In the last few weeks I have spent a fair bit of time talking about a candidate who I can't support - Ron Paul. While I still haven't made any decisions about which candidate I CAN support, even for the GOP primary, I figured I should at least do my due diligence and read up on some of the "other guys." Today is Rick Perry's lucky day...
James Richard Perry, governor of Texas since the last governor of Texas moved to the White House. What is true about him and what is hype? How damaging is the fact that he used to be a Democrat? The fact that he (gasp) publicly denies Anthropogenic Global Warming (man made climate change)? His willingness to attend prayer meetings? The fact that he was a Texas A&M Yell Leader (read: male cheerleader) and therefore not invited to Old Home Week at the Ivy Leagues?
Last Friday I went out with my three-year-old, Evie, who desperately wanted "a haircut from the haircut store." While I was waiting for the stylist to give her a trim, I happened on a copy of Time Magazine that included an article entitle "The Rise of Perry." It discussed the years he spent on the family farm, his time at Texas A&M, flying planes in the Air Force, and beyond. The article itself is worth a read even if you don't like the guy, because it approaches him with a non-partisan view that is refreshing in any of today's media outlets. The crux of the presentation? "Rick Perry is the sort of Republican who convenes prayer rallies, scoffs at Global Warming, and says of evolution, 'There are some holes in that theory...'"
As for the skeletons in his closet, well, he has definitely been upfront about exposing them himself. He explained away his previous ties to former Vice President and Global Warming "enthusiast" Al Gore by saying, "We parted ways. I found God. It seems he went off the deep end." He was more than ready at the Tea Party debate to address his own mistakes concerning the HPV vaccine mandate. Again from the Time Magazine article, in reference to his mistakes, he said the following: "America needs a decisive leader. I make decisions. Sometimes I make wrong decisions, and when I do I will admit to that. But the American people will never wonder where I stand on an issue."
What intrigues me the most about Rick Perry is his record. He has been through just about every type of election there is - the landslide, the squeaker, the upset - and he has not lost yet. He has earned a reputation for being a politician's politician, meaning that he is willing to get his hands dirty to get what he wants: in this case, the Presidency. While some prefer their candidates to take the high road, it's an unfortunate fact that many Republicans lose - and lose badly - because they are either unable or unwilling to play the game as well as the other guy. It's great to have the winning solutions and to have truth on your side, but you cannot also be unwilling to shout from the roof tops that the other guy has it all wrong. Rick Perry doesn't seem to have a problem with that, and I like seeing that kind of fight in someone who is on my side.
What clinched it for me today was Rick Perry's "President Zero" ad, which I finally got the chance to watch. (You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EL5Atp_vF0) One part Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America," one part realistic look at the Obama Presidency, two parts unvarnished truth, two parts American exceptionalism and pride, and all parts AWESOME. (I won't lie, the unadulterated patriotism that bleeds through the last 30 seconds of that ad nearly brought tears.) Folks, whether you love Rick Perry or you hate him, there is no denying that this ad represents the type of campaign needed to bring down the mammoth.
I for one, am going to thoroughly enjoy watching what Rick Perry does next. Especially if he keeps his attacks so focused and spot-on.