The Texas Tribune reports that Governor Rick Perry has created the “Rick PAC,” a political action committee designed to funnel Perry-approved money throughout the country in preparation for this year’s general elections nationwide. Specifically, the group will reportedly focus upon Congressional campaigns around the country. Given the horrendously gerrymandered districts in Texas, I take it that none of his “investments” will be close to home.
No doubt, this is yet another stop in the road to the White House for Rick Perry, who obviously wants to run for President in 2016. My pertinent sources range from “he’s inclined to do so” to “it’s a 100% done deal.” Suffice it to say, it’s safe to assume we will be talking up a Rick Perry 2016 campaign for at least another year, if not longer. I talked up the prospects of Perry’s tentative run last month in my 5 Part series on the 2016 election, but at this point, I think the more relevant conversation is about Perry’s transition out of the Governor’s mansion and beyond.
Perry is indubitably a lame duck at this point in his governorship (Quack! Quack!). The Legislature will not go into session again during his administration, and future leaders such as Senator Ted Cruz and Attorney General Greg Abbott have already taken over the microphone. Perry is at best an afterthought at this point, existing as a mere formality in Texas politics, only breaking the mold to exercise one of his few powers or walk the other way on an issue. Even his great archenemy, UT-Austin President Bill Powers, will outlast him in public office.
Now, Perry will surely combat the descriptor of being hobbled or a mallard of any form. He obviously still sees himself as the marauding, swaggering cowboy with near-omnipotent influence over all of Texas. And, to a certain extent, he still is.
Ross Ramsey at the Texas Tribune opined on Perry’s power earlier this year, when he compared him to former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullcok in the sheer amount of lemmings he has placed within every nook and cranny of State Government. It will take the better part of a decade for all this positions to come up for reappointment, and even then, bureaucrats have a pernicious penchant for adapting to new circumstances, such as a new Governor. Expect the old “Perry men” to quickly become “Abbott men” if and when the need arises.
But these debates aside, Perry’s de jure and de facto power in Austin will be reduced to zero in roughly five months. For the first time in many years, he will find himself evicted from public housing. Like any adjustment in one’s personal and professional life, the change may be frightening, but it also presents new opportunities. With unwavering alacrity, I am positive that Perry will be up for the challenge, whatever it might be.
In my opinion, Perry will make a major announcement of an “Explanatory Committee to look into a possible candidacy,” an evidently mandatory harbinger of the official Presidential announcement, sometime in March. That leaves a negligible amount of time in between his eviction from Colorado Street and the start of his stump speeches. The missing ingredient had been how to remain relevant between now and then. The “Rick PAC” will certainly be a good place to start.