Rick Perry's Texas Fantasyland

Rick Perry's Texas is a job-makin', low-taxin' oasis of economic growth. It's also a fantasy.

Stanford calls that lousy governing. But he says it can also be "a great way to do a campaign." He says Perry's style—grand gestures, few details—is the right kind of theater for an election.

"You surprise everyone. Everyone's looking at you. You own an idea." That's just how Perry rolls, Stanford suggests. "He likes surprising people with big ideas."

On the campaign trail, Perry still has the gestures and body language of the handsome country bumpkin who was elected a yell leader at Texas A&M in 1970. A&M, newly coed, was still more military academy than college when Perry, a poor ranch boy from a flyspeck town 180 miles west of Dallas, showed up in 1968 wearing shirts, pants, and underwear sewn by his seamstress mother.

Zuma Press
Weinstein: Perry has been “a good steward of Texas values.”
Zuma Press
Weinstein: Perry has been “a good steward of Texas values.”

Yell leaders then, as now, were more like orchestra conductors than cheerleaders, directing the A&M bleachers at football games in "army yells" communicated by coded hand signals. It's an elective post, a popularity contest that garners twice the voter turnout as the school's election for student-body president.

Watch Perry's appearance on The Daily Show from last November, and you'll see him wrest the audience away from host Jon Stewart at key moments, with sly grins sidelong to the peanut gallery and, yes, even a hand signal or two. The man does know crowds.

"What he has more than anything else is street smarts," says Colbert, the education consultant and former legislator. "What he has is an ability to be able to judge people for what it is that's important to them. How can I make them my friend? In all sorts of ways, that's a very, very important skill to have, and if you happen to be in politics, it's one of the most vital skills you can have."

He's particularly adept at picking up on and hooking into important underlying themes in public sentiment long before other politicians get a clue, Colbert says.

"He sees it. He runs in front of it, and regardless of whatever his underlying stuff may be, he will do what he needs to do to stay on top of that wave rather than have the wave roll over him and crush him," Colbert says. "He's a good surfer."

That's exactly what Stanford says he saw Perry do to Kay Bailey Hutchison when he beat her in the 2010 Republican primary. In April of that year, when country-club Bush Republicans were still looking down their noses at the Tea Party, Perry spotted what Stanford calls "the simple campaign algebra" and ran with it.

"He's down by a couple dozen points against this really popular lady," Stanford remembers. "He figures his only chance really is to say she's Washington. And then suddenly the pitchfork crowd comes up and says, 'We hate Washington.'"

Stanford says Perry's quick response was: "'Oh cool, here's my army. I shall lead them.'"

"Before any politician in the country was willing to talk to the Tea Party," he says, "he spoke to three of their rallies in one day. He was the only guy in the country. He saw the train coming down the tracks that he knew he'd have to take."

To these personal gifts, another important asset must be added: a campaign staff so brilliant it's already being studied by political scientists across the country. In his book excerpt "Rick Perry and His Eggheads," journalist Sasha Issenberg explains how the Perry gubernatorial campaign in 2010 allied with a team of political scientists from Yale, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Maryland.

And then there's the pure weirdness of Texas and Perry's ability to exploit it. Stanford says Perry has whipped a succession of candidates who might have been smarter than he was about the world because Perry was smarter than they were about Texas.

"Rick Perry always knew that to be Texas governor, first in the voters' eyes, you had to be Texas," Stanford says. "He did an ad campaign, 'I'm proud of Texas, how about you?' If you're attacking Rick Perry, you're attacking Texas. He always sets it up that way."

Perhaps the last question, then, is whether being proud of Texas can get Perry elected president.

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13 comments
Crazyyy_Girls_90
Crazyyy_Girls_90

@money......This is crаzy...Sistеr's girlfriеnd mаkes 73 hоurly оn the PC. Shе hаs bееn firеd frоm wоrk fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth her pаychеck wаs 7756 USD just wоrking on thе PC for a fеw hоurs. Rеаd аbоut it on this wеb sitе......http://alturl.com/nguui

Mr B
Mr B

Significantly, TexASS and AlASSka are the two biggest welfare receiving states in the Union. Naturally, both are Republican.

Perry objected to President Obama's stimulus program but eagerly took a huge check from the Federal government in order to lessen the state's deficit. But anyone who knows Repukeblican politricks would not be surprised at that.

Community Organizer
Community Organizer

I find it impressive that Gov. Rick Perry can somehow convince people to get off their azz and go to work for low pay, rather than just remain at home collecting welfare at taxpayers expense.

