Updated: August 11, 2013 6:43AM
Farewell, Rick Perry! We’ll miss you, those of us out in fake America, unless Texas is fake America, because of the whole Republic thing, in which case you will be missed in all the various Americas. Because once you are done as governor of your massive, slightly ridiculous oil-soaked state, you will pretty much be done.
Perry is not going to seek a fourth term as governor of Texas, a high-status, low-authority gig that he has worked at longer than anyone else in history.
Perry isn’t just going to go away, or at least he doesn’t intend to. He is going to run for president. Because once a sufficient number of people have convinced an egomaniac that he would be a very good president, it’s hard for that egomaniac to let go of that dream, even after a bunch of voters do everything they can to discourage it.
In 2011, we in the rest of America were told to look out for Perry, that he was savvy, a brilliant politician, and that he’d be totally irresistible to the electorate once he made his inevitable decision to run for president. He turned out to be a dunce, completely incompetent at basic tasks like “debating” and “public speaking.” No one in 2016 will be particularly frightened of him, and he also probably won’t have the luxury of running against a field made up entirely of clowns and a front-runner no one in the party actually liked.
He’s amiable right-wing enough to suit the modern Republican Party, but he is also a bit of an idiot and nothing about him appeals to anyone outside his state. Republicans aren’t interested in him anymore, even in Texas. Public Policy Polling (a liberal shop, but still) has Hillary Clinton beating Perry 50 to 42 in a potential presidential contest. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed Texas Republicans preferring Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul over their finally outgoing governor.
Perry’s decision to join Texas Republicans in provoking a big fight over abortion access does make a bit of sense in this light: He wants to be 2016’s Rick Santorum, the choice of the fundamentalist set.
Perry will get to see his dream end in tears once more in 2016, at which point his only hope to remain in elected office will be a congressional seat or something. Though obviously he will also make a great deal of money “consulting” for some awful rich person or another, so it’s not all good news.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon, where this was posted.