Second chances are abundant in America regardless of jurisdiction.
Steve Jobs saving the company he built upon returning to Apple.
Richard Nixon recovering from a devastating defeat to JFK in the 1960 Presidential election, only to capture the White House eight years later.
John Travolta rebooted in Pulp Fiction, which led to a series of unintentionally hilarious (and successful) action-adventure movies for the next five years (Broken Arrow, Face Off, Mad City, etc.).
And of course, Bill Clinton (whom Travolta loosely played during that stretch) for somehow turning the Lewinsky scandal into a net positive on the polling front…
Up until the immigration crisis came to a head a few weeks ago and dominated national headlines and cable news debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry was seen by some as the Republican answer to Joe Biden: A likable political veteran who has a reputation of being gaffe-prone and therefore shouldn’t be taken too seriously when talk turns to potential presidential candidates.
Biden has made several runs at the Presidency dating back to 1988 (when allegations of plagiarism forced him to quit the race against a beatable Michael Dukakis) and most recently in 2008, when President Obama eventually tapped the Delaware senator primarily to shore up his lack of foreign policy experience. Biden will surely run again in 2016, and sticking with tradition, will almost surely lose to whomever the nominee ends up being (Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren).
So when comparing the talk of a second Rick Perry run for President in 2016, the predictions have gone from, “Tony Romo has a better chance of being a Super Bowl MVP” to “Boy, he looks very presidential in his handling the border crisis. If he runs, he’d be a formidable opponent.”
But can Perry really overcome the optics he created of himself in 2012?
More importantly, can the 64-year-old overcome simply being a former Republican Texas Governor?
Yes, he’s been front and center on the issue of immigration. He’s been a commanding presence. Unlike the President—who ignored some fellow Democrats in not visiting the border out a sudden adversity to photo-ops—Perry has been there and can speak to the challenges and complexities as well as anyone. The governor–complete with what some inside media are calling the Maddow Glasses–has also avoided coming across as too partisan or radical in his measured criticism of the President in the dozens of interviews he’s conducted over the past two weeks. And words matter, particularly those of the written variety. To that end, Perry’s decision to release a letter he wrote to Mr. Obama in 2012 warning of this exact scenario stomps out any talk of him being a Monday morning quarterback on what is unfolding at the border.
So the question for now is: Can Perry win the nomination? Conservative media has always been wary of him, basically putting him the same “moderate” category as Chris Christie. When asking conservatives who their top choice out of Texas is to run for President, Senator Ted Cruz is almost always the first answer.
Rest assured, many Democrats and their supports in liberal media circles are likely rooting for a Perry vs. Clinton or Warren matchup. You can see the black-and-white split-screens being made already of Perry and George W. Bush. The narrative is just too easy and predictable in the campaign ads: (cue female voice over): “Does America really need to return to the days of George W. Bush? Elect another former Texas governor in Rick Perry and that’s exactly what we’ll get (cue creepy music).” We’ve seen a review already when CNN’s Paul Begala when asked what the President would gain by meeting with Perry: ““If he’s going to pick Rick Perry’s brain, that’s the definition of slim pickins.”
But with Rand Paul to Marco Rubio to the aforementioned Cruz each having their own image challenges among mainstream Republicans, a Perry GOP win is suddenly entirely possible. Exhibit A: A new poll out of New Hampshire shows Mitt Romney enjoying a solid lead on all other Republican prospects. It’s early, of course, but being a former (and largely successful) governor not associated with a Senate or Congress with overall poor approval ratings ain’t the worst position in the world to be in.
A California governor once ran for President and lost in 1976 to a vulnerable Gerald Ford. He came back four years later to easily capture the Presidency over an even-more-vulnerable Jimmy Carter.
Second chances are popular in this part of the world.
LeBron goes back to Cleveland.
Mark Sanford goes back to South Carolina.
If she runs for president, Hillary Clinton hopes the second time is a charm.
Same thought applies to the once-unthinkable second national campaign of Rick Perry.
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