July 08, 2013

Adios, mofo

Yeah, we're saluting you good-bye, too.
Unfortunately, El Jefe Mofo, Rick Perry, by announcing he won't run for governor again, means that an even greater mofo, Greg Abbott, is likely to succeed him as governor in 18 months.

Seriously, who is going to challenge Abbott in the GOP primary? Lite Guv. David Dew-less got his hat handed to him by Ted Cruz, and isn't likely to tangle with somebody else who's a darling of the far right. The tea party types would also give Abbott a kudo for halfway announcing that he was running for gov well before Perry said he wouldn't.

Update, Dec. 30: The mofo is adiosing even as his "Texas Miracle" crumbles into dust.)

If not Dew-less, then who? Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson won't. Tom Pauken?  I had at first forgotten about him already being in this race, and that's because his was the first non-newspaper email blast I just got. The only other remote possibility is Dan Patrick switching races, which Abbott would love.

Either one of them, or even the two together. enough of a challenger to juice campaign fundraising efforts and sharpen up his campaign skills, while enough of a nutbar for Abbott to try to paint himself as a relative moderate going into the general election. Pauken,  or other "mosquitoes," will play Gary Mauro to George W. Bush in this race.

And, if Abbott's worried otherwise, as AG, he can always push for an investigation into Tricky Ricky's money laundering, aka the Texas Enterprise Fund, and thereby get further separation from Perry. (Which he won't; he's got too much skin staked to the ground in that game himself.)

So, no, Battleground Texas or Wendy Davis fans — don't think this is some sudden opportunity. Abbot might beat Davis MORE than Perry would have. So, focus long term and don't expect results statewide before 2020.

Would that it were different. Davis is more dynamic than either Bill White or Chris Bell, certainly a real Dem unlike Tony Sanchez (and more liberal than White), and has shown she can win over independent voters.

Speaking of ...

People who tout Davis' state senate results ignore that even if her district tilts Republican, it's still suburban Republican. In the less Austinized portions of the Hill Country, in the Piney Woods, in West Texas, that means bupkis. Sorry, folks but true.

And, now, back to Dudley Dewless.

Dewless is likely to lose the Lite Guvship to whichever far right challenger becomes most darling to the polloi. (I'm assuming, especially if Patrick stays in this race, it heads to a runoff.)

His best bet for remaining politically relevant would be to challenge Cornyn. If he doesn't, but decides to run for Lite Guv again, two straight campaign losses will make him irrelevant.

Isn't it about time we call him the Tom Dewey of Texas? Seriously, he's in a box.

True red wingnuts don't trust him, a true red wingnut, but a "moderate" one, is odds-on to become governor, multiple true red wingnuts have already filed for his current job, and even Big John Cornyn is at least modestly to moderately more wingnut-friendly than Dewless. But, primarying Cornyn seems the best of bad options.

Meanwhile: Tricky Ricky's next move?

Most likely is for him to form some sort of Super PAC, about the end of this year. Stay tuned. It would allow him to allegedly stay "focused on Texas" by exactly how he crafted the goals of the Super PAC, while if he said something about "spreading Texas (whatever, up to and including USDA Prime GOP bullshit)," still have the national focus angle. That's all he needs.

He'll get crushed again, of course. But, I expect him to run, and not just to buff over the image of 1, 2, 5, no 3 sir, and forgetting three in 2012.

He'll still be crushed, though.

In the last 25 years, he's run only two really competitive races, and those were at the start of his rise. First, in 1990, he beat Jim Hightower to move from the state senate to secretary of agriculture. Hightower had a few self-inflicted wounds, and also was the No. 1 most hated statewide Democratic officeholder in the GOP target crosshairs. Anybody running against him would have gotten extra GOP support.

Then, in 1998, he beat John Sharp by just a couple of percentage points in the race for lieutenant governor. And, has faced no serious opposition since then in Texas races.

And, although he'll never admit it, and although (due to name recognition difference) he allegedly was still strongly outpolling Abbott, that's at least part of why he didn't want to run for guv again. He knew Abbott had his number (beyond the fundraising one, though that was itself significant).

And, if you want wild hair out the ass speculation about what El Jefe Mofo will do? President, Texas A&M, or, even more A&M system chancellor. He's got 18 months to lean heavy on regents and call in chits for top consideration, and you know he'd have fun getting Mr. Democratic Milquetoast, John Sharp, to stand aside for him as system chancellor. True, Loftin's been prez at College Station longer than Sharp as chancellor of the system, but, Tricky Ricky would love the head job. Bob Perry's dead, but, he could surely get some other megadonor to promise the Aggies money, on one condition.

See an expanded version of these thoughts on Perry's future here.

And Abbott?

Meanwhile, is it too early to speculate much about how Gov. Abbott will be different from Gov. Perry? Texas legal blogger Grits for Breakfast says he might be a bit more libertarian on some police powers issues.

And, speaking of Greg Abbott and legal issues, Mother Jones reminds us that the love child of Greg Abbott's war on any legislation connected with Barack Obama is the guy who guarantees Tea Partiers won't unite around Rick Perry — Ted Cruz. (For non-Texans unaware of it, Cruz used to be Abbott's solicitor general.)