With much of the right dismayed by their existing presidential field, eyes naturally turn to Governor Rick Perry of Texas. He’s both the country’s longest-serving governor and the chief of its second-biggest state. As a Southerner he’d have a distinct advantage in a primary in a southern-dominated party, and though I’m not sure he has signature policy accomplishments his occasional flirtations with secession and nullification certainly highlight an appealing wingnutty side.
But Perry seems genuinely uninterested in throwing his hat in the ring even while agreeing with those who aren’t satisfied with the current contenders:
Despite his insistence that he’s content to stay in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry is attracting more and more buzz as a potential presidential candidate, talk that could shift into hyperdrive after conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh proclaimed Wednesday that Perry has the “potential to light this up.” Limbaugh, widely considered the nation’s most listened-to talk-radio host, gave the Texas governor a plug on his afternoon program by declaring that Perry is the Republicans’ best hope to bring life to an anemic presidential field. Further, Limbaugh said, “He has great hair.” […]
At the Dallas event, Perry again insisted that he has no interest in running for president and predicted that a strong candidate will eventually step up to take on Obama. “The governor has repeatedly said he’s not running for president,” Perry spokesman Mark Miner said. “That position has not changed.”
But who could that strong candidate be? Jeb? After all, it’s been a generation since the Republicans have captured the White House without a Bush on the ticket.
Meanwhile, Daniel Larison points out that one reason to be underwhelmed by Tim Pawlenty’s political skills is that he never actually won a majority of the vote in Minnesota, skating by with 44 percent in 2002 and 46.7 percent in his 2006 re-election. In both cases, the Independence Party candidate whose strong showing made plurality wins possible was an ex-Democrat.