry made some news earlier this week when he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show (from Austin, Texas) and discussed the possibility of decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the Lone Star State.

Listening to Perry, I thought he laid out a pretty decent, thoughtful argument for moving in that direction. He also touted some past reforms he made in his state to lessen the severity of pot-related charges. He qualified the measures by saying, “you don’t want to ruin a kid’s life for having a joint.”

Though the drug conversation was what spawned some headlines, it wasn’t what made the interview interesting to me.

As I watched Perry discuss his accomplishments, and state his views on different issues, I was taken back by how relaxed, articulate, and confident he seemed, even with the liberal Austin audience giving him a hard time. It reminded me quite a bit of Perry’s early presidential primary debates back in September of 2011. As you might recall, Perry was a last minute entrant into the race, filling a void that some with in the GOP establishment recognized as a week field of candidates.

In his first debate, Perry was bold, self-assured, and spoke with moral clarity. He was unafraid to say the things he truly believed.

In regard to Social Security’s financial outlook, he said, “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.”

The statement drew questions about Perry’s commitment to our Social Security system, an issue that Democrats have long used to fear-monger votes away from Republicans.

In his second debate, Perry voiced a view on illegal immigration that wasn’t very popular with a lot of conservatives.

“If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought their through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

It was clear that after those first couple of performances, Perry’s consultants rushed in to advise him not to show such candor, and to recognize the political ramifications of making such statements. I think they got into his head, and his campaign suffered from it.

He went from being a steadfast, breath of fresh air, to an empty Republican suit who was so over-rehearsed and careful about what he said, that he no longer appeared comfortable in his own skin. He began botching his talking points left and right, and by the end of the campaign, he was making appearances on shows like David Letterman, merely to poke fun at himself.

It was a shame.

I think many people, like myself, viewed him as an independent-minded conservative that could strike a chord with the broader electorate. He was a highly successful governor who had a fantastic, pro-business record of job creation in his state, at a time when desperately few jobs were being created elsewhere in this country. He was an undoubtedly strong leader, yet he let people convince him not to be himself, and his campaign never recovered from it.

I think he probably learned a lot from the experience.

When Jimmy Kimmel asked Perry if he planned on running again in 2016, Perry answered, “You know, America is a great place for second chances.”

Does he have a point?

We know that Democratic politicians are always receiving second chances. America certainly gave Bill Clinton a second chance after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hillary Clinton, who was one of the most despised political figures in the nation following the Hillarycare debacle, now enjoys an astonishingly high public approval rating. A second presidential term for Barack Obama was certainly an example of a second chance, after his record of success in the first term was virtually non-existent.

Of course, what Democrats have working for them is a very supportive national media that has the influence to help redeem people. Republicans aren’t afforded that luxury.

In fact, the media is always eager to use a branding iron to immortalize the petty failings of Republican politicians. If you don’t believe me, look at the legacy of Dan Quayle – a man whose entire career is defined by him misspelling a word. Next, look at the mind-numbingly extensive list of Joe Bidden gaffes that the media frames as an endearing footnote in an otherwise distinguished career. From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

A challenge for Republicans is to not let the liberal media define which candidates are viable and which ones aren’t. In some cases they might be right, but it needs to be understood that their rationale for elevating and dismissing individuals comes with very little objectivity.

It’s hard for me to accept that blowing some lines in a couple of debates, as Perry did, is enough to end one’s presidential aspirations. It’s not as if he made up some story about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia alongside comedian, Sinbad. It’s certainly not as if he blamed a YouTube video for the death of four American patriots in Libya.

I, for one, would like to see Perry run again in 2016. I think he could surprise a lot of people and turn out to be a strong, independent-minded candidate. Part of me just wants to see him prove those who wrote his obituary four years ago wrong.

Then again, I could be the one who’s wrong. Either way, I’m a believer in second chances.

 




A Post-Mortem

How is it, people wonder, that Obama could be re-elected with an economy that’s barely breathing; a foreign policy that led to the Benghazi massacre and a cover-up that puts Watergate in the shade; soaring prices at the gas pump; a war on the oil and coal industries; a diminished military; increased taxes; ObamaCare; handing GM over to a labor union; and an unemployment rate that’s worse than the one he’s spent four years complaining he inherited?

