Governor Rick Perry of Texas lives in a big shadow. It’s tough being the successor to a job where the prior occupant became the leader of the free world, then went on to anger and alienate much of the same free world. As shadows tend to do, they follow us everywhere and Perry is having trouble escaping the Bush connection.For, the name “Bush” has become a blasphemy in many circles, like “taxes,” “socialism,” and “Charlie Sheen.” (See our Bush 2.0 article HERE)
The two men are different, of course. Perry is a 5th-generation Texan, Bush is a 5th-generation Yankee WASP. While both were military pilots, Bush served in the National Guard, Perry in the Air Force. Even their faiths are different– Perry is a Methodist, and Bush is a United Methodist. Important distinction, I’m certain.
Anyway, Perry has long been trying to distinguish himself from his predecessor. This effort has caused a silent rift in the Texas Republican establishment, which has been tied quite closely with big business and big oil. Texas politics, like in many places, runs on a “good-ol’-boy” network– where favors are exchanged, careers are made, and silence is guaranteed. When Perry and his team began to publicly disagree with Bush policies and decisions, the Texas establishment began to split.
Claiming that Bush isn’t a true conservative, Perry has made a name for himself by pulling to the right and jumping fully on the Tea Party bandwagon. This has been a good move for Perry, for as the Republican Party has moved increasingly rightward in recent years, he’s been leading the pack.
With many Republicans disenchanted with the crew of presidential candidates, there has been increasing buzz that Rick Perry may throw his hat in the ring. His actions recently are definitely pointing in that direction. At every opportunity, Perry criticizes the Bush Administration policies– from spending to immigration.
I’m beginning to get an idea what his campaign slogan is going to be:
“My name is Rick Perry and I am not George W. Bush.“