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Can Rick Perry Earn A Second Chance?

The Houston Chronicle’s “Texas on the Potomac” blog looks at the opening of the new legislative session in Austin through the prism of a certain governor’s potential presidential ambitions:

The legislative session that opens Tuesday will give Gov. Rick Perry a chance to burnish his credentials if he chooses to make another run for president in 2016.

But some are hard-pressed to imagine a session — or anything else — good enough to make voters forget his disastrous White House race that limped to an end just about a year ago …

Perry turned into a punch line after a series of campaign missteps punctuated by his inability to remember all the federal departments he wanted to shut down, a debate lapse that entered the big leagues of embarrassing moments when he gave up with an “oops.”

So, can he pull it off? For my money, the answer is no. As much as I respect Perry’s accomplishments as Governor of Texas — and as fervently as I hoped he might be the conservative white knight in last year’s presidential race — it seems to me that there’s a clear trend where tarnished reputations are concerned: you can come back from scandal … but not from becoming an all-purpose joke.

It’s the reason Dan Quayle, even as a former Vice President, was never able to mount a presidential campaign that anyone took seriously. It’s the reason that a majority of the country would never consider pulling the lever for Sarah Palin. And, lest our friends on the left think it a partisan affair, it’s the reason that a Joe Biden presidential campaign will never amount to anything more than the world’s longest SNL sketch. Once people have decided you’re not a serious enough figure to be president — rightly or wrongly — they don’t tend to change their minds.

Of course, I could be wrong. Do you think he could pull it off?

  1. Cutlass
    Joe the Rock Doc: You cannot go to a nationally televised debate and not have your facts straight.  You cannot go up there like that.  There is little margin for error, since people have much to do and will judge by mere appearances.

    Well, you can if you’re Obama.

  2. Carol Platt Liebau
    C

    My husband — rather a skeptical guy by nature, especially when it comes to politicians — happened to run into Gov. Perry in the American Airlines frequent flier room in Houston, and was very impressed.  He insisted that in person, Gov. Perry came across as intelligent, personable, knowledgeable and a natural politician, far different than the image of him that emerged during the 2012 campaign.

  3. Rawls
    Carol Platt Liebau: My husband … insisted that in person, Gov. Perry came across as intelligent, personable, knowledgeable and a natural politician, far different than the image of him that emerged during the 2012 campaign. · 11 minutes ago

    But was your husband a television camera at the time?

  4. Mike LaRoche

    Rick Perry for President……of Texas!

  5. Crow

    Much of what Perry has done as a governor I approve of and is worthy of emulation elsewhere.

    But my fear is similar to yours, Troy. Some of his foibles that play very well regionally don’t translate well onto national television, and some of his mistakes in the debates (strange, because we’re told debates don’t matter much…..) affected his reputation.

    I won’t completely rule him out though. It’s too early to speculate what will happen between now and 2016. Who knows? maybe four years more of Obama is so disastrous that 2012 doesn’t matter and he ends up running. Maybe he ends up as a VP pick…

  6. Ansonia

    Re comment # 1To me he always appeared to be intelligent, personable, knowledgeable, a natural politician, and either inexperienced or rusty as a debater. I think he’s also courageous and committed to federalism. I think he could pull it off.

  7. genferei

    If he can be a strong and consistent voice for federalism then there is no reason he can’t try again and succeed. Anyone on the GOP side is going to be painted as a Machiavellian buffoon by the press.

    And debate performance won’t matter because the GOP will learn its lesson and refuse to participate in the quadrennial farce that pits the MSM ‘moderators’ against the GOP candidate (or candidates, in the case of the primary)…

    GOP. Learn lesson. Ha. Ha. Ha.

  8. Western Chauvinist

    Lemme see. White guy from Texas with Texas twang-n’all running against Cory Booker or fill-in-the-preferred-minority-status-candidate-here doesn’t stand a chance because of poorly executed 2012 campaign. Riiiiight.

    I’m not saying he could win. I think Republicans are at a serious disadvantage going forward because Democrats have an overwhelming advantage with low-information voters, and control the institutions which might help inform such voters (education establishment, media, and Hollyweird), if they had the incentive.

    Republican candidates have always been scary or stupid. The difference now is, a majority of people are gullible enough to believe it.

  9. Chris Campion

    What’s funny here is that the caricature that’s been painted of Perry has been mostly on the Left, who picture him as being wildly incapable of being President.  Those aren’t the people Perry could convince to vote for him had he run a perfectly unobtrusive campaign.  It just won’t happen.

    The question is whether or not Perry could convince enough Republicans to vote for him in a presidential election.  Considering how many Republicans stayed home for a relative moderate like Romney (and maybe, perhaps, some stayed home because he was relatively moderate), I’m hard-pressed to see a scenario where Perry gets more votes than a Romney.

    But it could come down to those several states, like it usually does, and maybe Perry flips a couple of states red in the presidential election.  Seems like a big “if” for a party that managed to lose an election with record deficits, 8% unemployment, Benghazi, etc…..

  10. Joseph Paquette

    Perry should not have gotten into the race in 2012, he would have been the natural front runner for 2016.  He was and will be hung with Bush fatigue, being from Texas.   He would make a great President, but I don’t think the rest of the country will give him another serious run.  (There’s always a chance he could be President of the Republic of Texas!) 

  11. Mike LaRoche
    Joseph Paquette: (There’s always a chance he could be President of the Republic of Texas!)  ·  10 minutes ago

    Amen!

  12. Casey

    The guy reeked of buffoon well before the Republican race.

  13. Whiskey Sam

    Never say never, but I get the sense there is going to be a concerted effort to get a candidate with more minority appeal a la Rubio or Jindal in 2016.

  14. Terry Mott

    As a Texan, I think Perry’s been a decent governor.  But there’s no way for him in 2016.  He’d do better to wait until 2020, and even then, it’d be a long shot.

  15. RedRules

    Perry was my number one choice as nominee, and I was bummed when he bowed out. I liked his “oops”, to be honest. It showed something of his character. How’s that smooth-talking dude we got now doing on the job?

    That being said, it’s probably good he didn’t win. We need him to be the first President of Texas when it eventually secedes from the United Socialist States.

  16. Joe the Rock Doc

    You cannot go to a nationally televised debate and not have your facts straight.  You cannot go up there like that.  There is little margin for error, since people have much to do and will judge by mere appearances.  I do take him more seriously than Palin and Quayle, though.

  17. Hartmann von Aue
    Joseph Paquette: Perry should not have gotten into the race in 2012, he would have been the natural front runner for 2016.  He was and will be hung with Bush fatigue, being from Texas.   He would make a great President, but I don’t think the rest of the country will give him another serious run.  (There’s always a chance he could be President of the Republic of Texas!)  · 45 minutes ago

    I couldn’t agree with you more. He should have waited and jumping in in 2012 was an awful if not fatal mistake for a man with any aspirations to the Presidency.

  18. Lidens Cheng

    He was my first choice, and I hope he does run again.

  19. Kofola

    I have a list of possible candidates I’d be willing to consider at this point, and Perry’s on that list. He has stiff competition, however.

    That said, is Perry the ‘next in line?’ That still seems to be the primary qualification to win the GOP nomination…

  20. BrentB67

    He was a couple months from major back surgery and it showed. Simple solutions to our catastrophic federal government induced problems is a winning strategy. Additionally, federalism is a great path forward for conservatives. Anyone with doubts about Governor Perry should watch his interview with Peter and then add a comment here. I don’t think anyone will consider it time wasted.

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