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Thursday, July 28, 2011
Personal Reflections ... Politics ...

I just read an article on the Texas Monthly site about Gov. Rick Perry, the latest heavyweight contender in the GOP Presidential nomination ring. Of course, Perry hasn’t announced yet, but most of the political reports indicate that he’s building a campaign organization and is out raising money. The latest speculation is that Perry will formally announce in the second half of August.

Is Perry viable? A recent Gallup poll shows Perry picking up strength. This poll sets forth a variety of different scenarios between the many present and potential GOP contenders, but the most important set of charts puts Romney, Bachmann and the six other dwarfs (Cain, Gingrich, Pawlenty, etc.) against the three “shadow” candidates (Perry, Palin and Guiliani) on an individual basis. Thus, you can see the effect that Palin alone would have on the present field, versus the Guiliani-alone effect, versus the Perry-alone effect.

In each of these three “trial heats”, Romney retains a 23% share. But Perry comes within striking distance at 18%, while Palin gets 15% and Rudy G takes 14%. More important is the effect on Bachmann’s support. Perry siphons away her strength; with Palin and Rudy, Bachmann maintains a 16% and 17% share, respectively. However, Perry cuts her share down to 13%.

Once Cain, Paul and Santorum fold, Perry could arguably be up around 34%. If Bachmann admits that she’s been “out-tea-partied” by Perry, her 13% could boost Perry up to 47%. By contrast, add Gingrich, Pawlenty and Huntsman to Romney and you only get 34%. Perry arguably needs less of the 19% “other/undecided” GOP votes than Romney does. Given how many votes the “tea party nut-jobs” control in this poll (and in most of the other GOP nomination polls of late), I would say that Romney is in trouble, and that Rick Perry should be taken very seriously.

Thus, I predict that the GOP is going to ditch its usual conservatism in 2012 (remember Bob Dole, and the fact that “McCain the Maverick” was well past his expiration-date by the time the GOP tapped him), and will nominate a hard-line T-party type. Rick Perry is the candidate best situated to pull together all of that T-party energy. I will also go out on a limb here and predict that Perry’s running mate will be NJ Governor Chris Christie; I know that Christie said that he’s not interested in playing second fiddle, but against a strong alpha-male figure like Perry, I think that Christie would heel. A lot of VP speculation focuses on Florida’s Marco Rubio, and I admit that he too would create a viable ticket with Perry. But I believe that Perry and Christie are personally drawn to each other, being much alike in temperament; and they would arguably present a good balance of western rural toughness and east coast urban bluster.

I would also guess that President Obama and the Democrats are praying that this all comes to pass. With unemployment still above 8% in late 2012, the swing voters would take a moderate, intelligent, business-oriented Republican like Romney VERY seriously. (Especially if Rubio teamed up with him, solidifying support from the family values/conservative GOP base, and maybe even weakening Obama support amidst Hispanics). However, I feel that a T-Party oriented candidate like Perry would ultimately be rejected as “just a bit too extreme”. American voters are generally wary of radicalism; in 1964 they rejected radical conservatism (Barry Goldwater), and in 1972 they trashed radical liberalism (George McGovern). Obama has strengthened his “centrist” credentials, and could cast Rick Perry as “the dangerous choice”.

Given the bad economic prospects and all of the discontent out there, Obama is in big trouble regarding 2012; his only hope is that the T-Party will over-reach and give Obama an excuse to play the “safe, reasonable choice” role.

I’ll close with a little personal story from Texas. Back in the 1980s, I had a job with an insurance industry rating organization, and one of my tasks was to accompany my boss when he went on the road to give testimony in state insurance rate hearings. I.e., the insurance industry would file with a state regulatory commission for permission to increase rates. We thus had to present testimony and exhibits contending that the insurance industry wasn’t making enough profit from the present rates and would go out of business, because investors would dump us for more lucrative industries. Yea, well, some parts of our argument were valid and some of it was BS; but most of it was “who knows”, to be honest. But we got in there and we made the hard-sell for the big companies (CNA, AIG, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, etc.), just as we were paid to do. As a footnote, we were specialists in the workers compensation field. So yes, for those of you in the know, I was once an “NCCI-er”.

