Feature:Opinion

Rick Perry’s path

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Matt Mackowiak
Founder, Potomac Strategy Group
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      Matt Mackowiak

      Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, DC and Austin, TX based political and communications professional and founder of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC, providing political consulting, public and media relations and crisis communications assistance to campaigns, companies, organizations and individuals. In nearly a decade in Washington, DC, he has served in high-level Senate, executive branch, campaign, and private sector environments and has developed a wide range of deep relationships with national, state and local media.

      In addition to offering counsel to political figures and corporations, Matt provides political analysis for the Fox News Channel, ABC News, MSNBC, radio stations throughout the country. Matt’s political analysis has appeared in Politico, the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg News, The Hill, Congressional Quarterly, the Washington Examiner, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, Texas Weekly, and on ABCNews.com and he has had columns published in the Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Roll Call, Austin American-Statesman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Des Moines Register, National Review online, Congressional Quarterly and The Daily Beast. Matt has guest lectured at the University of Illinois, the University of Denver, and American University. He has addressed student organizations at Georgetown University, Catholic University, the University of Illinois, Texas Christian University, and American University.

      From 2005-2009 Matt served as Press Secretary to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). From 2003-2005 he worked in press at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Tom Ridge and Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson, managed the second largest county in Iowa for the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, counseled corporate clients at the international PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and performed White House Presidential and Vice Presidential advance representation all over the country.

      Matt is from Austin, Texas and graduated in 2003 with a B.S. in Communications Studies (Political Communication track) from the University of Texas (UT). Aside from his professional work, he owns and manages the popular blog site www.potomacflacks.com, recently cited by the Washingtonian as one of the best political blogs. In his free time, Matt enjoys sports, live music, UT Athletics and reading biographies.

You’re always strongest when you’re “thinking” about running for president.

Gov. Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in the history of the nation’s second-largest state, is unquestionably the “flavor of the month.”

And his likely entrance into the 2012 campaign has many excited, but, as a recent Politico story reported, some in the Republican establishment feel threatened.

National polls show Perry in second place, behind frontrunner Mitt Romney, and his support seems to be growing.

I think Perry’s rapid national ascent can be explained by the fact that he combines Romney’s and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s strengths without possessing either’s weaknesses. Perry has all the dynamism and base credibility that Bachmann boasts, but he has real executive experience and accomplishments and does not have her record of cringe-inducing statements. Perry has Romney’s national stature (he is currently the chairman of the Republican Governors Association) and national fundraising capacity (he raised $40 million for his 2010 reelection and has already broken RGA fundraising records), but he does not have a history of flip-flopping or have to deal with Romneycare.

Is Rick Perry the perfect machine for the 2012 cycle?

Let’s look down the road a bit:

One likely scenario is as follows: Perry gets past the Aug. 6 non-political prayer and fasting event in Houston (scheduled long before he began considering a run), which has garnered some level of national criticism, and then remains mostly silent the following week as the announced candidates criss-cross Iowa and debate on Aug. 11 on Fox News, all leading up to the expensive and potentially significant Aug. 13 Ames Straw Poll.

Perry then has a chance to steal the limelight: He can choose to announce for president any day after the Ames Straw Poll.

On the day of the Ames Straw Poll, Perry will address the RedState Gathering in Charleston, SC, where kingmakers Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) will be speaking and hundreds of conservative activists, bloggers and donors will be in attendance. While much of the national press focus will be on Iowa, the likely nominee will be in South Carolina revving up the troops.

He could announce in his hometown (tiny Paint Creek, Texas) and then visit all three early states in a three-day fly-around.

Or, if he wants to directly challenge President Obama, he can announce in Chicago’s Grant Park: “I stand before you tonight to tell you that ‘hope and change’ has failed. It’s time for tough, sober, effective leadership.”

At that point he will hold all the cards and all the national attention will turn to him.

Once he announces, Perry will face scrutiny, like all new candidates do. Like anyone who has governed a large state for as long as he has, he has made decisions that have stirred opposition. The timid have few enemies. Rick Perry is anything but timid.

But he also has significant political strengths.

First, Perry has a wide range of strong relationships with many Republican governors. I could see him winning the endorsements of Haley, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) and Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NM). Haley and Sandoval have states with early primary contests and would be very significant endorsements. These governors have credibility, stature and major fundraising capacity (especially Barbour), and the Perry campaign can roll these out once a week from now to February. How many governors will Romney have?

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  • http://twitter.com/dakealo dakealo

    Okay, so here you go again. You establishment types are tossing around former Texas A&M male cheerleader and current Texas governor, Rick Perry, as a presidential candidate.

