It's hard to believe, but Rick Perry is likely throwing in his hat for the next presidential run.
"Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas returned to Missouri Friday sounding a lot like a potential candidate for President on the eve of a convention that will draw conservatives from all over the country," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week. "Perry appeared in St. Charles to formally announce a national nonprofit organization that will promote low-tax policies such as those he has championed in Texas. But in a small room at the St. Charles Embassy Suites Hotel, in front of reporters and television cameras, his pitch was as heavy on political rhetoric as on policy."
The paper reports that Perry's nonprofit is shrouded in secrecy. "As a 501(c)(4), the group's donors aren't required to be made public because the organization isn't supposed to promote a specific political candidate or party," the paper says.
Missouri isn't the only state Perry has hopscotched to recently. He's visited more than half a dozen states, including California, New York, and Illinois. And he's spent to the tune of $2 million in television ads promoting his economic views.
Can anyone say, "presidential run"?
Perry seems undeterred by his embarrassing performance last time around, when in a candidates' debate, he could only remember the names of two of the three federal agencies he said he wanted to get rid of.
I have firsthand experience of how awful Perry is. I saw him three years ago at an editorialists' conference in Dallas, and he has to be the single-most unimpressive politician I have encountered.
Perry gave a speech that was better suited for a Tea Party gathering. He ranted against the federal government, which he claimed was destroying the "essence of our republic and our God-given freedoms."
At the end of his performance, he declined to take questions from a roomful of journalists, citing time constraints. He did seem to have time enough, though, to work the room, chat up conservative commentator Cal Thomas, and give an impromptu television interview in the hallway. (The editorialists' organization sent a formal letter of protest to his office.)
Perry is flaunting the jobs he has created in Texas supposedly through his pro-business, anti-regulatory policies. But as Paul Krugman has noted, a closer look reveals that the record ain't what it is hyped to be and is based on conditions that cannot be duplicated on a national level.
"The point is that arguing from this experience that depressing wages and dismantling regulation in America as a whole would create more jobs -- which is, whatever Mr. Perry may say, what Perrynomics amounts to in practice -- involves a fallacy of composition: every state can't lure jobs away from every other state," Krugman wrote.
Besides, there are several embarrassing aspects to Texas's record that Perry would rather not dwell on.
"Texas has more working residents who have no medical insurance than any other state in the nation," writes Mike Hendricks in the Albany Business Review. "Texas also has the most minimum wage jobs in the country."
Perry should go ahead and jump into the presidential fray. It'll be fun to see him make a fool of himself again.
Photo: WEBN-TV, Creative Commons licensed.
Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of The Progressive and co-editor of the Progressive Media Project, is the author of "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today (Praeger).