This past weekend Conservatives attending the Red State Convention heard from both Texas Governor, Rick Perry and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The looming question is "will one or both throw their hat into the 2016 Presidential ring.
Both are Republicans. Both hail from Texas. Both are classified as "Conservatives." From there the similarities become more vague. The most important consideration amounts to "readiness" to step in and effectively take the reins of a troubled nation.
Ted Cruz is simply not ready to be President. From an ideology perspective, he says all of the right things. But, he lacks Executive experience. Also remaining are questions revolving around Cruz' "conservative orientation."
We know that he worked on Dubya's election campaigns, which isn't a problem. But, didn't he support Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial primary? We know that Perry supported David Dewhurst in the 2012 Senate primary. So what's the deal?
Whether you like Perry or not, you know what you are getting. He is a "Constitutional Conservative." His beliefs are "Jeffersonian." In essence, "low taxes, limited government, and more power to the individual states."
While a good man, George W. Bush, like his dad and his brother are "New Conservatives." Neo-Cons support pre-emptive wars, international peace treaties, favor big government, and have strong CFR ties. Is Cruz a "Constitionalist" like Perry, or a "Neo-Con" like the Bushes?
There is also the question of how either would perform in the general election. Many "blue blood" Republicans look down their noses at Perry. He is a graduate of Texas A & M. The last President who did not hail from an Ivy League school was Ronald Reagan.
Cruz is both a Princeton and Harvard graduate. His academic achievements have drawn accolades from both Republicans and Democrats. Unlike Perry, who is fifth generation Texan, Cruz was born in Canada.
Some Republicans, especially those from the Northeast, simply don't totally trust Perry. He was, after all, a Democrat. In fact, he was the Texas campaign manager for Al Gore's failed 1988 Presidentional campaign. Perry insiders are quick to say, "how Gore's political views changed dramatically" between 1988 and 2000.
Also, brushed under the Rug by Democrats is the fact that Perry broke rank and voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and Bush the Elder in 1988.. He was one of the millions of "Reagan Democrats," who were referred to as "Boll Weevils" in the late eighties.
Perry greatly angered Texas Democrats when he refused to endorse the Dukakis-Benson ticket. Following the election, he left the party, returning home to Paint Creek to assist his father on the farm. It was there that he was recuited by Karl Rove to switch parties and challenge Democrat incumbent, Jim Hightower for Commissioner of Agriculture.
Perry has been Governor of Texas 14 years. He also served two years as Lt. Governor and eight years as Commissioner of Agriculture. Yet, his time as a farmer and as an Air Force Captain spans longer than that!
Cruz is a different generation. At this point, he is as untested as Barack Obama was in 2008. While an excellent debator and "rabble rouser," Republicans still do not know what they are truly getting.
Odds are, the Democrat opponent will be Hillary Clinton. Clinton has no record to run on. But, she will have a massive war chest. This translates to a "scare campaign" against a supposed "right wing ideologue." Like Rand Paul, Cruz is the ideal opponent to demagogue, thanks to a comparitively "thin resume."
Perry has a "thick resume." He could easily turn the campaign into "what I have accomplished as Governor of Texas" and "what you have failed to accomplish in every post that you have held.." This would not bode well for Democrats!
Cruz could greatly help Perry mobilize Tea Party voters. But his chances of beating Clinton in a general electon would be minimal. Perry can, at least, turn the election into a "report card" campaign; his versus Hillary's. He can accurately position himself as the "Washington outsider."
Much, if not most of America is disgusted with Washington. Yet, they have learned that "a fresh face" can have consequences if that "face" lacks the necessary seasoning.
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