GOP field taking shape for 2016


You can now — it appears — count lame-duck Texas Gov. Rick Perry as an unofficially official candidate for president in 2016.

Oh, boy! This is going to be fun.

Perry is courting wealthy Texas political donors, holding out his hand, polishing his message, showing off his new self and getting ready to make yet another run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Politico reports he has some company among those looking for that Texas largesse. It consists of a fellow Texan, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and a former Texan whose family is well-known around here, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Frankly, the Perry-Cruz competition for the GOP nomination — if it materializes — could prove to be the most fascinating political drama I’ve ever seen. I’m not crazy about either of them. I’ll give credit where it’s due, though: Cruz muscled his way onto the national stage instantly after winning the Senate seat in 2012 while Perry has demonstrated — despite his sometimes prickly public persona — to be a powerful vote-getter in Texas.

The dance they’ll engage in will involve both of them trying to outflank each other on the right, where they’ve both staked out some sizable territory of their own already. One of them — or maybe both — might fall of the stage.

Despite what you might have read about Cruz’s relationship with the so-called “mainstream liberal media,” they love each other. Cruz loves the attention the media give him and the media love him because he is so damn quotable. Perry’s relationship with the Texas media has been rocky at times, particularly since his notable absence from any editorial board interviews during his 2010 campaign for re-election as governor. But he’s burnishing that part of his dossier now as well.

Then there’s Jeb. His last name counts for something in Texas, even if it isn’t worth squat anywhere else. He’s the son and brother of two former presidents, one of whom is held in increasingly high regard (that would be Poppy), the other is, well, still trying to reconstruct his legacy. Jeb Bush, though, is smooth, moderate (by comparison to Perry and Cruz), articulate and marketable among Latino Republicans, given that his wife is Latina and one of his sons, George P. Bush, is about to become Texas land commissioner.

Perry’s 2012 effort fell flat. He’s hoping for a different result this time around. As Politico reports: “’If Gov. Perry is going to run, he’s going to be better prepared, and he’s going to have the resources necessary to compete,’ said Henry Barbour, a Republican national committeeman who is helping plan for a Perry 2016 campaign and organizing next week’s donor sessions.”

So, here we go. Hold on. It’ll be fun … I hope.



Leave a Reply