Rick Perry Enters the Arena

Today in Dallas, TX, Rick Perry will declare his candidacy for the President of the United States. It is his second time. Last time, Perry’s announced at the RedState Gathering in Charleston, SC in August of 2011 and surged quickly in the field to first place with almost a third of the Republican primary voters ready to back him. But several bad debate performances marginalized his candidacy and he failed to get traction. He departed the stage with an “oops.”

Of the candidates who ran in prior years who are running this time, Perry unquestionably deserves a second look. First, in 2012, he was running six weeks after back surgery and doing his best to avoid pain killers. It affected his performance and he knows it. Few Americans actually knew that though. The campaign did not broadcast the fact. Second, he has been the longest serving Governor of the second largest state, which also has the second highest number of electoral college votes in the nation.

Then there is reason 457,900. That is the number of jobs added to Texas in 2014 — the most jobs ever created in Texas and it happened while Perry was Governor.

Then there is reason 252,400, which was the number of jobs Texas created in 2013. Like in 2014, Texas led the nation in job creation that year too.

And then there is reason 1,500,000. That’s the number of jobs created in Texas from 2007 as the economy headed into recession until the end of 2013. During the same time, the other 49 states combined lost 400,000 jobs.

Needless to say, much of the credit Barack Obama has taken for any economic success actually belongs to Rick Perry. That is objectively a fact. It is so much a fact that in 2012 the left spilled massive amounts of digital and printers ink to claim Perry had nothing to do with Texas’s success, it was all a fluke, and Texas was really terrible.

During Perry’s tenure in Texas, he has personally lobbied businesses around the world to set up shop there and done so very successfully. When President Obama would not seal the border with Mexico, Perry ordered Texas’s National Guard to do it. And importantly for the establishment, Perry has built lasting relationships with the hispanic community in Texas. Oh, and unlike Hillary Clinton, Perry speaks Spanish.

For some, there is one other reason to support Perry. He and [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] are set to be the only two Presidential candidates of either party to have served in the military. Perry served for five years in the Air Force. He was a Captain in the 772nd Tactical Airlift Squadron.

The downside for Perry is his 2012 performance, not his record. He is going to have to overcome that and convince voters he is not another gaffe prone Texan like George W. Bush. The media is going to play up every little mistake he makes as will his opponents.

Perry also has a potential fundraising problem out of the gate. He is competing for donors in Texas with [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]. Nationally, there are a slew of fresh faces out there taking in lots of money. Perry also needs to make it to the debate stage. Despite his record and tenure in Texas, at present polling he barely crosses the threshold to be on stage at the first debate hosted by Fox News. He needs to start spending money to boost his positive name identification in an already crowded field as even more candidates head toward their announcements. Perry might benefit from others imploding on the way to the first debate and to Iowa, but there is just no guarantee that will happen or that Perry would be the one to benefit.

The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans will nominate a governor. There is some history to that point. Republicans have batted a thousand at not putting senators in the White House. But the pulse and flash of much of the base divides between Senators Cruz and Paul and the heartstrings of many a donor are pulled by [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ]. Perry will enter the field as one of possibly six governors or former governors trying to set himself apart.

He has 1.2 million reasons that set him apart from the pack, but it is to be seen if all those reasons can overcome a few debate performances from 2012.