The Tangible Value of Being Mentioned

Mark Liebovich has an amusing profile of Rick Perry at the New York Times Magazine that captures pretty succinctly why someone who was humiliated in his initial foray into presidential politics might consider a second helping. Is it about redemption? No: it’s probably about money:

It is difficult to gauge exactly how much stomach Perry would have for another presidential campaign. Keeping his options open — at least publicly — can only enhance his stature as a candidate for one of those, say, very well paying executive, consulting or board positions that would allow him to visit some very nice places in California and maybe even relocate there. “When I step out of my current job,” Perry said, “and I have 15 or 20 productive years left in my body, I want to be able to have as in-depth an understanding about this world as possible.”

As a general rule, those sweet gigs that former governors (and senators and congressmen) get are considerably easier than being a future president — or, more likely, a future former losing presidential candidate. They tend to be much better paying, less demanding and less debasing. And if you are Rick Perry, private citizen, you would be much less likely than Candidate Perry to endure the inevitable barrage of oops-themed humor.

Interestingly enough, Perry let it slip to Liebovich that if he doesn’t run for president, he might consider relocating to California–you know, the socialist dystopia that virtuous folk are fleeing for honest, regressively taxed work and investment in places like Texas. That more than anything else tells me that ol’ Rick probably isn’t serious about running for president again. But for reasons that still baffle me, every time Perry is Mentioned as a potential candidate, his market value for overcompensated management or consulting work or corporate board service goes up another notch.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.