Sunday, 11 September 2011

The True Son of Texas: Bush or Perry?

One would have originally thought that one politically successful son of Texas and his camp would throw their weight fully behind another son of Texas and his camp looking to occupy what was once the former’s ultimate seat of power. What this rather questionable attempt at eloquent writing means to ask is why aren’t ‘Dubya’ and his former administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove et al) getting behind good ol’ Rick.

Appearing on Fox News former Bush adviser Karl Rove said: “Gov. Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he’s a cowboy from Texas.” I thought everyone from Texas was a cowboy?

Whether everyone from Texas is a cowboy or not is an argument over stereotypes we shall not delve into here but what we will discuss is the fact that Bush and Perry are two very different type of Texans. Perry’s son of Texas credentials are undoubted. He is the son of relatively poor cotton farmers in rural Paint Creek, Texas and his alma mater is Texas A&M; who recently produced very exciting Denver Bronco’s pass-rusher Von Miller.

G.W. Bush on the other hand is the son of a former President from a family based in New England (about as far away from Paint Creek as you can get both physically and culturally) and attended the famous Eastern university establishment of Yale. Unlike Perry, the 43rd President of the USA is something of an imitation of son of Texas perhaps moulded to give his political career some sort of voter-friendly narrative. My name is George and I love nothing more than kickin’ back with a Bud and watchin’ football on Sundays... No really coverage starts tonight/tomorrow morning on Channel 4. Give me knowledge Mike Carlson!

The difference in rhetoric between the two during their Presidential campaigns is also noticeable. When Bush ran for his first term he advertised himself as a “compassionate conservative” which undoubtedly helped him to cast his net into the Democratic vote. Coupled with his ability to speak Spanish he appealed to the ever-increasing Hispanic vote whilst when Perry was recently asked as to what kind of conservative he saw himself as, he said one word: “strong.” How strong of a conservative can you be when you were once a Democrat, eh Rick? Well...

Perry’s succinct reply sums himself up accurately. He is an unashamedly and uncompromisingly staunch conservative. For him there is seemingly no room for compromise because the difference between conservatism and liberalism is not merely one of opinion but one of what is fundamentally right and wrong. 

However, whilst Rick ‘Goodhair’ Perry (via the late journalist Molly Ivins) will seek to play up his record on jobs he will face questions on whether his economic policy is best for the people of the USA; particularly those at the bottom of the wealth pyramid. In spite of what Perry sees as success in the management of his state; Texas has the highest percentage of people without any healthcare insurance in the USA at 27% and is the fourth most impoverished in the Union.

When Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” finds it difficult to appeal to the poor then how will Perry’s manage to? Maybe he thinks he can win without their votes. Whilst Perry is certainly going to galvanize the GOP base; do you think he is going to able to challenge Obama in the centre ground like Romney can?