Thursday, January 5, 2012

Colleen McCain Nelson: Rick Perry, Please Come Home

Colleen McCain Nelson
 Rick Perry’s presidential campaign has been defined by bloopers. After tripping over himself and torpedoing his own prospects, our gaffe-prone governor now has a chance to do one thing gracefully: exit.
Call a halt to this clumsy campaign. Cancel the ego trip to South Carolina. Use the money left in the bank to repay Texas taxpayers for their trouble. Get back to the business of governing this state.
Perry appeared poised to do the right thing Tuesday night in Iowa. He emerged from the caucuses as an also-ran and an afterthought. He spent millions to amass a paltry 12,604 votes, and an emotional Perry wisely said he was heading home to reassess his political future.
That’s candidate-speak for “I’m outta here.”
But 12 hours and one tweet later, Perry was back in. That was news to a number of Perry aides, who learned of their boss’ decision from Twitter and perplexed reporters. At this point, it’s par for the course in Perry’s maladroit operation.
Clearly, the governor is at a loss after suffering his first-ever election loss. He mistakenly believes that he can catapult from fifth to serious contender and become the anti-Romney candidate of choice. But Rick Santorum already has dibs on that role, and Newt Gingrich is available as backup. Both left Iowa with more momentum and better prospects than Perry.
Now, the Texas governor is buoyed only by the fact that he still has campaign funds available, but Perry should not confuse cash with credibility.
He has fallen from first to among the worst. The best move Perry can make to salvage some of his political legacy is to return to the comfy confines of Texas.
Tell the rest of the country that the Lone Star State needs its governor. Quickly demonstrate that lessons have been learned from this madcap misadventure on the big stage.
Perry has at least three years left at the helm of state government. (I always allow for the possibility that he could be governor forever.) If he wants to make them count, he should start now.
First, become a Texas resident again. Perry’s been absent for some or all of 105 days since August. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has been busy with his own campaign for the U.S. Senate and has taken a few trips as well.
For 15 days, Texas has been governed by Mike Jackson.
I’m sure that the semi-obscure state senator from the Houston area is a swell guy, but voters didn’t elect him to lead our state. Jackson is also pretty busy with his own construction company.
Texas could use a full-time governor. Perry is being paid to do the job anyway, so it would be nice if he’d show up.
Next, get serious about a policy agenda. The big leagues exposed Perry as awfully short on details and possessing only a shallow understanding of complex issues.
This year affords him the opportunity to develop a legislative to-do list for 2013 and to immerse himself in the intricacies of policies.
Finally, pay Texas back. Perry’s presidential bid has been a pricey proposition for taxpayers.
His state-provided security detail has cost as much as $400,000 per month as he’s crisscrossed the country. Perry could rebuild some goodwill by reimbursing this cash-strapped state instead of pouring more money into a losing effort in South Carolina.
Perry always has portrayed himself as a somewhat reluctant presidential aspirant. He said Tuesday night that this was not a lifelong ambition but simply a response to the fact that the country was in trouble.
Voters sent a clear message to the top Texan: He’s not the guy to fix it.
If he presses on, Perry risks adding to his cringe-worthy reel of Saturday Night Live spoofs. If he bows out now, he has a chance to put his political career back together in the state where he remains undefeated.
Governor, exit stage right and come home to Texas.

Original Story Here

1 comment:

  1. Oh, and stop taking a pension for being in public office for so long. That would go a long way towards rebuilding credibility with THIS Texas voter.




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