    Here’s a quick first look at Perry:

    He began his political career as a Democrat in 1984 in the Texas House. Way back in 1988, he supported Al Gore for president. When that didn’t work out for him, or Gore, he joined the Republican Party.

    Despite the widely held view that Texas is in strong financial shape, the state has severe debt overhang. Since Perry took over as governor in 2000, blame for the current debt situation can be place at his feet.

    While not raising the sales tax in Texas (Texas has no income tax). He raised just about every other fee and tax he could think of, including a surcharge on traffic violations. He also borrowed money for road bonds and borrowed from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund.

    In 2003, he launched the Texas Enterprise Fund, he quickly, in 2004, gave $20 million to Countrywide Financial, the mortgage creating machine that was a major player in subprime, no docs mortgages.

    Depending how it is calculated, the debt of the state of Texas could be considered as high as $269 billion, which on a per citizen basis is $10,644 and is higher than even the $9,931 per citizen debt in the state of California.In 2000, when Perry first became governor, total spending by the state of Texas was $49 billion. At the end of 2010, it was $90 billion.Can you just imagine what this guy would do at the federal level with Ben Bernanke around to backup his spending?

    Perry is a statist hack and a tool of the establishment. There is no distinction between Perry and Obama. They are both bought and paid for globalists.

    • NotPropagandized

      Methinks you twist the facts a bit too severely, especially with a very weak conclusion of Perry’s likeness with Obama, which is so far off and opposite of truth, that it negates all your predicate comments. Though Perry lacks perfection, he is everyman’s and everywoman’s man. His false starts have been healed with willingness to listen to the People’s objections and relent.  Obama Pelosi Reid jammed their ideas through, saying, “To hell with the People, we’re taking over.”

      Perry has shown both the ability to stick to principle and to give in to compromise under circumstances that demand/require it.  He has a vision of what’s right, but he’ll give some respect to opposition. Bush caved too easily. Perry shows great strength of conviction and he knows we’re both Anglo, Hispanic and Black, among other friends in Texas and shows respect for that being our heritage dating back well before the Lone Star Republic.

      You won’t get Obama’s cool and hip with Perry, but you’ll get a down to earth, experienced public servant who is skilled at helping the private sector prosper and provide opportunity for all Texans, and soon, all Americans.

  • nickel1951

    Sarah you have to run. If for no other reason then to let the people chose the best candidate, not the talking heads.

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  • Tex Vet

    Anytime, anyplace you mention Perry..here come the Paulbots..same as msnbc..

    • Jason

      “paulbot”: did you think that up all on your own?  so tell me, being a vet… why are you in opposition to these “paulbots”? 

    • Jason

      oh i think you’re confused… you think because people have the same argument over and over that they are programmed robots…. that’s the problem. ok where to begin, how about here: THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO TELL THE TRUTH. 

  • philF

    I agree. 

  • grkorbel

    Rick Perry is a “Trojan Horse”. If you live in Texas or don’t but do buisiness there or know people who do live there, the picture of the man you get is much different than the one the SAME people who catapulted Fred Thompson to the head of the pack in July 2007 are selling now.

    For the record, Texas, despite huge energy resources, deep water ports, and an almost inexhaustible supply of cheap labor has the highest poverty level of any large industrialized state.

    And about those gawdy job stats: Three hundred thousand of the 1,000,000 weregovernment jobs paid for with stimulusmoney, which, when it dries up, will result in these people losing their jobs. Another 300,000 were minimum-wage jobs. Only Mississippi has more people working for such low wages.

    Nearly one-in-five Texans have no health insurance, nor do the same number of children. The education system is a train wreck.

    The Hispanic vote? Republicans already have a problem with that but as of March there were 60 “anti-hispanic” bills filed.

    The “State of the State”? Texas is looking down the barrel of a $27.3 billion deficit.

    I can already hear the accusations of “Liberal Troll”.

    No. I’m a conservative warning you that if the left is pulling for Perry–and read some of their glowing
    articles about the man–it’s a setup. Put Perry against Obama and the “big-government”  problem is off the table.

    Choose Romney and watch what happens when conservatives learn he ran for office and won three times as a democrat and that he tried to have eight-year-old girls innoculated against STD’d.He’s going to scare the crap out of moderates. 

    I’m warning you: this guy has more skeletons buried in his backyard then there at Pinelawn. The left is giddy thinking about Palin running against Obama. His staff must be floating thinking about all the
    documented chinks in this guy’s armor.             

