Rick Perry Wasn’t Kidding. He’s Really Thinking About 2016

The Texas governor is studying up on foreign policy, running ads critical of Washington, and planning a trip to Iowa.

Texas Governor Rick Perry arrives for a press conference on the sidelines of the Republican Party's State Party Convention in Anaheim, California, on October 4, 2013. More than 1,000 party activists and leaders are expected to attend the three-day convention.  
National Journal
Beth Reinhard
Oct. 16, 2013, 6 a.m.

When Rick Perry hin­ted in Ju­ly at an­oth­er pres­id­en­tial bid, it seemed like a fresh “oops” mo­ment for the one-time con­tender whose de­bate blun­der be­came a meta­phor for his hap­less cam­paign. Turns out he wasn’t kid­ding.

This week, Perry is try­ing to hone his for­eign policy cre­den­tials in vis­its to Lon­don and Is­rael. He’s also star­ring in a na­tion­al ad­vert­ising cam­paign that seeks to cap­it­al­ize on in­creas­ing pub­lic dis­gust with Con­gress by de­rid­ing Wash­ing­ton grid­lock and tout­ing con­ser­vat­ive gov­ernors.

The tele­vi­sion ad and the over­seas trip are sponsored by Perry’s new non-profit, Amer­ic­ans for Eco­nom­ic Free­dom, which will al­low him to travel and pro­mote his eco­nom­ic re­cord as he weighs a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign.

“Wash­ing­ton needs to change. But the pres­id­ent keeps play­ing polit­ics,” Perry says in the spot. “Con­ser­vat­ive gov­ernors are re­form­ing taxes and reg­u­la­tions, help­ing small busi­nesses grow, cut­ting and bal­an­cing budgets.”

Next up: Perry re­traces his steps to the state that holds the first nom­in­at­ing caucus, with a speech to the Polk County Re­pub­lic­an Party in Iowa on Nov. 7.

“He’s act­ively con­sid­er­ing it, and I think he’s the most un­der­rated pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate who could win,” said Henry Bar­bour, an ex­ec­ut­ive com­mit­tee mem­ber of the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee and the neph­ew of former RNC chair­man Haley Bar­bour.

Perry’s last run star­ted strong but began to un­ravel quickly after a no­tori­ous, clumsy mis­take in one of the 2011 Re­pub­lic­an primary de­bates, when he couldn’t re­call the third fed­er­al agency he would elim­in­ate if elec­ted. The im­pres­sion of a cam­paign simply un­pre­pared for the na­tion­al stage stuck, lead­ing many Re­pub­lic­ans to as­sume he couldn’t pos­sibly be ser­i­ous about run­ning again.

But, re­mem­ber that every GOP nom­in­ee since Ron­ald Re­agan ex­cept George W. Bush had run be­fore and failed. Con­sider that the gov­ern­ment shut­down has con­vinced many Re­pub­lic­ans that their next nom­in­ee will not come from Wash­ing­ton. (Al­though Perry is un­likely to be the only gov­ernor in the mix; Chris Christie of New Jer­sey, Bobby Jin­dal of Louisi­ana, and Scott Walk­er of Wis­con­sin are also po­ten­tial 2016 con­tenders.)

The un­der­pin­ning of Perry’s next cam­paign would be the con­trast between his suc­cess at re­cruit­ing com­pan­ies to Texas and the Wash­ing­ton dys­func­tion that has shuttered the gov­ern­ment and pushed the na­tion to­ward de­fault.

“It’s al­ways dif­fi­cult to make a second first im­pres­sion, but if things con­tin­ue to un­ravel in Wash­ing­ton, Gov. Perry’s mes­sage would be very ap­peal­ing,” said Dave Car­ney, a seni­or ad­viser to Perry’s 2012 cam­paign. “The ques­tion is wheth­er he’ll be able to get new folks to re­place donors who feel they’ve been there, done that, and I’m sure that’s part of his ef­fort of go­ing around the coun­try.”

The head of the new non-profit, Jeff Miller, is a ma­jor Re­pub­lic­an fun­draiser from Cali­for­nia who has re­lo­cated to Aus­tin and be­come one of Perry’s closest polit­ic­al ad­visers. In an ef­fort to bet­ter school him­self in do­mest­ic and for­eign policy, Perry has vis­ited the Hoover In­sti­tu­tion, a Cali­for­nia-based con­ser­vat­ive think tank, and huddled with former Sec­ret­ary of State Henry Kis­sing­er at his New York City of­fice. He already looks smarter; The New Re­pub­licob­served he’s been wear­ing “hip­ster-pro­fess­or­i­al glasses” in re­cent pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

“He’s not just sur­round­ing him­self with the good ol’ boys who ran his cam­paigns for gov­ernor and then ran his cam­paign for pres­id­ent with the same ar­rog­ance that a lot of in­cum­bents run with,” said Cali­for­nia-based Re­pub­lic­an con­sult­ant Bob Schu­man, who backed Perry in 2012. “I think at the end of the day, he’ll be a ser­i­ous pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate.”

One of the most ob­vi­ous chal­lenges for Perry if he de­cides to run will be rais­ing enough money to fuel a na­tion­al cam­paign. This time he’ll be do­ing it from out­side the gov­ernor’s man­sion and try­ing to con­vince sup­port­ers who in­ves­ted in him be­fore that he’s worth the risk. Perry came in fifth place in the Iowa caucus and sixth in the New Hamp­shire primary. He vowed to com­pete in South Car­o­lina but ul­ti­mately dropped out be­fore the vote.

“Among most of the people I’ve talked to who were big fun­ders last time, there’s dis­be­lief that he’s really go­ing to run again,” said Re­pub­lic­an con­sult­ant Barry Ben­nett, who ad­vised a su­per PAC that backed Perry’s 2012 bid. “The cam­paign came on so strong and then it was so cata­stroph­ic. It’s not like he ran a good race and fin­ished second.”

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
23 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×