The entire political world was made aware a few weeks ago of Rick Perry’s money woes. The news leaked that most staffers had their pay frozen, so Perry could continue basic necessities of infrastructure and travel. Campaign manager, Jeff  Miller expressed gratitude for their service and his desire for them to stay, but assured them no hard feelings if they chose another endeavor.

All but one staffer remained in Austin, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It was to the surprise of many, but clearly not among his organization. Many took to social media to express their dedication.

The dedication of his staff was astounding.


What transpired after this news was inspiring, to say the least. A campaign that had raised a little over $1 million since it’s launch saw a truly grassroots effort to raise funds for Perry’s bid – their largest haul since they launched in June. Rumors are that several hundred thousand dollars were raised over the following weekend, thanks to individual donations and an organized Twitter Bomb coordinated by volunteers across the country. Said effort even briefly saw #IStandWithRick become a trending topic.

On Monday, August 24, 2015 two pieces of news hit the waves:

First, the Perry campaign was beginning to pay staff again in most offices.

Second, Sam Clovis, the Iowa campaign chairman for Perry was stepping down to take a job as a national chairman for Donald Trump.

Interestingly, Clovis lambasted Trump only a month earlier. But he was now his national chairman.

In some irony, when Clovis ran his failed bid for U.S. Senate last summer, he ran our of money and was unable to pay salaries. All of his staff stuck with him. Some he never paid.


Belief is not weakness.

This reorganization is not a sign of weakness, but of prioritization. Reagan even fired his top aide the day of the New Hampshire primary. He won that election.

But the contrasts were telling.

This confluence of opposing narratives caused me to think about what really matters in politics. External influences motivate some while others are moved by internal factors. Which are you?

Campaigns traditionally rise and fall on the assembled talents of a cottage industry made of consultants: experienced, proven players in the political world who claim no home on Facebook, eat Chinese three times a week and rarely settle down with a family. These consultants may only work for a few months, or become part of the administration for winning candidates. But ultimately, it’s their job. For better or worse, they’re in it for a paycheck.

But then, there are the candidates who engender a loyalty that cannot be bought. Their staff are genuine supporters, who make a commitment and stick to it, thick and thin. The paychecks are a necessity for any successful campaign, but in Rick Perry’s case, the mission was more important than the method. At least until Iowa.

Even Miller, Perry’s right hand came on board by moving his family from California to Austin in 2008, out of his belief in Perry’s leadership and record.

In response to questions about campaign restructuring, Robert Haus, Perry’s chief strategist made it clear campaign staff are moving forward. “I told [Perry] I’ll be with him [until we] turn the lights off, in whatever capacity they want me to be in,” Haus said. “My support for him will never waver, I’ll caucus for him … when I give my support like that, I’m a loyal guy, that’s what I do.”

A supporter from South Carolina said it best.

“Many of us knew that things weren’t going as we had hoped for a man we truly believed in. However, we had made a commitment and I personally felt it was important to maintain that commitment.

“Gov. Perry has proven time and time again to be worthy of that loyalty. I also understand that there are many on his campaign that continue to work in a volunteer capacity this time. That should tell people something. The campaign staff are missionaries, not mercenaries, and Gov. Perry continues to focus on solutions and not soundbites.”

For lack of a better word, many campaigns, such as Donald Trump, survive on the back of talent-for-hire, mercenaries. But candidates with true leadership, genuine charisma and character draw a different sort, missionaries for their cause.

Mercenaries attack opponents and take no prisoners.
Missionaries stand behind a cause and don’t back down.

Mercenaries know little loyalty and money is an end, whatever the means.
Missionaries become ambassadors, where money is a means to an end.

Mercenaries find their employer and figure out how to make it work.
Missionaries find their inspiration and are motivated within.

Mercenaries are an indicator of a lacking candidate. One who needs to stack up the talent, rather than naturally attract them.
Missionaries are created by true leaders who embody the vision and carry a resume people can respect.

When push comes to shove, I would rather be an ambassador, not a lackey. I may never be on a short list of consultants running for office, but you can be sure that if I believe in someone as a leader, they become my brand and my goal.

What kind of president do you want? One that brags he can’t be bought but serves the object of money and the power it brings? Or a man who can’t be bought and serves those who serve him, having power by default of what he has done and who he is? Isn’t that the kind of leader you want?

Five years ago, I went from opponent to admirer for a reason, and have no intention of throwing out that evolution because of a popularity contest or superficial gaffe.

I am tired of hearing conservatives complain about a lack of genuineness, authenticity and common sense, then watch them pursue everything their tickled ears want to hear.

When I pray, I ask God to give me a mission that I can believe in. I found one. America should be grateful that we still have men who are leaders because they are followed by other leaders, not just men who bought the title and filled the ranks with “yes men.”

Who is your mission?

Texas Wildfires Perry


This young man is an immigrant about to become a U.S. citizen. He discusses his story and why he supports his candidate in the 2016 primary.

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