Two weeks ago, I warned that Rick Perry was the right candidate for many Americans, given the global shift in power politics: “Rick Perry = Margaret Thatcher?” I argued that he had to be taken seriously, and that for many he seems to offer a way to make American strong again by cutting past social commitments, a la Thatcherism in Britain.
Betting on Perry as the Republican candidate now looks easy – in the latest CNN poll, he dominates, with 27% of Republican voters favoring him as against 14% for Romney, 10% for Palin, and 9% for Bachmann. That an almost 2-1 lead over Romney, and 3-1 over Bachmann.
Perry has numerous advantages. Unlike Mitt Romney, he has huge appeal to southern and evangelical voters. Unlike Michelle Bachman, Perry is already deeply plugged into mainstream republican money resources, and has strong backing from the business community. Perry also has a record of executive success in a state that is well above average in job creation and below average in taxation. I think the race for the nomination is his to lose, and unless the economy improves dramatically in the next year (something that Republicans in Congress will do all they can to prevent), the same could be true for the Presidential election. We had better get used to paying serious attention to Perry and his policies.