July 12, 2013

What's next for Tricky Ricky Perry?

Yes, a lot of people are speculating that he'll announce a presidential exploratory committee in due time, etc.

But, what if, instead of president, he wants to be chancellor? As in Texas A&M system chancellor?

If you want wild hair out the ass speculation about what El Jefe Mofo will do, there you go 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.

(Update, July 12: If Perry wants to "settle" for being president in College Station, and wants to leave the governor's mansion a year early, he's got his chance. Loftin's retiring in January.)

The guy bleeds Aggiedom profusely even by Aggie standards. Plus, this would be a final eff you at Democrats who think, rightly, that he's anti-intellectual.

Of course, such leadership could look like his ideological counterpart and political peer, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in controversy over his leadership at Purdue.

Running for president is still quite possible for Perry, sure. But, I wouldn't be surprised if his heart's not in it. Or his guts.

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, even though the governor and lieutenant governor run separate races, Perry was probably helped by W's long coattails. And, has faced no serious opposition since then in Texas races.

Even with a more organized campaign, and more time to prepare, he'd be an underdog in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, and on the far side of 65. I'm just not sure I see him doing that. Beyond the general challenge, unless Mike Huckabee runs in 2016, Perry would likely stand out in the race as somewhat of an oldster, and even Huckabee is five years younger than Perry.

Also, unlike in 1998, Karl Rove won't be available to help. Since he kind of undercut a Perry campaign idea in 1998, the two of them have been at least a bit on the outs since then, and Rove would be more likely to sign up with somebody else. (If he puts official skin in the 2016 presidential game, it's with Marco Rubio, IMO, unless Jeb Bush jumps in.)

So, Perry may form an exploratory committee. He may suck up money from it. But, right now, I put his odds of actually running at 50-50.

And, more ammo against a Perry run: He does the worst against Hillary Clinton of any top-tier GOP candidate in a polling matchup, and has than 5 percent support right now within GOPers of a slew of possible candidates.

So, that goes back to alternatives.

If not running the A&M system, becoming CEO of one of the companies helped out by his Texas Enterprise Fund gravy train is a possibility.

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