Scholars are weighing in on Rick Perry.
The New Republic reports:
To a large extent, Perry’s unusual success as a politician has less to do with his personal prowess as a campaigner than with his skill at navigating the peculiarities of Texan state-wide elections. “It’s like in tennis,” says Harvey Tucker, professor of political science at Texas A&M. “The court surface determines the style of the match.”
And Texas, Tucker notes, “is an unusual electoral landscape”—which is to say it’s nearly empty. The Democratic Party in Texas is nearly nonexistent, and puts up only the most pro forma candidates. (“The Democrats are weak in ways that are not even indicated in the low numbers or poor electoral results,” says Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project and a professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. “As an organization, the Democrats are just—I can’t even come up with a negative enough word.”) And judging from the low turnouts in the Republican primary elections—the only votes in Texas that really count for anything—even the ruling party in Texas is extremely dispirited. In the 2002, 2006, and 2010 votes in which Perry was elected governor, only around 4 percent of the voting-age population turned out for the Republican primary.
"The base loves the bravado, the base loves the governor talking tough, but nationwide, I don't think they're going to love that bravado so much," St. Edward’s political science professor Brian Smith said.
Perry's main message is touting job growth and bashing President Barack Obama for what Perry calls a “failed economy.”
Smith said the governor’s word choice from here on out, in any capacity, will be crucial to his political future.
"You look back to 1988, going in Michael Dukakis, that's all you heard about--the ‘Massachusetts miracle,’” he said. “By the end of the election no one ever heard those words again, and if Perry plays his hand wrong, he could be in the same situation."
Perry maintains that Texas is responsible for 40 percent of job growth in the nation.
International Business Times reports:
International Business Times spoke to Jamie P. Chandler, a political science professor at Hunter College in New York City, to assess Perry’s candidacy.
IBTIMES: When Rick Perry announced his candidacy for president, did he become the automatic Republican front-runner? Or does Romney still claim that spot?
CHANDLER: Perry is not an automatic frontrunner. Until the official start of election season in January, the candidates are running in what’s called the ‘Invisible Primary.’ During this period, the candidates are testing their viability via media coverage, fundraising, name recognition, attractiveness to key state party leaders, and endurance. It’s still too early to rank where Perry falls in the race. Romney continues to lead in fundraising and Bachmann in media coverage, so they’re the presumptive frontrunners. Ron Paul is also doing well in State party Convention Straw Polls, and may prove to be the “Dark Horse.” The true test of Perry’s electability over the next several months will be in how he manages his campaign to gain momentum. This is a difficult task for any candidate, even those who are assumed to have a high chance of winning. In November of 2007, 42 percent of Republican voters said they would vote for [Rudy] Giuliani if the election were held that month, but his campaign strategy ended those hopes pretty quickly by February 2010. Perry is also going to need to be very careful on the kinds of statements he makes over the next several days as some Conservatives have already criticized him for his statement questioning President Obama’s patriotism.