Supporters of President Barack Obama believe that the nation isn’t ready for a far-right-wing, conservative president to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and they’re scrambling at the opportunity to face off against the likes of Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum or Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Forget ever seeing Bachmann or Santorum take the presidential oath of office. It would be dangerous and foolish, however, for anyone to suggest that Perry has no shot at winning the GOP nomination and beating Obama in November 2012.
There is little doubt that the last thing many Americans want to hear is about the possibility of a Texas governor again taking charge of the White House. After the giant mess President George W. Bush left when he exited after eight years — two wars, a huge deficit and a porous economy — it’s not even safe to tell many folks you’re from Texas!
But when times are so tough and the economy is reeling from lots of bad news every day, any incumbents will face an uphill climb in their bids to stay in office. And that opens the door for the opposition.
What makes Perry attractive as a candidate is that he doesn’t really appeal to just one base of the GOP. First, he aligns closely with Christian conservatives. After hearing plenty of top Republicans decry that base’s social agenda, many felt as though the party they had empowered for three decades was jilting them. Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping and John Huntsman’s too-moderate tone turns social conservatives off, and for them, a Perry candidacy would be a welcome development.
When Perry joins the race on Saturday, he will immediately become their number-one choice. Santorum has done everything to sound like Rev. Pat Robertson, but even his most ardent supporters surely know he can’t win.
So, Perry will satisfy the desires of social conservatives, and then he can appeal to the economic wing of the party. Various reports have suggested that the Texas economy is not as vibrant as Perry would like, but with 500,000 folks moving to the state annually, expect him to sound like Michael Dukakis did in 1988, when he trumpeted the Massachusetts Miracle.
Perry’s entrance into the race will also show a tremendous contrast with Romney, who is even less appealing on the campaign trail than Vice President Al Gore. Perry will hit the stage in his Texas cowboy boots, flash the smile that suburban Republican women pine for, and succeed like a madman at retail politics. And while he’ll be vibrant and charismatic, Romney will look as if he’s stuck in place.
By no means does any of this guarantee that Perry will waltz into the nomination. Like every candidate, he has to run to win, and it will not be easy.
But for all the liberals who keep saying that Perry would be a godsend and for those who call him a phony and say he’s not as intelligent as Obama: Just remember what was said about then-Gov. George W. Bush in 2000. And remember how sick the left was to see him sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States.
Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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