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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs