News / USA

Can Perry Beat Obama in US 2012 Presidential Election?

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry leaves a campaign stop at Harvey's Bakery and Coffee Shop in Dover, New Hampshire August 18, 2011.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry leaves a campaign stop at Harvey's Bakery and Coffee Shop in Dover, New Hampshire August 18, 2011.
Greg Flakus

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently entered the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination and immediately soared to the top of public opinion polls.  Perry is popular with many conservatives, but he may not fare as well with moderates and independent voters if he wins the nomination and faces President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. 

Main appeal

Perry's main appeal to voters is that the state he has run for the past decade has created more jobs than any other.  In debates with Republican rivals, he promises to follow his Texas model to boost national economic growth.

"You give people the opportunity to risk their capital by lowering the tax burden on them, by lowering the regulatory climate, and you will see an American economy that takes off like a rocket ship," Perry said.

Criticism


Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney makes a point as Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) listens during the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney makes a point as Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) listens during the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011

But his rivals, especially former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, question Perry's criticism of the federal Social Security program for senior citizens.

"But the question is, do you still believe that Social Security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book came out [calling for the end of federal-controlled Social Security]  and returned [the Social Security problems] to the states, or do you want to retreat from that?" asked Romney during a debate.

"I think we ought to have a conversation, " responded Perry.

"We're having that right now, governor. We're running for president," Romney quipped.

Critics say Perry's criticism of Social Security and his stand on a number of other social issues may help him win the conservative votes he needs to secure the Republican nomination, but could undermine his appeal to the moderate voters he will need to win the presidency.

Mark Jones, chairman of Rice University's Political Science Department, has been keeping a close eye on Perry's presidential quest.

"If the focus of the campaign is not so much on jobs and the economy, but more is on these other issues such as social values, religion, things like Social Security, then I think the Perry candidacy would be doomed," Jones said.

Successes

Jones says Perry will do better by focusing on the jobs created in Texas during his time in office.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas added more than 700,000 private sector jobs in the past ten years, while large states like California and Michigan each lost more than 600,000 jobs.  Perry's rivals question how much credit he should get, noting that the Lonestar state has advantages that were in place long before he assumed office. But Mark Jones says that won't matter to voters.

"Texas has done well on jobs, that is tough to dispute and, from a political perspective that is difficult to dispute. Perry can say 'I created the jobs, " noted Jones.

Weaknesses

He says Perry is generally popular with the conservatives who form the base of the Republican party today, but he does have a few weak spots, like immigration.

Perry campaigned for governor calling for tough measures against crime along the nearly 2,000-kilometer border Texas shares with Mexico.

"If Washington won't protect our border, Texas will," promised Perry in a campaign ad.

But Perry angered some conservatives by endorsing a comprehensive immigration reform plan that they regard as giving amnesty to those who violated US law.

"We need to craft and pass an immigration bill that allows those individuals who are basically economic immigrants to move back and forth across that border," he said.

Hispanic vote

Mark Jones says this could be a problem for Perry among conservatives, but it could help him win Hispanic votes if he becomes the Republican candidate.

"He has sort-of tried to have his cake and eat it too [ have it both ways] on the immigration issue," noted Jones. "He does not want to alienate the right, so he talks a semi-tough line, but he doesn't do anything that might over alienate Hispanics who might otherwise want to vote for him."

Jones thinks Perry's biggest problem may be that some Republicans fear his more extreme positions could undermine him in a race against Mr. Obama. He says the more moderate Mitt Romney may take advantage of that.

"What Mitt Romney is going to do over the next six months is convince those same voters as well as moderate voters that Rick Perry is unelectable in the general election," Jones said.

Rick Perry has never lost an election, but his whole career has been in Texas. His big national test will begin early next year with the Iowa caucuses and the nation's first primary in New Hampshire.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs