My brother, a solid conservative, broached me with the inevitable question.
Yesterday, a native Kentuckian who had recently fled Chicago's liberalism, voiced comparable concerns. As she surmised,"I've got no problem with Governor Perry. I know how he believes and I know that he's done a good job in Texas. But could he keep from tripping over himself in an election campaign."
She was taken aback when I revealed the fact that he had undergone major back surgery on the eve of the 2012 primary. Her response was, "Oh, that explains everything!" In other words, "I can accept that. Do you think everyone will?"
It is not that Governor Perry did anything irreparable! He promised to eliminate three Washington D.C. departments. Then, he forgot one of the three departments that he proposed to eliminate! On national TV, no less! Following the debate, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standand predicted that Perry's campaign had ended that night. At the time, I thought Kristol was overly presumptuous. In the end, he proved correct.
Adoph Hitler, of all people, proclaimed a truism that may be worth noting: "Short memories have always been an innate attribute of the masses."
It is encouraging that Perry drew applause from his fiery speech at CPAC convention, earlier this month! A friend in Nevada thought, "Perry was on his game. Too bad he didn't come off that way two years ago!"
Fortunately, tomorrow is another day! Better yet, only Republicans seem to remember that debate gaffe of 2011. And, of course, it was a gaffe and nothing more. The question becomes, "can Republicans move past it and focus on what's really pressing? After all, this is supposed to be about "who" is best qualified to be leader of the free world. Not, "who" is the "slickist debator!"
The response given to my brother was, "Do you think that Perry can win the same states that Mitt Romney won?" Predictably, he said "yes."
A Kansas City conservative told me that, while he likes Perry he considers the Texas Governor, "a regional candidate." What he wasn't able to map was "how much of the country" is included in that region! In other words, what states could he win, over and above the states that Romney's losing effort delivered?
There are signs that the Perry camp may be attempting to determine the boundaries of that map. Unlike Mitt Romney, Perry has drawn strong support from Hispanic voters. His 44% tally in the Texas 2010 Gubernatorial election should be remembered. This is almost certainly better than Scott Walker or Rand Paul would deliver!
Those close to the Governor will tell you that Perry has his own "Dream Act" on the drawing board. It will almost certainly be "left" of Tom Tancredo's "unconditional deportation for all," much to the chagrin of those on the far right of the issue. Many recall how Perry was "booed" at a Tea Party sponsored debate when he defended the Texas legislature's near unamimous approval to waive out-of-state tuition requirements for children of illegal aliens.
Immigration reform is actually not the most pressing issue for Latin surnamed Americans, according to some the latest research. Firmly ahead are both "the economy and jobs" and "currency stability." Perry is clearly riding point on both.
As one Perry supporter concluded, "Dan Patrick talks about an "invasion from the south." Not only is it antagonistic, it's ignorant!Immigration reform doesn't translate to "how to get around the law!" It about fixing a broken system. And, to suggest that this is Hispanics' only interest, is insulting, if not demeaning! It's like Democrats insinuation that women vote solely on, "reproductive rights."
Colorado is one of the more heavily female states, percentage of population wise. It is also taking the lead on recreational Marijuana development. And it is 18% Hispanic. At first glance, it would appear destined for the "blue" column.
Could Perry's recent advocation of "decriminalization" have anything to do with this? Perry also cited Marijuana as a "state issue," in accordance with the 10th amendment. Both positions were noted by Rocky Mountain state residents.
New Mexico is 47% Hispanic. Nevada is 25%. Both have Hispanic Republican Governors.
Unlike Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, the majority of Florida's Hispanic population(27% of the state's total) is not Mexican. Most hail from Carribean, Central and South America nations, as well as a large percentage from Europe. Sunshine state insiders predict that Perry would need to do as well as Jeb Bush did with these voters to win Florida.
Marco Rubio could make an impact with all four states if he were Perry's running mate. While some Republican "birthers" might howl, a predictable sequence of outcomes will unfold.
(a) Florida goes from "toss-up," to "leaning Republican."
(b) Nevada goes from "toss-up, slight leaning Democrat" to "toss-up,slightly leaning Republican."
