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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?