I've tried to always keep an open mind as to who I'd support for President during an election. In 2006, following George Allen's gaffe and subsequent defeat, I threw my support behind Senator John McCain, even though I found myself more conservative on the issues. I felt McCain had the experience to be Commander-in-Chief. I held firm in my support of McCain in the pre-exploratory stage, then during the hard times of the McCain campaign in 2007, all the way to his nomination and eventual defeat.
This time around I truly was stumped as to who to support. Romney has a record of flip-flopping, but seems strong on economics. However, his position on health care while Governor of Massachusetts is a massive turnoff. Rick Santorum is a strong conservative and spent over a decade as a Senator from an electoral-rich state, but is prone to controversy and at least during the initial process, has little national recognition beyond politicos. Newt Gingrich faltered, Jon Huntsman did as well and is clearly just dipping into the process for a possible 2016 run, and Tim Pawlenty just doesn't have the fire in the belly to win a national election, in my view.
Why Michele Bachmann is running I really don't know. I mean, I don't mind her but the way she suddenly entered this race and has enthusiastic support surprised me. I don't really know what she ever really did to suddenly have the gravitas to jump in.
Ron Paul, to me, is a non-contender. He isn't a conservative, will not win the nomination, and why he got in again is beyond me. His position on the issues is so far from even the more liberal Republican base that it's like a member of PETA applying for a job at a slaughterhouse. Makes no sense to me whatsoever.
Herman Cain has no elected experience. He is a great speaker and trumpets conservative principles, but he doesn't have a real shot either.
So who should I support? In all honesty, when the list looked like that, Santorum looked best, as did Pawlenty or Romney but the support was lukewarm. I don't want this to be a Kerry 2004 type of deal where it's just "Anybody but Obama" type of language. I want to be excited for the prospect of a new Presidency and excited for a candidate, not just excited at seeing Barack Obama concede in a year.
Then I turned to Governor Perry. I am very excited about the prospect of a Perry candidacy. First, Rick Perry is an incumbent Governor of a large and prosperous state of which he has been for a decade. Second, he is a solid conservative. He can attract support from tea party people as well as the mainstream Republicans (me) and from swing voters who will be voting in a little over 14 months on the economy. Third, whether his doing or not, he can and will campaign on the fact that all Americans see Texas as this growing, booming, prosperous state while Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and the rest of the country are in an economic recession that continues to deepen. I highly doubt people will care about whether or not Perry is the 100% reason for Texas' booming economy or whether or not Obama is the 100% reason for worsening economic recession. They will vote on the records. Governor Perry can and will tout that record, and it sure is an appealing one. Remember, I live in Ohio which is a swing state that went for Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama. When I bring up Perry with people I work with that leads to conversations about Texas. "Oh yeah, my sister just moved there she loves it there, ect ect ect". Texas has become sort of dreamy in many American's eyes. The cover of the New York Times even, "Want a job? Move to Texas." Whether just or unjust, Texas' appeal can indeed out-perform Obama-mania part deux.
That record is the third reason. Fourth, he has charisma, charm and is tall, and attractive for a candidate. Those who vote on style over substance may be more persuaded by Rick Perry than even Barack Obama.
Number five, Perry will bring our evangelicals in enormous numbers, possibly bigger than in 2004. These will solidify "Bush states", make the prospects of victory in places like North Carolina, Missouri and our west much more likely, and even make a popular vote victory seem more plausible.
That leads me to reason number six...electability. I understand the media will be bias against Rick Perry. I already saw Chris Matthews showing his dislike for Perry and Texas, and I saw Juan Williams pressing how many of the jobs in Texas were minimum wage jobs, and Mr. Mustache himself Axelrod trying to begin the smear campaign against Perry. They will talk about "secession" and make the George Bush comparisons, and say he is too folksy for the mainstream. Just remember, three years ago, a Nebraska electoral vote went for an African American Senator who was a liberal Democrat. Anything can happen in politics. Does that mean Perry can win California? Doubtful, of course. How about a state like Pennsylvania? Don't doubt it.
All that aside, it seems every time Republicans nominate someone very conservative and who most question their electability...we win. When we nominate "safe" or "mainstream" candidates (Dole, McCain, Romney-types) we lose, often badly.
Rick Perry can do what John McCain was unable to, which is solidify the "Bush" states and focus on swing states.
In my opinion, the GOP's best shot at winning the Presidency next year, is to win just a few states, and solidify what is already red.
McCain had rallies in Tennessee in the closing days for goodness sakes...and lost Indiana and North Carolina. Rick Perry could solidify Tennessee and Indiana and North Carolina behind his campaign much better than McCain or a Romney would be able to do. When polls closed on election night in 2008, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi were all too close to call. That equated to an 8pm electoral count of 82 Obama, 39 McCain. Someone like Perry could solidify those states to where next year's 8pm electoral count is 75 Obama, 64 Perry or something to that effect. Basically, keeping it at least close if not over-topping early on. Indeed, a Perry ticket, if strong, could make the 9pm electoral map (even if Obama wins) look something like this:
Obama could still win the election, of course...but that's a hell of a lot better than McCain's 9pm total of 100 electoral votes and Obama's 175.
All of these factors and more excite me about the prospect of electing Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, our next President. That's why I am supporting him.