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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid