I don’t mean to turn the Tatler or PJM into a Texas politics blog, I really don’t. But I also can’t ignore the tectonic shift that seems to be going on in Austin lately.
Gov. Rick Perry today gave his strongest indication yet that he may run for president.
“I’m going to think about it” after the legislative session ends Monday, Perry said. He added, “But I think about a lot of things.”
For years, Perry has said that he would not run for president and that he had no interest in the job. He has often said that he has said no to the presidential question in as many ways as he could.
But he and his advisers have inched closer to saying he may run all week, following the announcement that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels would not enter the GOP field. A couple of days ago, he told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News that a run was tempting.
There are knocks on Gov. Perry to be sure — that he’s not that popular in Texas (yet manages to keep on winning in a state with a long history of booting incumbent governors), that he’s a former Democrat (key word being “former,” and a tag that can be applied to an awful lot of Texas Republicans and such unreliable types as Phil Gramm and Ronald Reagan) and that the Gardasil and Trans-Texas Corridor history render him “not a real conservative” (despite Gardasil ultimately dying, and Perry signing all kinds of conservative legislation including a strong eminent domain and a pair of tort reforms, while building up the best state economic record in the country). The biggest negative is probably Texas fatigue — is America ready for another Texas governor to become president, so soon after Bush? Despite some superficial resemblance, Rick Perry is not George W. Bush and he is not shy about distinguishing his fiscal record from that of his predecessor. But Perry’s entry would make it all too easy for Obama to run against “another Bush term.” That has to be taken into account.
The 82nd Texas legislative session is reaching sine die soon. Once it’s done, there may be a scrum as the race for US Senate gets serious. One tea leaf to watch is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. If he jumps hard into the run for that Senate seat, it could mean Perry has decided to stay put as governor. But silence from the Dew camp could mean he has reason to believe he is in for a promotion.