The Texas governor ran an awful campaign in 2012. But his platform is now belatedly being embraced by party leaders.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign was a slow-motion train wreck, capped off by his embarrassing brain freeze in a nationally televised debate. But as Perry mulls another presidential race in 2016, it’s striking that he was campaigning on many of the reforms that Republican Party leaders are now desperately pushing.
Republicans have spent the past several months figuring out how to win over more Hispanic voters, moderating their tone on immigration, pitching education reform as a significant issue, and they have reaped the political benefits of challenging President Obama on balancing budgets and reforming entitlements. On all those counts, Perry was a candidate ahead of his time.
“I think he remains a motivated public official and an energized political figure,” said Perry’s former chief of staff Ray Sullivan. “On that score, I could easily see him seeking another term as governor and making another run at the White House.”
Take immigration reform. Eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney hammered Perry for his support of in-state tuition for undocumented workers in Texas. That was in 2012. Now Republican standard-bearers Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have changed the GOP’s tune on immigration. Rubio teamed with Democratic colleagues to draft principles that could become the starting point for immigration reform, and Paul broke outsome Spanish during a recent speech suggesting a pathway for illegal immigrants to become citizens.
CONTINUED at National Journal.