Oops.

So what, Democrats and Republicans alike will ask, about Wendy Davis? Since the state senator’s high-profile filibuster of the abortion ban, Democrats have begun clamoring for the Fort Worth Democrat to jump in the race. While it’s hard to see any path to a statewide Democratic victory in 2014, a recent poll showed Davis faring better against Abbott than Perry, although Abbott still led her 48-40 in a possible matchup.

While the odds are that Abbott will dominate the race, he’s still not a sure thing. For one thing, he still hasn’t even announced. If memory serves, in 2011, the presumed frontrunner waited until the last minute to announce his bid for president. His name was Rick Perry.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Texas gubernatorial race—and which likely candidate might just leave everyone else in their dust.

 


In 1999, as he was preparing his run for the White House, George W. Bush made an important purchase. The son of a president and grandson of a senator, born in Connecticut and schooled at Andover, Yale, and Harvard, bought himself a ranch. Over the next ten years, he would repeatedly bring photographers out to document him clearing brush, always with Stetson atop his head and gigantic belt buckle firmly in place.

Bush may not have been much for book learnin’, but he appreciated the power of political iconography. The cowboy, he knew, is perhaps the most potent American archetype, the hero whose story speaks to everything many Americans want to believe about themselves and their country. And today, the newest star of the Republican party has more cowboy in his little finger than Bush had in his whole being - for better and for worse. As a candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry will be enacting a particular performance of masculinity, one that will resonate powerfully with some people - especially white men - even as it alienates others.


Rick Perry ain’t no pretend cowboy - he’s the real damn thing. 

In 1999, as he was preparing his run for the White House, George W. Bush made an important purchase. The son of a president and grandson of a senator, born in Connecticut and schooled at Andover, Yale, and Harvard, bought himself a ranch. Over the next ten years, he would repeatedly bring photographers out to document him clearing brush, always with Stetson atop his head and gigantic belt buckle firmly in place.

Bush may not have been much for book learnin’, but he appreciated the power of political iconography. The cowboy, he knew, is perhaps the most potent American archetype, the hero whose story speaks to everything many Americans want to believe about themselves and their country. And today, the newest star of the Republican party has more cowboy in his little finger than Bush had in his whole being - for better and for worse. As a candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry will be enacting a particular performance of masculinity, one that will resonate powerfully with some people - especially white men - even as it alienates others.

Rick Perry ain’t no pretend cowboy - he’s the real damn thing. 


 
When Rick Perry opened his presidential campaign with a dazzling display of what GOP consultant Alex Castellanos called “mad cowboy disease”—threatening Ben Bernanke with ugly treatment if he ever ventured into Texas, questioning President Obama’s patriotism, denying the global-warming “hoax”—one of the Texas governor’s greatest vulnerabilities as a candidate became immediately obvious: He enjoys nothing more than raising eyebrows (and hackles) with incendiary talk…. 

Whereas George W. Bush adopted a swaggering, plain-speaking populist persona, Perry—the poor ol’ farm boy from Paint Creek—is the genuine article. Unless his savvy campaign guru, Dave Carney, can glue Perry’s tongue to the roof of his mouth while he sleeps, the campaign is practically guaranteed to dish up an endless stream of heavily accented, overheated rhetoric. 
But as I learned from covering him for nearly three years in Texas, Perry has serious liabilities as a candidate, and they don’t begin and end with the tendency to shoot off his mouth (or his beloved Ruger LCP, with which he claims to have killed a coyote with while he was out jogging last winter). His ten-year record as Texas governor, along with his ideological and political eccentricities, will offer ample fodder for attacks from Bachmann on the right, Romney in the center and, perhaps eventually, Obama on the left. (And nobody can possibly predict what he’ll say about foreign policy.) Here’s a short list of Perry’s major pitfalls as the campaign begins.

When Rick Perry opened his presidential campaign with a dazzling display of what GOP consultant Alex Castellanos called “mad cowboy disease”—threatening Ben Bernanke with ugly treatment if he ever ventured into Texas, questioning President Obama’s patriotism, denying the global-warming “hoax”—one of the Texas governor’s greatest vulnerabilities as a candidate became immediately obvious: He enjoys nothing more than raising eyebrows (and hackles) with incendiary talk…. 

Whereas George W. Bush adopted a swaggering, plain-speaking populist persona, Perry—the poor ol’ farm boy from Paint Creek—is the genuine article. Unless his savvy campaign guru, Dave Carney, can glue Perry’s tongue to the roof of his mouth while he sleeps, the campaign is practically guaranteed to dish up an endless stream of heavily accented, overheated rhetoric



But as I learned from covering him for nearly three years in Texas, Perry has serious liabilities as a candidate, and they don’t begin and end with the tendency to shoot off his mouth (or his beloved Ruger LCP, with which he claims to have killed a coyote with while he was out jogging last winter). His ten-year record as Texas governor, along with his ideological and political eccentricities, will offer ample fodder for attacks from Bachmann on the right, Romney in the center and, perhaps eventually, Obama on the left. (And nobody can possibly predict what he’ll say about foreign policy.) Here’s a short list of Perry’s major pitfalls as the campaign begins.


Matthew Yglesias breaks down Rick Perry’s argument against the Fed:

When Perry objects to printing money “to play politics,” he reveals the root of his objection. The truth is that Perry and other Republicans fear printing money for exactly the reason we ought to do it—looser money would boost growth and curb unemployment. After all, if it truly harmed the economy, it would only make things worse for an Obama administration that’s struggling to keep its head above water amid 9 percent unemployment.

Read the rest here.

Matthew Yglesias breaks down Rick Perry’s argument against the Fed:

When Perry objects to printing money “to play politics,” he reveals the root of his objection. The truth is that Perry and other Republicans fear printing money for exactly the reason we ought to do it—looser money would boost growth and curb unemployment. After all, if it truly harmed the economy, it would only make things worse for an Obama administration that’s struggling to keep its head above water amid 9 percent unemployment.

Read the rest here.

It’s 2000 all over again: A Republican governor from Texas is running for president, and the press is swooning over his manly manliness.

Opinion columnists are already lining up to squeeze Perry’s biceps. Washington Post “liberal” columnist Richard Cohen thinks Perry “looks like a president,” whatever that means, while Kathleen Parker writes that Perry shares George W. Bush’s “certain brand of manliness.” I can’t tell if she means being a conservative from Texas or being a cheerleader.

Rick Perry says the Fed is treasonous

Now that the Republican mainstream contains Fed skepticism and “tight” money, it’s no surprise that Perry would embrace it as part of his nascent effort to reach a national constituency. The big problem is that these ideas are insane, and could destabilize the world economy if actually brought to bear on American economic policy.

In other words, if there’s any actual lesson to draw from Perry’s anti-Fed rhetoric – and it’s echo across the Republican Party – it’s that the GOP is even less fit to govern than anyone previously realized.

Thanks, Rick Perry, for teaching us a lesson!

(Also we’ll take any chance we can to post that picture.)