Well Done!

Shaun Costello
Shaun Costello

PERRY AND GOP HOPEFULS CRAWL ON KNEES BEFORE RELIGIOUS FANATICS - BEGGING FOR APPROVALIt's a sad commentary to the state of our Republic, that these GOP Presidential hopefuls feel the need to come crawling before a gathering of Evangelicals in the hope of gaining approval and support. Evangelicals, most of whom seem to have one foot in a staight jacket, have taken over the selection process for the Republican Party. This is exactly the kind of political mayhem that Jefferson warned us about, and took action to prevent. The nominee of the Republican Party has to cowtow to religious fanatics in order to get nominated. The Evangelical agenda includes; the reversal of Roe v Wade, prayer in public schools, the end of stem cell research, making homosexuality a crime, and legislating a National Religion - theirs. Oh, and influencing Cabinet appointments. For Secretary of State - how about Robert Tilton, or Jimmy Swaggert, or Pat Robertson, whichever one of them isn't under current indictment for tax fraud. The clock is ticking for the Christian Storybook. Only right wing America takes them seriously. The rest of the world is laughing.Read this:http://shauncostello.wordpress...

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

I don't feel Perry will make it....from what I can tell, the GOP has two "finisher" candidates, one they want, the other the base wants. The Central Committee's man is Mitt Romney; the average GOPster seems to want Ron Paul. We will see if the "Paultards" win.

All that written, this is a good article on how much of a BS artist Rick Perry is, and how Texas is trying to catch up to California.

mrearlygold
mrearlygold

perry is just another necon scumbag.

Vote Ron Paul in 2012 or more of the same. If you like what the country has become elect another democrat or republican. If you desire real freedom and real opportunities, rally behind Ron Paul who is as close to a founding father as we're ever going to see. Time is running out!

DonnaThompson
DonnaThompson

..........I can't believe....My best friend's mom makes $77 an hour on

the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month

her check was $5487 just working on the computer for a few hours.

Read about it here CashMany.com .......

Debra2
Debra2

Well... some GENERAL comments...I didn't vote in the last general election. I decided that the American public was not voting for a president ; it was choosing a King.Barack certainly got that feeling too, given the way he has been behaving recently.In about ten years of work against the death penalty, I noticed that increasingly, the FEDERAL courts were bending farther and farther backwards to insist on STATE'S RIGHTS.After a while, the inevitable conclusion is that the union has fallen apart, is falling apart ?When you're IN THE MIDDLE OF IT, just how do you know ??I call the country "the disunited states" these days. Rick Perry is championing a bunch of disgruntled people (but shouldn't we ALL be disgruntled these days, the decadence goes far beyond American borders, you know, to touch Western civilization as a whole) who somewhat confusedly perceive that the long, slow rise of scientific rationalism that began during the Renaissance has FINALLY run out of steam, and is not FUELING our desire for hope/faith now. It has petered out.It kind of puts things into perspective when you try to remember that the U.S. was founded as a European UTOPIAN experiment. The United States was SUPPOSED to be pie in the sky. If that isn't a Messianic proposition, I don't know what is.I can forgive Rick Perry for sounding irrational these days when it is hard to know which side is up in our culture.As for the jobs... when the Industrial Revolution got revving, there were small numbers of people in England who RIGHTLY perceived that those AUTOMATIC machines would destroy work that would probably NOT BE REPLACED. They were called Luddites, and THEY started destroying the machines. They were brutally repressed.MORE JOBS for MORE PEOPLE is part of the underlying expansionist logic that fuels the consumer/industrial society.We need NEW ATTITUDES towards work, and the lack of it at the time.We need to think beyond that old Protestant work ethic that was part of our utopian identity.CAN WE DO IT ? ....

Guest
Guest

I double-posted THAT?

Alexgunther
Alexgunther

Democrats who can't find anything good about our current situation in this country have no other choice but to try and convince everyone that the presidential options for 2012 are ......gasp! Even worse! you chose Obama, he lives in a fantasy land that is drowning in more debt with less jobs than 3 years ago!

Joseph
Joseph

Refuting the economists professors claim that Texas is business friendly with uncredited statements like "Does saying that Texas is "business-friendly" mean the state is unlike the rest of the country in some significant way, something important enough to make Texas more prosperous than America? Academic studies and the testimony of people involved in shaping the state's economy say no." makes this article come off like a hit piece.

President Perry
President Perry

Texas is a fantasyland because we seceded from Heaven. We're goin' back soon as the oil runs out. @PresPerry

 
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