First Step For Perry Is Getting Filthy Rich

I read with some amusement Philip Rucker’s WaPo profile of the new, improved Rick Perry. The outgoing governor of Texas wants us all to know that he won’t make the same mistakes in this presidential cycle as in the last, and that he intends to project an image that’s distant from the strutting tear-the-head-off-the-donkey ferocity that excited conservative activists in 2011 before he disgusted them with his talk of compassion for the children of undocumented immigrants.

Unsurprisingly, Perry’s proto-message for 2016 will focus on his “economic miracle” claim, based on the exciting new idea of growing the economy by whorishly giving “investors” any damn thing they want. But as I have myself observed over the years, the trouble with encouraging governors to hang out with extremely rich people in the guise of “economic development” is that they start wondering Why ain’t I as rich as my new friends? And so we read this:

After Republican Greg Abbott is sworn in as governor on Jan. 20, Perry’s immediate priority will be to make serious money, something he has never done. He is considering writing a memoir — how a Boy Scout from Paint Creek became governor and presided over “the Texas miracle” economic boom — as well as giving paid speeches and serving on corporate boards, his advisers say.

So even as he’s sitting there with his tongue lolling out, trying to convince a political reporter he’s rough and ready to leap into a contest that’s already begun, Perry admits he’s going to have to take a little detour to lift himself and his family into the economic stratosphere. For a guy who hasn’t shaken two indictments just yet, he’s awfully confident he can run for president while becoming filthy rich, without engaging in any conflicts of interest or perhaps making voters wonder if he’s just in it for the dough.

Something tells me Ted Cruz is going to eat Perry’s lunch as the candidate of feral Texas conservatives while Perry’s trying to “make serious money” and convince people he’s not as stupid as he sometimes sounded four years ago.

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.