Perry declares

Contrary to my advice/predictions, Rick Perry has jumped into the 2012 presidential election. Perry is now the second Texan in the race (Ron Paul is the other).

For Texas, this means that our politics will be even more entangled with federal politics as Perry jockeys for positions again the rest of the GOP field and Obama. That’s not so good. Also, the Lt. Governor will have to step up and fill in for the Governor as he travels out around the country. Many Texans will remember that this is exactly what Rick Perry did as George W. Bush campaigned for president. As the Austin-American Statesman points out, the Lt. Governor gets paid the governor’s salary about $411 a day while serving as acting governor (the Lt. Governor currently makes just under $20 a day). Oddly enough, the law provides that while the Lt. Governor will get the extra pay for filling in for Governor but allows the governor to keep getting paid while campaigning. Perry will probably do what Bush did and not accept pay for those days.

It  is still not clear to me what Perry’s niche in the GOP field will be. Michelle Bachman has already won over many social conservatives and people associated with the tea party movement. She demonstrated her strength at the Iowa straw poll the same day Perry declared his candidacy.  Mitt Romney has established a foothold with the more business-oriented Republicans. Ron Paul has a long history the Libertarian wing of the party. Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain each bring something to the field. I’m not sure who likes Gingrich.

Perry’s path to the nomination will not be easy. Jake Silverstein writing in BurkaBlog has tossed out the label of Perry as “the great campaigner.” However, you have to remember that those other candidates are also considered great campaigners by plenty of people. Presidential campaign politics is like playing in the All-Star game–everyone is a star.*

Remember that John Connally was  a respected Texas governor, a politician with experience at every level of government, and a good campaigner. He won only one delegate to the Republican Convention in 1980. People had been talking for years about how much potential Tim Pawlenty had. Then, as soon as he declared people seemed to consider him boring. You might remember that after 1996 everyone considered Liddy Dole a strong candidate for the 2000 GOP nomination–and she dropped out of the race in 1999. Other candidates have been declared politically dead before winning the nomination or office. You just don’t know until the candidate hits the trail.

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*For those of you who tolerate sports analogies:  Rick Perry seems like Ian Kinsler.  He holds his own (although some people want more hitting from the lead off slot) and I want the Rangers to keep him. But, is he an all-star?

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