Texas Governor Rick Perry loves using California as a punching bag when touting his economic policies, but that isn’t stopping some Californians from encouraging him to run for the presidency.
Bob Schuman, a San Diego based GOP political consultant, filed paperwork with the IRS last week to start a 527 organization called Americans for Rick Perry (A4RP). Schuman is working with a very prominent Houston firm to, among other things, fundraise on Governor Perry’s behalf until he decides whether he’ll throw his hat into the ring. Schuman told Roll Call in a telephone interview that A4RP is hoping to raise $500,000 before August 1.
In addition to A4RP, California State Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Linda) is also intent on seeing Perry run. In a statement, Assemblyman Logue formally declared the formation of the Committee to Draft Texas Governor Rick Perry for President of the United States (CTDTGRP4POTUS). Fortunately, the domain name for the website Logue launched to garner support for the CTDTGRP4POTUS effort is easier to remember: http://www.draftperry2012.com.
Logue also appears to be building a voter database by asking site visitors to leave Perry their contact information along with a voice message. His colleagues in the State Assembly: Kevin Jeffries, Diane Harkey, Mike Morrell and Brian Jones are also associated with the movement.
So why are some Californians pushing for a Perry candidacy?
Well, it’s no secret that Republicans are dissatisfied with the current contenders. A poll commissioned by the Washington Post/Pew Research Center found that nearly four in ten Republicans and those who lean toward Republicans are unimpressed with the current presidential choices.
However, I think the key to California’s interest is found in Logue’s CTDTGRP4POUTS statement. In it Logue notes that while on a fact finding trip to Austin, he was informed that Texas had created hundreds of thousands of jobs during the recession while California had lost 1.2 million. Assemblyman Logue saw this as an indication that Governor Perry was doing something right.
He is correct. And it is difficult to see why other Californians wouldn’t agree.
The unemployment rate in Texas is 8%. It is still well above what economists define as “normal employment,” but 1.1 points below the national average, and 3.7 points below California’s dismal 11.7% rate.
Texas has also managed to attract corporations (read: create jobs) to the state during the downturn. According to Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 37% of net new American jobs created since the recovery began have been in Texas. Facebook and eBay are just two examples of prominent California companies that have chosen to expand in the Lonestar State. This fact that has not gone unnoticed by this California city.
To be sure, if Governor Perry does enter the race, his platform will be based on his economic achievements: job creation, low taxes, balanced budgets. In order for Perry’s message to resonate with voters, the U.S. economy must continue to downward spiral.
The unknown variable is whether or not it will. If it does, then President Obama will have secured for himself a starring role in the DC vs. Texas showdown that Perry’s camp will initiate. Obama will play the DC politician, and his failed economic policies will be portrayed as bloated and unemployed California.
On that note, people also associate Texas with President George W. Bush. This assumed connection frightens many would be supporters. The National Review’s Kevin Williamson attempted to calm those nerves in a recent profile. It’s definitely worth a read.
Obviously there will be a slew of non-economic issues on the table if Perry runs. Other than dipping his toe into the Rio Grande, the Governor has avoided international waters. His detractors will view this as a signal that he is weak on foreign policy. I do not believe that to be the case. Governor Perry, like all Texans, is Texas-centric. He does not tend to dabble in issues that don’t pertain to his state or agenda, which could explain why his resume is thin in that regard.
Perry’s book, “Fed up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington,” indicates that he will vehemently come out against Romneycare and Obamacare. I assume that Perry will acknowledge that the Massachusetts law was consistent with the principles of federalism, but that Obamacare was government overreach. If he promises to repeal the law, he will need to propose a remedy to cure the nation’s health care woes. He will also need to explain why one in four Texans is without health insurance.
Ultimately, before Americans head to ballot box or even leave a message for Perry on draftperry2012.com, they will compare their state’s policies to national ones. California’s: big government, excessive regulation, high taxes, and a lack of budgetary control are in-line with President Obama’s policies. They are also anti-Texas. A plus for Texas’ governor.