Anyway, I remember sitting in some public agency auditorium located on Brazos Street in Austin, watching and listening to an all-day parade of expert witnesses going on and on about how the insurance companies were flush with cash and the small businesses of Texas would all tank if workers comp insurance rates were increased; and contra-wise, that the insurance industry would pick up and leave Texas if the rates stayed the same. There was a lot of money at stake, and all sorts of people from all sorts of different groups showed up to argue the pros and cons of an insurance rate hike.

The hearing went on well past sunset, late into the night. I was struggling to stay awake, especially when the arguments got down to the nitty gritty of actuarial methodology. But I woke up when a rep from a local insurance agents’ association took the podium. He introduced himself with just a bit of Texas twang in his voice, then started explaining that the whole problem was that the damn city-slicker politicians who now controlled the Texas legislature and statehouse had given away the store, in terms of liberal benefits for injured workers.

This gentleman explained that he hailed from East Texas, from poor cotton-farm country. (Exactly where Rick Perry comes from). He felt that there was no reason to pay an injured, temporarily disabled worker enough to maintain his or her present lifestyle. Back in East Texas, folk know that life is hard and can get by on “not a lot”. So, this fellow concluded that the disabled worker is only entitled to “some water, bread, beans, a dry place to sleep, and a commode . . . ” Then, just to nail his point home, he said “and back in East Texas, we didn’t even have a commode!”

Oh, P.S. After this late night hearing was finally over, we industry goons were standing around in the darkness on Brazos Street waiting for rides back to our hotel. We saw the East Texas agency rep stroll by, heading for his own ride. My boss took note that the agents’ man was not getting into a dusty old Ford pickup, but had a shiny new Cadillac as his conveyance.

This is what to expect from a Rick Perry presidency — entitlement to a dry commode, and not much more. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:26 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim, I can’t tell you how tired I am of the politicians and all their debates. Most of them make more money i one year than a poor guy, trying to feed a family of 4 or 5, mowing lawns, or working with his back will make in several years of hard labor. Then they complain that their taxes may be raised! What a catastrophe. (As you so perfectly pointed out above.)

    I saw today an interview with a young woman who inherited a billion dollar fortune. She invested–invested!–$85 million in a “home” here in the States because she will be “doing business in the States” in the year(s) to come and will need to have a place for friends and family. I tho’t: She had $85 million laying around, not really knowing what to do with it, so why not make a good investment and eventually make more money? Actually, this piece of land with its mansion WAS a steal as it had originally been on the market for $150 million and even more; it had been reduced in price I think 2 times.

    Now I think to myself: She’s one of those who’s worried that her taxes will be “raised”! Oh my! She may have to do with less land on which her house guests may be able to roam. Meanwhile, the poor people working for her mowing lawns, cleaning the rooms, etc., (or even somebody like me, yes, I guess I am talking about my own situation) will never see $85 million in their/her entire lifetime(s).

    I don’t know. Can’t figure out the thinking of the T-party people. They want to return to the “good old days” and “good old values.” Today I was thinking: Back in the 1960s and 1970s (was that the “old days”?) the Vietnam war was going on. Who wants to relive those days? Do we want to return to those values? Then again, there was the whole thing of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”: Aren’t we reaping the results of those “good ole days”? (Look at Amy Winehouse. Or Charlie Sheen, who didn’t have such a sad end, at least so far).

    Seems to me that the T-Party is living in a dream world that never, ever met reality in any way. And for all the political wrangling about who is going to run for the GOP: In the end it’s all a bunch of guys (mostly) who are just trying to consolidate their area of power.

    I also have to say that I’m beginning to become annoyed with Obama who is starting to consider things he said he never would consider. Don’t like that one bit.

    Yes, I know I’m on my own tangent (or rant) here. But in the end what will it really matter who gets the GOP nomination? It’s all (and here I include the Dems too) a bunch of guys (with a few female exceptions) trying to mark out their territory and grab some power. I began to lose interest a long time ago. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — July 29, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  2. Hey (your post amazing)

    Comment by NYC25 — September 4, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

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