Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch......

When politicians are making announcements these days, it typically fuels speculation on how it will impact the 2014 elections. But a certain press conference Monday afternoon could also have ramifications for 2016.

Gov. Rick Perry will not seek reelection, he announced to about 200 supporters and the media in a humid warehouse at the country's largest Caterpillar dealership Monday afternoon.

“I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs,” he said. “I make this announcement with a deep sense of humility and deep appreciation, and knowing I will truly miss serving in this capacity, because it is the greatest job in modern politics.”

Perry has literally been the only Texas governor this millennia. When his predecessor George W. Bush was elected President in 2000, Perry, who was elected Lt. Governor in 1998, was then promoted to Texas's top executive. He then was reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Perry said he'll enjoy serving the remainder of his term through 2014, adding, “Until I leave this office, I will continue working hard to do what's best for Texas.” He did not say whether he'd make another presidential bid after his 2012 attempt failed.

Upon announcing he was entering the presidential race in August 2011, Perry became an instant frontrunner in the eyes of GOP supporters due to his fiscal and social conservatism. Unfortunately, his campaign fizzled within a couple of months due to his attempted Gardasil mandate as governor as well as lackluster debate performances (some have attributed said performances to fatigue in his recovery from back surgery a few months earlier). The latter proved to be a death knell with his infamous memory lapse regarding the third agency of government he vowed to shut down if elected President. In 2012, Perry needed to distinguish himself from another former governor of Texas -- George W. Bush. However, his "oops" moment in that November 2011 debate only galvanized that comparison. In '16, he'll once again have to make a distinction from a former chief executive of the Lone Star state -- himself.

Some have speculated that Perry not seeking reelection is a strategic move in the sense it opens up another channel of fundraising, i.e. Wall Street. In a Roll Call piece (h/t Benjy Sarlin) written a month after Perry entered the '12 Presidential race, they raised the issue of finance-sector employees being able to donate to Perry's campaign. 

The federal rules penalize certain investment advisers and municipal securities dealers who make campaign contributions to state officials running for federal office.

That was applicable to Perry two years ago because he was still a sitting governor. But when the next presidential race starts to get serious in mid-2015, Perry will no longer be a state official. Something to consider.

If I am to make a prediction, I say Perry, who will be age 66 the next time we elect a President, does not make a run for the White House in 2016. The GOP has a deep bench of young, talented potential candidates like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. I hope the party faithful has gotten past the "next in line" philosophy that resulted in the candidacies of Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney. I say focus on the young talent, especially if the Democrats go "old school" in the motif of Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. That indeed would be a welcome role reversal.


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