These tea leaves aren’t hard to read.
It’s extremely simple stuff. Perry’s running, and the announcement is going to come when the current special session in Texas ends.
First, there’s the Wall Street Journal piece on the potential Perry run this morning…
Should he run, Mr. Perry would first have to overcome an organizational hurdle. Assured that he wasn’t running, his two top campaign aides, Mr. Carney and former campaign manager Rob Johnson, both signed up with Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker. Mr. Perry would also have to overcome his oft-expressed distaste for the nation’s capital.
“I’m very interested in who our nominee will be,” he said in a March interview with The Wall Street Journal. “It won’t be me. I’ve said that multiple times, I’m not interested in going to Washington, D.C.”
Members of Mr. Perry’s still-extant group of campaign consultants say there is little chance he would embark on a 2012 campaign without Messrs. Carney and Johnson at his side.
“Mr. Carney” is David Carney, who has been one of Perry’s closest advisers for a long time.
Well, today there was the news of the jailbreak out of the Gingrich camp this afternoon. You’ll notice some familiar names mentioned in the Daily Caller piece on that subject…
Gingrich press spokesman Rick Tyler and campaign manager Rob Johnson have resigned, along with strategists and aides in key early primary states. Other sources are reporting that Dave Carney, Gingrich’s top New Hampshire aide, and Sam Dawson have also resigned.
There’s more to this than just supposition, obviously. National Review’s Jim Geraghty…
Just checked in with three GOP consultants, all of whom have been in the campaign business a while and none of whom are yet affiliated with a 2012 presidential campaign, about today’s mass exodus of staffers from Team Newt.
GOP Consultant One: “Knew this was coming… I bet Perry is in this thing sooner rather than later – these guys aren’t jumping off without somewhere else to land.”
GOP Consultant Two: “Knowing all those guys, they are neither impetuous not impulsive. I also have never seen a two week vacation two weeks after entering [the race]; I took that as portentous.”
GOP Consultant Three: “Gingrich was clearly melting down, and Perry is clearly gearing up, so it was time for the switcheroo.”
Carney, of course, says this was about Gingrich’s campaign being a disaster – which given that he opted to go on a Greek Cruise for two weeks rather than tromp around in Iowa like everybody else is doing, is pretty obviously the case – and not about Perry getting in. Which is not to call Carney a liar, but what else can he say? It’s not his place to announce Perry is getting in, and if he says anything other than “It has no impact, nor will it” (which is what he said today when asked whether his leaving Newt’s team has anything to do with a Perry run) he’s giving the whole shooting match away.
The thing is that if Perry gets in, this race is no longer the free-for-all it is right now. If he gets in, it more or less forecloses a Sarah Palin run. It probably closes out any chance Michelle Bachmann can win. It steals a great big piece of Herman Cain’s opportunity to surprise people and win races in places like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas – where the supposition here is that Cain has a better shot to win the GOP primaries than anybody thinks as things stand right now. It reduces Rudy Giuliani’s appeal outside of New York and the northeast. It even melts off some of the Ron Paul vote, though Paul’s people tend to be of the Cult of Personality type and your more committed Ronulans will attack Perry like nobody’s business. It would likely melt away the attention John Huntsman is getting, though that means little considering that while the media is attempting to make Huntsman a viable candidate he doesn’t seem to have any actual supporters. And it might well let some air out of Tim Pawlenty’s expanding balloon. Pawlenty so far is the guy who has done the best job of articulating a cogent, pro-growth conservative economic and fiscal policy; since the speech he gave on the subject at the University of Chicago on Tuesday, he’s been gaining in notices from folks in the business community and in the media.
But while Pawlenty has a decidedly good record as a governor in Minnesota, with a few blemishes he’s been forthright about addressing, Perry’s record in Texas is a monster. He’s the guy who was governor of a state which created almost 750,000 jobs in the last 10 years when no other state created even so much as 100,000. Texas just passed a “loser pays” tort reform bill which conservatives and business folks flat-out swoon over, a bill requiring voters to show ID at the polls and Perry just added a bill to eliminate “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants in that state’s legislative session. Granted, he’s got a legislature Pawlenty could only dream of which makes enacting bills like those possible – but still, Perry’s record is one tailor-made to attract conservative voters.
The upshot is that if Perry gets in, the 2012 GOP campaign fairly quickly becomes a Perry-Romney race unless something unusual happens. And Perry beats Romney, because Romney won’t disavow Romneycare and the Republican electorate wants nothing to do with government-run health care. Romneycare imposes a ceiling on his appeal which is too low for him to compete in a two- or three-man race or to drive some of the less-well-known candidates out of the field.
Perry doesn’t have a ceiling, unless he gets in and promptly face-plants – and nobody expects that would happen.
And Perry vs. Obama would have the makings of a grand-scale beatdown. Not only does Perry talk about how his state is carrying pretty much all of the nation’s job growth and economic activity while Obama burns the economy to cinders, but he’s got the scars to prove Obama’s bad governance and petty tyrannies.
The immigration flap, where Obama comes to El Paso and says the border is secure while folks in Texas pass out from shock.
The EPA trying to shut down Texas’ oil refineries after 16 years of different, but demonstrably better, air quality regulations at the state level there.
The moratorium, since outside of Louisiana Texas is the most affected state and has the best ability to talk about the importance of domestic energy to America’s future.
Even the wildfires last month – apparently it was federal officials who started the things, and yet Obama wouldn’t give Texas a federal disaster declaration.
Perry can overcome the sniping he would get from the folks who’d hit him with “But you said you wouldn’t run” by referencing the above and say he’s got no choice but to do what he can to get Obama out of there and that he’s afraid none of the folks in the race can get the job done – and Texas and the rest of the country can’t handle four more years of that clown in the White House. That’s pretty much the same argument all the current candidates (plus Trump) are making, but in Perry’s case he can deliver both the policy record that clearly beats Obama and the anecdotes which show how desperately America needs a new guy in the White House.
In short, if what looks like is about to happen – namely, Perry gets in – and he doesn’t screw it up, he’s going to be the guy taking the oath of office in January 2013.