August 16, 2011


Rick Perry's entry is no surprise; his skill will be -- to some (Editorial Board, August 16, 2011, Corpus Christi Caller)

The question remains: Can Perry stand up to it?

Only he can answer it, but if past behavior is an indicator, all who doubt him are in for a surprise. Our own experience says he deserves much scrutiny and criticism and that the possibility of him as the Republican nominee -- and as president -- is real.

Doubters should ask Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Last year, she looked like the gubernatorial candidate to end his career -- on paper, until he wadded her up in the primary. He out-campaigned her and -- this is the hard part for critics including ourselves to accept -- outsmarted her.

He has never lost an election. Luck is among the reasons. Dumb luck is not. He has an instinct for knowing voters' hearts and minds before they and his opponents do.

He's a scripted candidate who refused to debate his Democratic gubernatorial challenger and wouldn't meet with newspaper editorial boards. Those who interpret that as an inability to think on his feet, veer from his script or win a debate should prepare for a surprise.

Perry already surprised the national media by attracting 30,000 people to his Aug. 6 prayer meeting in Houston. The media predictions were less than a third of that. What before was deemed a foolish gamble that would fail became, in hindsight, a bold stroke and a success.

Throwing in with the extremely evangelical Christian element appears now to be an inspired move to win the nomination that could turn into a liability in a general election. That's a logical viewpoint. It might be more logical to entertain the possibility that Perry has figured out something that logical viewpoint-holders don't know. Those 30,000 participants aren't 30,000 maybes and they aren't just votes. They'll be 30,000 zealous volunteers. They may not outnumber those who disagree with them but Perry probably has calculated that, on Election Day, they will.

Those -- we -- who suspect cynicism in Perry's courting of the evangelicals can't deny that he has proved to them that they can count on him. He doesn't just know the right verses. The sonogram bill he proposed is now state law. They actually can trust him -- and how many politicians can claim that, truthfully?

Posted by at August 16, 2011 7:21 AM

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