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Why Rick Perry is headed to the White House

By James C. Moore, Special to CNN
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to an estimated 30,000 attendees at the prayer event, "The Response," Saturday in Houston.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to an estimated 30,000 attendees at the prayer event, "The Response," Saturday in Houston.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry expected to signal his intention to run for president
  • James Moore says Perry is the likely winner of the 2012 presidential race
  • Moore: He can unite Republicans, including those who won't vote for a Mormon
  • He says Perry, a mediocre student, loves to campaign and hates to govern

Editor's note: James Moore is a Texas-based Emmy award-winning former national TV news correspondent and co-author of the best-seller, "Bush's Brain."

Austin, Texas (CNN) -- As a resident of Texas for 36 years, I keep wondering why the rest of the nation pays any attention to our political and cultural absurdities and yet still chooses Texans as presidents. Our most revered historical moment, the Alamo, was arguably a mass suicide. The slaughter in San Antonio was followed by a massacre at Goliad, the fall of the Confederacy to Union forces, and later by the Houston Astros. Texas has a legacy of losing.

None of this apparently matters, though, because America is beginning the process of electing another Texan to be president. Gigantic tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, a trumped up war and a ruined economy from the last Texan seem incapable of dissuading supporters of Rick Perry.

His Saturday speech in South Carolina will make clear that he is entering the race for the White House and will spawn the ugliest and most expensive presidential race in U.S. history, and he will win. A C and D student, who hates to govern, loves to campaign, and barely has a sixth grader's understanding of economics, will lead our nation into oblivion.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Politics: Rick Perry surges in poll

The big brains gathered east of the Hudson and Potomac Rivers believe that Mitt Romney is the candidate to beat. But they are unable to hear what Rick Perry is saying. The Christian prayer rally in Houston was a very loud proclamation to fundamentalists and Teavangelicals, which said, "I am not a Mormon." The far right and Christian fundamentalists have an inordinate amount of influence in the GOP primary process and, regardless of messages of inclusion, very few of them will vote for a Mormon.

James Moore
James Moore

"We think a them Mormons as bein' in kind of a cult," one of the Houston rally attendees told me. "I couldn't vote for one a them when we got a real Christian like Governor Perry runnin'."

Perry, of course, can't come right out and print bumper stickers that say, "Rick Perry -- 2012 -- Not a Mormon." But he doesn't have to. He's wearing his faith like a power tie while Romney stays quiet as a tabernacle mouse on the topic of religion. Romney has business experience and intellect that are not on Perry's resume' but he is from "Massatoositts," (Webster's Texas Edition, see also "Massachusetts"), and Texans love to kick their political boots into New Englanders' squishy parts. Perry is about to remind the tea partiers and fundamentalists that Romney created a state health care plan, (the horror, affordable health care for everyone), believes global warming is real, and has a troubling history for conservatives on the matters of abortion and gay marriage.

So much for Mitt.

Moore: Perry could get GOP nomination
Praying away the bad economy
The audacity of Sarah Palin
A C and D student, who hates to govern, loves to campaign, and barely has a sixth grader's understanding of economics, will lead our nation into oblivion.
--James Moore

Michele Bachmann, who is from Iowa, and is Perry in Prada, has the same appeal among Teavangelicals. Her husband's reparative gay therapy sessions, the Newsweek cover and a few speeches that were not reality based will, eventually, make even the GOP primary voters realize she is bound for the desert and not the Promised Land.

Bachman will run close to Perry in Iowa but will disappear into the snows of New Hampshire where religious fervor isn't exactly considered a positive attribute. In South Carolina, Perry's money, image and support will become overwhelming.

Romney and Bachmann are the only serious impediments to the Perry nomination. Ron Paul, who makes more sense than any crazy person to ever run for public office, has never been able to expand his cult to the mainstream.

Herman Cain is too brutally honest and lacking political experience, and Tim Pawlenty, what's-his-face-from-Minnesota, suffers from the heartbreak of ineffectuality.

Fueled only by speculation that he might announce, Perry became the putative front-runner (heard that word at a fancy Washington restaurant and thought it was cool). Because presidential politics tend to be more visceral than intellectual, Perry's coyote-killer good looks, $2,000 hand-tooled cowboy boots, supernova smile and Armani suits, combined with podium skills to embellish the mythology of Texas, all will create a product Americans will want to believe and buy.

After he wins the nomination, protocol will require Perry to have discussions with Bachmann about the vice presidential slot, but he will, eventually, turn to Sarah Palin. The general election will force the Texan back toward the middle and he will stop talking about faith and abortion and gay marriage; Perry will campaign on jobs and the economy.

Palin, who is loved by the tea party as much as Perry, will keep the Teavangelicals animated while he tries to talk to the adults to win the election on a single issue: the economy, stupiderest!!! (Forget about Rudy Giuliani; the GOP cannot win New York, don't need it to take the election and Giuliani is wrong on gay marriage for this ticket).

Bennett: Make-or-break time for GOP field

The general election will, quite literally, decide the fate of a nation. Every time Team Obama criticizes the Texas economy for its minimum wage job boom, the president will be accused of attacking the working men and women of America. (Texas has created a large share of the new jobs in the United States in the last decade but studies indicate many of them are at places like Wal-Mart and Carl's Jr.)

President Obama will also get beaten up for presiding over the first bond rating downgrade in U.S. history as well as high unemployment. When the cold rains fall in early November next year, unemployed voters in places like Ohio will step into the booth and dream of a minimum wage job in the Texas sun selling fishing rods at big box sporting goods stores or working in call centers; they will vote against Barack Obama.

And in the process, they will write the epitaph to set upon the tombstone of history's greatest democracy: Perry-Palin, 2012.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of James Moore.