(c) New Mexico goes from "leaning Democrat" to "toss-up."
(d) Colorado goes from "toss-up, slightly leaning Democrat" to "toss-up, slightly leaning Republican."
Florida is an easy read! Rubio is loved by the large Cuban population and admired by practically all of the state's Hispanic voters. Jeb Bush would endorse the ticket. While there are deep enclaves of Democrat voters within the state, it would be difficult to win if they tallied less than half of Florida's Hispanic votes.
Perry's position on Marijuana almost certainly neutralized some down votes in Colorado! Rubio would be of help with many of the "low interest" voters. In the 2010 Florida Senate election, he received 58% of the "female under 40" vote. A similar outcome would push the state solidly in the "red" column.
Nevada will be close. But Perry's staunch "10ther posture" should pay dividends with the recreation community. Rubio actually lived in the Silver state. Childhood accounts of his life as the "son of a bartender and a hotel maid," will resonate with Nevada's Hispanic community.
Like Florida, Nevada and Colorado, New Mexico last was carried by a Republican in 2004. Where Perry might receive as much as 40-45% of the Hispanic vote in the "Land of Enchantment," Rubio could push it above 50%. Without question, he could articulate the Republican alternative as well as anyone in America. Especially on Spanish language television and radio.
The message would be simple: "Perry's economic report card and the record of job creation in neighboring Texas can work for the entire country."
To the surprise of many, "unconditional amnesty" is not supported by the majority of Hispanics. In fact, it's disdained! Marco Rubio would expertly compare Perry's plan to Democrats and in doing so, dismiss any and all reservations that might be held toward the Republican alternative.
The "grand counterpunch" would amount to Obama's anemic economy with the promise of "more of the same," from his successor. New Mexico is a poor state. Many New Mexicans have relatives living south of the border. The idea of a hidden Democrat plan to devalue the currency as a deficit reduction measure, could be masterfully presented by Rubio. The specter of inflation and subsequent currency devaluation has haunted generations of Hispanics.
All intangibles suggest that this Republican ticket would do no worse than a "split" of the Hispanic vote in all four states. It might yield a majority! Yet, merely a "split" would be a disaster for Democrats!
Thus, by recovering Colorado,Florida,New Mexico and Nevada, the electoral count would climb to 252, assuming that the states won in '12 stay home! That is still 18 votes short. But, it should answer the original question, "is Rick Perry electable?"
From Democrats perspective, this scenario represents an electoral problem. Even if they managed to hang on to Ohio, Republicans could clinch the Presidency by winning Virginia and Iowa. Both states have heavy Evangelical numbers. Unlike Mitt Romney, Perry would be able to mobilize them.
Ultimately it will come down to the GOP's ability to win those four key swing states. Jeb Bush might win them. Many would argue that both Rubio and Ted Cruz could win all four. Could we say the same for any of the other potential suitors?
So, is Rick Perry electable? Perhaps the better question is, "is any candidate more electable than Rick Perry?"
The country appears to be burned out on Bushes! At best, Jeb would have a difficult time uniting the base. This is Perry's strongest suit. The Tea Party will turnout. The Establishment will open up their coffers. The religious right will mobilize.
Marco Rubio will turn 43 in May. As Perry's running mate, he would bring Immigrants and Millennials to the party. He would likewise be positioning himself for a future Presidential run. His being on the bottom of the ticket could translate to "two or three" percentage points in the Republicans favor.
Unlike Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz was not born in the United States. This essentially precludes him from the Presidency.
When evaluating the question of "electability," it becomes fairly subjective and opinionated. Perhaps a more productive question would be that of voting practices. Do we really trust these machines? And what about photo I.D. cards? How are they "discriminatory?"
Then there are the debates! Are we certain that it is necessary to even have them? Based on the past two elections, the big winner was the media. Republicans have been far too agreeable on moderator selector. Not to mention debate sponsors!
It would appear that these issues should be on the top of Republican "wish" lists. Regarding electability, the first consideration should be "which candidate will be most effective if elected President?"
Should the conversation go there, the original question will return:
"Why not forgo the primary and ask Governor Perry to be the Republican nominee?"
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