We’ve heard the argument before with respect to Chris Christie and Scott Walker that the abuse-of-power investigations they’ve faced could actually help them as presidential candidates, so long as they stay out of the slammer and can blame their persecution on the godless liberals. But now that Rick Perry has joined the Shadow-of-the-Hoosegow club, RealClearPolitics’ Scott Conroy offers a general theory that they’ll all benefit from a presumption that legal problems mean The Left is afraid of them and wants them hauled off in chains before they can roar through the primaries like avenging angels.
It’s a strategy that may pay dividends in a 2016 primary fight, as all three would be courting conservative voters who will likely see the investigations as badges of honor.
Bob Haus, who helmed Perry’s 2012 campaign in Iowa and is poised to reprise that role in 2016, said the “overwhelming response” from activists in the nation’s first voting state has been strongly supportive.
“They see the actions against Governor Perry for what they are: raw politics,” Haus said. “I would also say that Governor Perry has shown great strength and resolve in this matter. He and his team have managed this issue exceptionally well, and have shown they will fight this aggressively.”
In other words, “come and get me, coppers!” is a more politically effective response that anything expressing contrition or an openness to a slap on the wrist.
Now this has to be deeply frustrating to other candidates seeking 2016 traction who don’t have the credential of being threatened with imprisonment. Consider Bobby Jindal, who’s tried every stunt imaginable to get whipped-up Con-Con activists interested in his presidential availability. As it happens, Bobby was just handed a judicial setback by a state judge who issued an injunction to block Jindal from killing implementation of Common Core education standards in Louisiana–he was the state’s premier Common Core supporter until he became its premier opponent, of course–pending a trial. You have to wonder if Bobby’s brain trust has discussed ways to secure a contempt of court charge to spice things up–you know, the governor entering the courtroom brandishing a Bible and shrieking “Get thee behind me, Satan!” at the judge or something. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me.