    • Jess Thinkin

      To korbel: OKay,who you got?  Look, let’s be grown-ups here.  Every presidential candidate since GWash. has had squirmy skeletons in his foot locker.  The real game show question is how will he (not necessarily his shadow) sell in Peoria, and how does he wear in comparisson with our current community-activist-in-chief?  Can he match or exeed Ob’s charisma, confront and beat him in the head-to-head debates, and in the process appear more ‘presidential’?  Image/brand have been shown to be equally as (if not more so)important in national elections, (ie; see J.Carter, R. Reagan, B.Clinton and B.H. Obama) than the histories of the final two candidates.  What I’m saying here (and I’m not comfortable in saying so) is that the winning margin in presidential elections often turns on the individual, almost superficial, characteristics of the candidates.  There’s a strong visceral component at work that often carries the day, because in the end, much of the electorate intrinsically knows that  each candidate is being defined by the other, making it difficult to know, with any degree of certitude, what to believe; it then boils down to the age old electoral determinant — “I like this guy (more than the other one)”.  Sorry if my post appears to be marginally cynical, but any political consultant will knowingly nod at my, much too wordy and drawn out assertion.

    • Jeanette

      gr, when did you write this article?  your statistics are dated…..and garbled….and confusing……I, for one, can’t determine if you’re supporting Romney or Perry….

  • Robbyshankar

    Rick Perry is the flavor of the month, and once voters find out more about him, he will be spit out quickly.  His so called balanced budget is in reality a 27 billion dollar shortfall.  He attempted to force pre-teen girls to be vaccinated against STD’s, and it was revealed that the manufacturer of the vaccine is a campaign contributor and friend of Perry’s.  His state has 25% uninsured, the highest per capita minimum wage jobs in the nation, and some of the poorest education in the Union.  No thanks to Rick Perry.

    • Sandy E

      Almost everything you said about Perry is false.  The 12/13 Texas budget was balanced as is required in the Texas Constitution.  There is no 27 billion dollar shortfall, as a similar amount was cut from the budget, before it could become a shortfall.  Texas also didn’t touch their $9 million dollar rainy day fund in order to balance the budget.  A large chunk was cut from public education funds as Perry has been pushing for Charter Schools, and education vouchers.  Those vouchers could be used by the inner city kids to gain a much better education than is provided by the inner city public school teachers, who could care less about the education of children, but are more concerned with keeping their jobs, and indoctrinating the kids into socialism.  Perry, and the legislature,  made the correct choice there because it favors the kids.

      As to the Gardasil flap, the parents of the young girls had an opt out if they didn’t want their daughters receiving the vaccine. The vaccine manufacturer, Maerk, donated $5,000 to Perry’s campaign,  which is hardly an incentive to a Governor, who is a record fundraiser. $5,000 would be considered a very small donation with Perry’s fundraising prowess.

      As to the 25% uninsured stat, many of those people choose to be uninsured, and many find the use of the emergency room to be very convenient.  Texas has Medicaid for those qualifying.  Much of the 25% number includes illegals who are not, and shouldn’t be qualified for any benefits provided to citizens. As it is in every state, no one is refused emergency medical care.

      I would suggest getting a job with the Obama administration, but, obviously you already are, and that is why you’re posting your garbage here.  Perry is over the target.

      • Jeanette

        Sandy, I agree with EVERYTHING you say, but, I have to point out that the Texas Rainy Day Fund is 9 Billion, not 9 million….

        My only disappointment with Perry is that he didn’t continue the 2011 special sessions until he whipped the Republican majority leaders in line with what the voters wanted….to outlaw the Sanctuary City Bill and to put an enforceable immigration bill into law….they had the majority in both the House and Senate, but they chose to listen to their Big Business lobby contingent, rather than ordinary citizens who have to live with the increased costs every day….higher insurance, higher educations costs, increased crime rate, etc.

        …..I’m not spouting trite statistics here as I know first hand what a drunk uninsured illegal “immigrant” can do to ordinary lawabiding people who are going about their business; who laughed at the arresting officer when he killed a young 21 year girl…and that same arresting officer was killed by another illegal alien 4 months later.

        But I still support Governor Perry and think he would make a fine President..I truly believe he can be more effective at the national level, especially with jobs growth…..

  • ofallon

    Romney is a phony wimp who blows with the wind. We need someone strong with leadership qualities like Rick Perry. He shouldn’t worry about the scrutiny from the liberal media. They are desperate. America has your back.  Praying for Texas rain and a Texas President.