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The next president of the United States will be Rick Perry

We now know the name of the next president of the United States: Rick Perry. The range of poor choices facing Republicans – from the bland Mitt Romney to the polarising Michele Bachman – has been transformed…

Change will again come to the White House. And it will come courtesy of another Texan. EPA/Alex Jones/pool

We now know the name of the next president of the United States: Rick Perry. The range of poor choices facing Republicans – from the bland Mitt Romney to the polarising Michele Bachman – has been transformed by Perry’s announcement.

Predicting with confidence, so early in the race, why this Texan will win is hazardous, but here goes:

First, consider the man he will run against through November 2012. No president has been re-elected with an economy in such bad shape.

No president since Franklin Roosevelt – the greatest president the Democrats ever had – has been elected with unemployment higher at the close of his term than at the beginning.

Obama’s failure

The change mantra of the 2008 campaign will haunt Barack Obama. He has recently had to redefine “change” as a long-term goal, hardly the import of his soaring rhetoric three years ago. The uncomfortable reality, elided by his supporters, is that Obama has changed very little, either since 2008 or in his pre-presidential career.

In twelve years as an academic at the Harvard Law School he published nothing of consequence. His early fame came from a best-selling book about his absent father. His community organisation years in Chicago are nebulous, producing more myth than substantive achievement. His life-long struggle was not the civil rights movement. Rather, he survived, surprisingly intact, from the suffocating affection and molly-coddling of his white Kansan grandparents.

As has become clear to many, including his supporters, in recent weeks, Obama’s inexperience has compromised his execution of the office of president. He has never run anything of note. Not a city, not a state. Editing the Harvard Law Review hardly counts.

He is proving to be a mediocre politician. The obvious contrast is with the last great liberal hope, Bill Clinton, perhaps the most astute politician of his generation – compromised by his sexual preferences not his political instincts. And a governor of some success before becoming president.

Obama’s poor skills as a negotiator – exposed in the recent budget showdown with Congress, bemoaned most intensely by his own side – are a product of his zero-experience in an executive role.

The robust ego that compensated for the absence of an executive track-record – and which made him such a charismatic campaigner – has made Obama a meagre political dealmaker.

A record of achievement

Second, compare this biography – which Republicans will recite and relay with ever greater relish – with that of his challenger.

Governor Rick Perry has run Texas, America’s second largest state – the equivalent of Australia – since 2000. He is currently the second longest serving governor in the US, and the longest in Texan history.

Where other governors have presided over job losses during the Great Recession, he has claimed credit for making them. Texas has become a magnet for inward American migration. Californians – Californians! – are now moving there.

The issues at stake

Obama can match none of this. Contra-Perry, his executive record consists of a double-dip recession and the stagnation of the jobs market – both purchased at the price of an enormous stimulus.

And this is before we consider how a precipitate withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq and a stalled war in Libya will play with voters. Killing Osama bin Laden is becoming a distant memory.

Other Republican challengers can and will dwell on Obama’s record. Only Perry can really expose Obama’s executive failures by pointing to the success of his own. Change is coming to America – again, it will be wearing a Stetson.

Join the conversation

10 Comments sorted by

  1. Dan Lawler

    logged in via Twitter

    Deliberate shot of armpit sweat on Bush?

  2. A Lamb

    logged in via email

    You haven't said anything about why Rick Perry will win, or what his virtues are, aside from being governor of Texas (and so was Bush, and look what that did).
    And Obama has had a fair few more problems than most other presidents, beyond his control. Afghanistan, Iraq, GFC.

    And what do you mean Texas is equivalent to Australia? in what? you imply size but Texas is 696,241 square km, vs. Australia's 7,686,850 km2!

  3. Tim Dean

    Philosopher at UNSW Australia

    Here's a counter-prediction: Obama will be re-elected because Rick Perry won't even clear the Republican nomination, and the only contenders who have a chance at being nominated are sufficiently fruity that they'll be trounced even by a weakened Obama.

  4. Daryl Deal


    Total Insanity, no viable political candidates for the 2012 Presidential Campaign, just what are the 'Republican Party of No' really thinking, by unleashing these incompetents upon the general public. The choice of losers in the current line up, range from a rank outsider elderly Ron Paul(too old) to a crazy insane almost certifiable lunatic like Michele Bachmann! It is dead end political madness, I tell you!

    Let us look into the background, of a politician called Rick Perry, he is basically a…

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  5. Colin MacGillivray

    Architect, retired, Sarawak

    Surely the President of the United States is elected on the basis of being tall, good looking, and coming across well on TV? And of course having a huge budget to fund advertising.
    No need to be a person with all the qualifications and intellect to do the job. Those people are probably short, ugly, and come across poorly on TV.

  6. Barry Calderbank

    logged in via Facebook

    Obama has been a pretty dismal failure, by any measure. It hasn't helped that the parts of the media that still support him are still treating him as a celebrity and that undermines any chance he has of being taken seriously as a political leader.

    The Democrats made a huge mistake in not going for Hilary Clinton last time around. The GFC and its aftermath would still have happened, of course, but Clinton wouldn't be looking so "all at sea" as the hapless Obama does. While she hasn't run a state…

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  7. A Lamb

    logged in via email

    Krugman wrote an insightful piece in yesterday's new york times. 'The Texas Unmiracle' describes that Texas survived much of the GFC largely because of its oil, and strict regulation of mortgage lending. It also has high population growth - from birth rates, Mexican immigration and internal migration (warm weather, low cost living) and this also spurrs job growth.

  8. Roxane Paczensky

    Registered Nurse

    Rick Perry is a christian fundamentalist who belongs to the New Apostolic Movement, that think their leaders are apostles of christ called to change America into a Christian Theocracy. His very public day of prayer and fasting, caled "The Response" made this agenda plain, not just by holding the event which was sponsored by this movement, but also because other members of the movement were invited speakers too. 30,000 people attended. The FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) applied to the courts for an injunction on the basis that "The Response" was unconstitutional on separation of church and state grounds. They were unsuccessful because the courts wouldn't even grant them standing - judges are also elected and are increasingly ruling based on political affiliation. I think as more American's learn more about this christian fundamentalist his chances of winning the presidency will diminish, I hoope so anyway, for all our sakes!

  9. English Desk


    The article omitted a significant connection [ and often a US presidential predictor] : Gov Rick Perry has a Bilderberg connection (One World Government) which does not bode well for the United States or for supporting the US Constitution. As for Texas, the state of Texas used taxpayer funds for the Gulen school movement to the tune of $40+ million USD. You can verify this with a simple Google search. Michele Malkin has some interesting articles on how Gov Perry handles executive privilege over the Legislature with an indicator of how he might govern as President. Mr Lynch could also include that GHWBush (Sr) worked for Zapata oil and was in Dallas on Nov 22, 1963, but Mr Bush can not recall where he was on that day (JFK). Mr Lynch would probably make the connection with between LBJ, JFK, and possibly GHWBush, Sr. What is up with the TEXAS Group?

  10. Minh-Quan Nguyen

    Student, University of Melbourne

    Aside from coming across as an advertisement ripped from rather than a robust piece of analysis, the basic premise of this article is looking rather shaky right now.