As I suggested in my last post the economic conservatives-the editorial page of WSJ, IBD as well as the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute, etc-are quite infatuated with Rick Perry. The one added bonus for Perry is he's got the other side of the conservative coin too-the social conservatives/religious Right also love him-as opposed to Romney.
He has both bases covered as far as that goes-both the social and economic conservatives love him. What he doesn't have is the blessing of the Republican party establishment which is with Romney.
I still think Romney is the likely nominee but I do think that Perry is a dark horse that liberals should watch-mostly so as to counter the specious economic arguments which have already been started in support of him. He is credited with a "Texas miracle" and remember no matter how false it is-it is false-it will be repeated in the mainstream press.
No real progs would even think of voting for him-other than maybe at Firedoglake where their candidate is "Anybody but Obama 2012." There are of course many reasons-too many to count starting with Perry's extremely reactionary and bigoted prayer breakfast-not to vote for him. However we are living in a time of extreme recession and he will be built up as a "job creator."
In Perry make no mistake about it we have a real live neanderthal. He is against a woman's right to choose has some very homophobic opinions about gays and has some very bigoted friends. I still do see him as something of a dark horse in the GOP primary and can see the case they will make for him against Obama.
They will focus on the Texas unemployment rate which at 8.1% is beneath the national rate of 9.1% and they will point out that half the jobs gained since the recovery started in March 2009 have come from Texas.
Now I'm not saying Perry deserves the credit he is taking for this but in a time of such economic hardship it is not hard to see how this might seem a palatable message to many who might say 'ok so he's a bit of a religious nut and I don't like his views on abortion but at least he's a job creator. Maybe that's a fair trade.'
This is why liberals have to be prepared for this as this will be the case they build for him. In reality he's not only just like Bush but if anything he is to the right of Bush. He is all about low taxes, low public services, and low wages, and little regulation. His is the kind of economic policy Michael Lind criticizes in "Made in Texas."
In looking at the alleged "miracle" more closely some of it is an accident of demographics. As there are so many people in Texas it's not surprising that a large amount of the new jobs have come from Texas as many jobs are needed in Texas just to keep up with population growth.
Texas as a state has certain home advantages without question: the rise in fuel prices this benefits this state in particular as does the rise in military spending from the two wars.
These kinds of benefits have nothing to do with Perry and would not be repeatable at the national level. Texas also benefited greatly from Obama's stimulus for which Perry gets even less credit for as he opposed it and the state has benefited from it over his objections-indeed he has continued to deny some of the benefits the State of Texas has a right to.
And of course many of these jobs are very low paying. Essentially the neat trick the IBD and WSJ editorial pages are trying to pull is to convince us that Bushonomics-what got us into this mess-are what is gonna get us out. As perverse as this is you got to admire their chutzpah.
Anyone got any more info about the Texas economy that refutes this Urban Legend we're all ears!
In an update see Krugman's good work for today
"The Texas Unmiracle" Gotta love Krugman!