José M. de Areilza. Professor. IE Law School
15 November 2011
When Rick Perry burst onto the electoral scene he brought a new lease of life to the republican primary election. Could it be that the US is going to have another Texan president?
The decision by Texan Rick Perry to run in the primary elections has changed the face of the Republican contest, in which no candidate had stood out until now. The former military pilot holds a certain attraction with his cowboy boots and aggressive straight-talking approach, and has the traditionally conservative economic and moral slant which took Ronald Reagan to power. He also has powerful backers, not least the Texan oil industry.
The Tea Party sees him as one of their own because of his scathing criticism of tax and growing federal power. The religious right likes him too, in spite of his democratic past. It is possible, however, that Perry does not have to side with either of these movements and will be able to win the primaries with a decidedly ideological message, going on to compete in the presidential election under the supra-party flag of economic recovery. His current mandate as governor has spared no effort in creating a favorable environment for companies and employment levels have rocketed.
Nobody knows if the US is ready for another Texan president after the catastrophic performance of George W. Bush, but if anyone can make it possible, that person is Rick Perry. A few days after announcing that he would run he is already leading the head group of republicans, followed by the Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann and the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. The inexperienced Bachmann has an incredible populist instinct and is adored by the masses. Romney is a centrist Mormon with a carefully crafted economic discourse, who has committed the original sin of having proposed a healthcare reform plan very similar to Obama’s in his state. The three candidates all practice their religions, something that holds no sway in Europe but plays a pivotal role in getting to be voted president in the US.