I've always said it's ridiculous to make any endorsements or predictions in any presidential race until the calendar turns over to the actual year of the race, but times have changed, the world moves at an alarmingly fast pace and I'm no anti-technology, Thoreau-worshiping sycophant. My hand is forced...
Rick Perry for President.
My reasons are grounded in ideology and pragmatism.
1) He's a governor, an executive: This is an attractive quality after three years of Barack Obama who not only has no executive experience, he revels in the fact and tries to run the country like a college professor playing a zero-sum game.
2) He's an exceptionally good governor: While the country flounders, Texas thrives. Is it all him? No, but a lot of it is. He's led Texas as a conservative, keeping taxes low and keeping the economic environment attractive to businesses.
3) (And this may be most important) He's unapologetic: In his speech to the Republican Leadership Conference he declared Republicans should "stop apologizing" for their conservative views. This is the kind of thing we need in 2012. If the GOP nominates another candidate like John McCain, who spends all his time apologizing for being a Republican, we don't have a chance.
4) Looks: Let's face it, Thad McCotter is cool as sh*t but he's not gonna get elected President unless he can time-machine himself to the age of mutton-chops. (Look out, Chester A. Arthur!) While Romney and Palin are probably our Prom King and Queen, Perry is not far off. I don't like it any more than you do, but you have to "look the part" as they say. Perry does.
5) He can win: Electability is an acceptable criteria only if taken hand-in-hand with the candidate's stands on the issues. Perry is electable and a fiscal conservative. That's all I'm really asking for this time around.
Now let's look at the supposed cons:
1) He used to be a Democrat: True, he was...a Texas Democrat, in the 1980's. That right there is more conservative than half the Republicans in Washington today. Ex-Senator Phil Gramm was also a Democrat at one point and I don't think his conservative bona-fides are much in question. Hell, put ex-Democrat Perry up against life-long Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, Dick Lugar and others and tell me who's the most conservative. You don't even have to pull out the "Reagan was once a New Deal Democrat" excuse.
2) He's another Bush: He's a Texas Governor, just like the last Republican president who left office very unpopular. This is much ado about nothing. Very interestingly, there was a story floated a few weeks ago in the Walter Duranty Times that the Perry people and the Bush people aren't too fond of each other with insinuations that Bush would hate to see Perry as President. If true, it's somewhat of a good sign. While we all miss George W. Bush during these years of Obama, he was a big-government Republican who started us on this road to ruin. If Perry isn't thought of highly by the blue bloods, that's a point for Perry, but there is a possibility it's a planted story by the Perry camp to put distance between the two. The "stop apologizing" line may very well have been a shot at the fabled "compassionate conservatism." Either way, points for Perry.
"But wait, he once raised taxes in one area to cut them in another and he once said 'mo-fo' and he's not really a conservative, and people who know him think he's dumb and those gay rumors...we're all doomed!!"
Or put another way, HE'S NOT PERFECT! The GOP cannot go about choosing a nominee hoping to find someone who is absolutely perfect and Reagan-incarnate because that person doesn't exist. You can find fault with every candidate or possible candidate in the field. If the GOP tries to, in essence, find their Obama (i.e. their Messiah), we'll just screw ourselves and allow the MSM to choose our candidate just like it did in 2008. The GOP has to nominate the best candidate who is a conservative on the big, macro issues facing this country.
I leave you with one cowardly caveat: If Sarah Palin gets into the race, that could blow everything up. Frankly I hope she does. I want there to be a lot of quality candidates and let the eventual nominee earn the spot.
We simply cannot afford another Obama term in office.