Rick Perry Ask the Right Question About Christie's Appeal to Conservatives

Governor Rick Perry was in Iowa this weekend and during an interview on ABC's This Week, he raised the $64,000 question about a potential Chris Christie presidential candidacy:

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas credited Chris Christie for his re-election in New Jersey, but he pointedly questioned whether the 22-point victory by Christie held any greater meaning for the Republican Party.

“Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?” Perry said in an interview with “This Week.” “We’ll have that discussion at the appropriate time.”

As he made his first visit back to Iowa since the 2012 presidential race, Perry left the door open to another presidential bid. He said he believed voters would give him an opportunity to make a second impression, if he decided to run again, even though his first campaign fizzled amid a series of high-profile gaffes.

“Second chances are what America has always been about,” Perry said.

In a wide-ranging interview here, during a two-day visit to Iowa, Perry said the divisions among Republicans have been healthy for the party. But he said it was time for the establishment and tea party wings to rally around at least one shared goal: supporting strong candidates who can win.

“If you can’t win elections, you can’t govern,” Perry said. “So winning an election is really important.”

The truth? Chris Christie may have a shot at getting elected dog catcher in Alabama or Mississippi. But win a Republican primary for president? I exaggerate, of course, but Perry's perceptive question is at the heart of the disagreement between GOP factions.

From west to east, north to south conservatism has evolved differently, having to confront different issues and develop distinct personalities to be successful. Despite the homogenizing effects of mass media, each region in America differs from the next in big and small ways (it was actually a much more politically significant difference 50 years ago, but that's a subject that deserves separate attention). Conservatives in the Midwest don't care about water rights as they do in the west, and Northeastern conservatives have less interest in rural issues than Southern conservatives.