Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mitt Perry?

Think about it, what would the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, need for a winning ticket in the 2012 presidential race?

As John F. Kennedy realized back in 1960, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, it is hard to win any presidential race without a Southern stronghold like Texas.

But, it's even harder for Republicans. As an article in CNN first reported, no Republican ticket has succeeded in winning the White House in the past thirty years or more without a Texan as part of the team.

So, there is nothing curious about Perry's grand entrance recently in the Republican fold. Is his decision to run, as Perry asserts the result of his wife's coaxing, or perhaps somehow related to the same folks who coaxed him to change parties after being a Democrat for years?

It is, after all, about packaging. Essentially, Perry is Romney with a bit more testasterone maybe. They're both wedded to big business. They both morph according to political convenience. Both are uber-politicans. Both tout their business acumen which, roughly translated, means they're effective in the sack with corporate special interests. Both seem to respect corporate personhood more than human personhood. And, both Perry and Romney will benefit from the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United. Romney is indeed the Tweedle Dee to Perry's Tweedle Dum.

So, why then wouldn't Romney and Perry join forces? They seem to complement each other like two sides of the same coin. It would come as no surprise were Gov. Romney to invite Gov. Perry to be his vice president. Why? Again, go back over the Republican administrations of the past thirty years or more, starting with Ronald Reagan, et voila, there's been a Texan on the ticket.

And, in a Shakespearean twist of irony, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts' decision to invite another Texan Lyndon B. Johnson, led to passage not only of the Civil Rights Act, but the Voting Rights Act, and sweeping legislation for desegregation.

Even Democrats have been forced to pay lip service to the so-called Southern strategy that Perry, Bachmann, Paul, and Palin represent, a strategy first adopted by Richard Nixon, and continued under Pres. George H.W. Bush, that other "Texas miracle."

The Southern strategy, as the New York Times first reported back in 1996, was to win elections by exploiting racial antagonism harbored by Southern white voters against African-Americans using the euphemism of states' rights. The "states rights" argument has often been code for circumventing the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. Why should
the Republican nominating process in 2012 be any different?

To the contrary, what's happening now is remarkably similar to what happened half a century ago. John F. Kennedy, a Northerner, found himself partnering up with Lyndon B. Johnson, the quintessential Southerner.

But it wasn't until Richard Nixon came along that the ascendancy of Southern white supremacy became a political strategy.

Rick Perry's comet-like entry into an otherwise insipid Republican field reeks of of the tea party's promise "take our country back." And, whether he likes it or not, Mitt Romney will have to fast rewind to another president, Ronald Reagan, and also find himself partnering up with a Texan.

By the time Labor Day 2012 rolls around, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will congeal so effectively that, like peanut butter, they will simply come to be known as "Mitt Perry."