So Rick Perry of Texas announced his presidential bid today in South Carolina. The fact that he could win the GOP nomination sends chills down my spine. The guy is a dumber version of George W. Bush, without the ivy league pedigree and is MUCH crazier on social and religious issues. He mixes the worst aspects of America: radical Christianity with vulgar Texas populism bordering on talks of secession.
His supporters say that Perry would be a strong candidate because one-third of private sector jobs created in the U.S. since the economic crash have come from Texas. Although that's technically correct, giving Perry credit for that boom is rather dubious. First, the governorship of Texas is VERY weak, with little power to enact substantive changes. In this regard, it is totally different from the governorship of New Jersey, which provides tremendous executive power to the governor, something that has been used quite effectively by Chris Christie. Second, the Texas economic boom can almost be entirely attributed to the oil boom and increased defense spending since the Iraq War. These are factors that are totally beyond Perry's control.
Politically speaking, the GOP has a very good shot at beating Obama if they nominate a smart accomplished conservative like Huntsman or Romney, men who have serious private sector and executive experience (in the case of Huntsman, foreign policy credentials and a very impressive knowledge of China). Either of these men can make a strong case against Obama's destructive economic policies and his general lack of leadership. Perry, however, is an empty suit, who will get portrayed by Obama as a radical conservative who will take America back to the days of George W. Bush. Perry will be unable to win over independent moderate voters, especially college-educated white professionals in the suburbs. And young people and minorities will not vote for a radical Texas hillbilly. I fear that if the GOP goes with their feelings rather than their brains and nominate Perry, Obama will win a resounding victory and accelerate our nation's decline.