How, indeed? Well, for openers, Hispanics see the federal government as one big piñata, filled with goodies. Likewise, blacks, single women and immature males, think that Uncle Sam is really their Sugar Daddy.

When it comes to my fellow Jews, who continue to confound Gentiles with their dedication to the Left, the explanation isn’t all that mystifying. For most of them, their religion of choice isn’t Judaism, it’s Liberalism. I can’t tell you how often I hear from totally perplexed Christians who ask me how it is that such well-educated people can continue to vote like the dregs of society. In part, the answer is that Jews only appear to vote against their own self-interest. They aren’t really all that altruistic. When you realize what a large percentage of defense attorneys; ACLU lawyers; members of the public sector unions, including those involving teachers and social workers; the media; and, yes, the gay community; are Jewish, their devotion to the Democratic Party isn’t all that surprising.

Another part of the answer is that being well-educated generally guarantees a good income, but it has next to nothing to do with possessing wisdom or commonsense. And without them, education is really nothing more than lipstick on a pig or tinsel on a rotted tree.

One of the sobering notes of the election is that Americas are now so dumb, greedy and morally pathetic, the Democrats no longer have to cheat on Election Day. They used to fight for racial equality and a strong national defense, but now wage war on behalf of abortions on demand and same-sex marriages.

Once again, single women voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama, just as they did for Clinton, Gore and Kerry. It leads me to hope that they continue to be conscientious about using those all-important birth control pills. God forbid they start reproducing!

A few people asked me why on earth Colin Powell continues to call himself a Republican when he keeps endorsing Democrats when elections roll around. It’s my theory that he hopes to pass himself off as a man above the fray, a man who votes for the best man running. Because Powell used to be a general, a lot of people fall for his charade. He’s about as Republican as Chris Matthews and about as non-partisan as Juan Williams, who just might get to play him if Hollywood ever gets around to producing “The Colin Powell Story.”

When it comes to misidentifying himself, Powell is no worse than 30% of the population. Whereas we used to hear that 40% of Americans identified themselves as conservatives and a mere 20% identified themselves as liberals, in spite of the obvious fact that in every election 40% of the people vote for the Republican and 40% vote for the Democrat, we now hear in the aftermath of the election that 38% of us are Democrats, 32% are Republicans and 30% are something called moderates. I’m afraid that baloney is baloney, no matter how thin you slice it, and it pains me when I hear right-wing pundits parrot this malarkey. No moderate would have ever voted for Barack Obama, the most left-wing radical to have ever been president.

Instead of asking people to identify themselves, all we need to do is to check election results. That also goes for repeating the lie that America is still a slightly right of center nation.

With the increasing number of Hispanics, blacks, single females, gays, Asians and brain-washed college students, we’re about as conservative as Norway.

If America had been invaded by foreign enemies, we could have fought back. But this wasn’t a foreign invader. It’s as if America had died of cancer or a self-inflicted bullet to the head. The fat lady sang, and it wasn’t the National Anthem. We have all heard about criminals who, having been cornered, refuse to be captured and incarcerated. Instead, they choose to go out in a blaze of gunfire. It’s called suicide by cop. What happened on November 6th was suicide by voter.

I see America as a nation in ruins. The difference is that, unlike the ancient cities of Rome and Athens, tourists won’t be showing up to take pictures.

I intend to keep writing until they pull this keyboard out of my cold, dead hands, but I have to confess that I’m hearing the siren call of Canada. You may not realize it, but all of Canada has fewer people than California. There are only 33 million Canadians. If all of us conservatives moved up there, we could re-create the America the Founding Fathers envisioned.

After all, Canada is a large, beautiful country, the people are friendly and they even have a major league baseball team.

Once we gained control, we would have to be vigilant in protecting our southern border. We would also have to keep Alexis de Tocqueville’s wise words constantly in mind: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

That was one very wise Frenchman. Therefore, in order to avoid the inevitable pitfall he described, when we all get to Canada, I suggest we agree to make me the king.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky. Comments? Write BurtPrelutsky@aol.com.