On July 8, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he would not seek re-election as Governor of Texas. Depending on one's political persuasion, this announcement was responded to with the phrase "sic transit gloria mundi" or "ding-dong, the witch is dead!"
Perry's decision to depart the Governor's Mansion in Texas has not eliminated speculation about his political future, however. While Perry's ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign will go down in the history books as a good example of an epic failure, this has not completely discouraged Governor Perry and his supporters. Hope springs eternal in the politics business and Perry cited the example of a man from a place called Hope in a recent interview with Dan Balz in the Washington Post. When asked about his chances in a future election, Perry stated the following.
Toward the end of our interview, I asked him how his lousy introduction to the national stage would affect his chances if he were to run again. His response: "You mean in the way Bill Clinton's introduction was bad?" He was referring to Clinton's famous and interminable nomination speech for Michael S. Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. I noted that Clinton's moment was one address (however bad) at someone else's convention, as opposed to a series of weak performances in debates by a declared presidential candidate. "Listen," he said. "America's been a country of second choices." Did he mean second choices or second chances? "Both," he said.
Now that's a response that shows Perry still has some serious ... hope.
If Perry does run for president in 2016, one of the things that Perry says he would do differently is to not have back surgery a couple of months before entering the presidential campaign. He also says one should start a presidential campaign earlier in the election cycle than he did in 2012. Those aren't bad ideas. They certainly can't hurt. It would be nice if he would have some other good ideas, like perhaps abandoning the sort of vitriolic culture-warrior politics that has been his stock-in-trade for the past decade or so, but that's probably too much to hope for.
In any event, whether or not Rick Perry decides to give a presidential campaign another shot will be determined by a host of factors, not the least of which being whether he can convince conservative donors and grassroots voters whether he can remake himself as a credible national political figure. To that end, Betsy Woodruff may have come up with a slogan for Perry's 2016 presidential campaign, in the last line of an article she wrote on May 20, 2013 at National Review:
Rick Perry 2016: It's not inconceivable.
One can see the bumper stickers already.