“I have three reasons for being President, but I can only remember two… “
It looks like we are shaping up for a summer of Blockbusters and sequels. The field of Republican Presidential hopefuls for 2016 seems to grow by the day and the clown car is getting rather full.
There has been an almost endless stream of articles in newpapers and blog sites this week on how the entry of ex Gov Rick Perry to the GOP race has “energised the campaign” “lifted the Republican’s cause” and how he, Perry, sees himself as the answer to a Republican maidens prayer, what with those chiselled western looks, that outdoor Texan tan, his robust attitude to budgets and so on.
However, I just don’t think the hype is justified and there are three reasons why I come to this conclusion.
First. In America’s presidential race, Oligarchy still plays a part in the choice of candidates for President. Of the 43 Presidents (it is 43 not 44 because Grover Cleveland served two non- consecutive terms) 27 are related by blood marriage or adoption. A really good way of rating a candidate’s chances of either the selection for the party nomination or, thereafter in the election as President, is bet on the guy with the most oligarchical connections. In the GOP nomination race that candidate is still Jeb Bush as he has the greatest genetic connections to Presidents and other high office holders.
True, Perry is a fifth generation Texan. However he is not well connected. His line is that of tenant farmers, far removed from the likes of say Romney.
Not that being a non Oligarch rules one out of the race. Far from it. Bill Clinton and Reagan were both outsiders whose brilliance brought them through to being President. But, and it is a huge but, you need to be an exceptional candidate to overcome the oligarch hurdle and both Clinton and Reagan were gifted communicators who could speak to and for an entire nation. Which brings us to problem number two.
Second. Perry is a stumblebum interviewee. Certainly Perry can make a speech. His set piece stuff does look very good, when he is standing in front of an autocue. Stunts like calling the Federal Reserve “traitors”, and showing a general antipathy to refuges or migrant workers as marauding hordes of brown skinned narco-terrorists goes down well in certain quarters. However when it comes to being interviewed on matters of policy Perry is far less assured. Indeed he can be pure comedy gold. Take for instance the Youtube clip on the subject of sexual abstinence before marriage. The subject itself is not important to my argument but that’s not actually the point. It’s his appallingly incoherent and inarticulate responses that should worry Republicans. In this he resembles way too closely George Bush which is bad news, because if he makes it to the election he is directly up against Hillary Clinton in live debates where Hillary is far more articulate and confident as an ad hoc speaker. Hillary, whatever you may think of her, is an assured act, calm, oiled and confident where Perry can appear leaden footed, poorly briefed, fumbling for an answer and amateurish.
Still, there is definite step change in Perry’s style (Albeit it there is now a hint of Stanley Baxter to him). Solid and careful, his cowboy boots replaced with shoes, he now sports dark framed “hipster” smart boy glasses and dare we say it out loud – could that be a hint of hair plugs?
Third. Perry is Texan, verbally challenged and a poor orator. Remind you of anyone? Yes he is way too much like GW. Now that might play well in South Carolina but other states may be thinking they had rather too much of this before. He is too much just another Republican suit, too much just another of those Republicans that dropped the economy over the cliff, too much one of the Republicans who got us all in this mess. Bear in mind if you want a Texan, Jeb Bush is still around as is Cruz. And an extreme Bush-like GOP candidate may prove easier to defeat than a Romney moderate. High taxes for the poor and low taxes for the rice may not be much of a vote winner this time round, and his views on gay marriage and other matters like intervening in the independence of the Federal Reserve have become toxic might alienate too many who might be persuaded to a Romney-esq candidate.
Perry is also presently indicted on two counts of felony, specifically for abuse of official ca-pacity and coercion of a public servant. If found guilty he could be in line for a maximum of 109 years in prison. Even allowing for the almost certainty that these will disappear it’s not a great image if cartoonists latch onto it at every chance.
What might be interesting, though vanishingly unlikely, would be a Perry/ Michele Bachmann ticket where Bachmann’s homey clumsiness may be more clever than it might seem
And to think Rich Hall does this sort of stuff for fun.
Yep, there’s only one duck in this story and he’s Rick Perry – the dead one.
Copyright David Macadam 2015