Saddle up, buckaroos and buckarettes. We're going on our second presidential ride in 12 years. It doesn't matter who your candidate is or what your politics are, the presence of a Texas governor on a national ticket means some changes around here.
You remember how this goes, right?
• Ongoing national coverage of everything that's good and bad about Texas. Jobs. Health care. Highways. Prisons. Guns. Executions. Fracking. Everybody from Kalamazoo to Wasilla banging on doors from Paint Creek to Austin, putting together stories and research and whatnot about this latest Texas politician to take a try at the White House.
• The quiet that comes over a government in power while the political proctologists prowl and probe. How's that state budget working out? Which agencies got cut and might be hurting? What's in the files on economic development and where'd those jobs come from? How does public education compare? Higher education? What's with that budget trick on Medicaid and how's that different from spending the state's Rainy Day Fund?
• The heavy pleas for campaign money that come automatically with a local candidate. Texas is one of the ATM states, shoveling big money into national campaigns. And with a local pol on the ballot, the draw will be even stronger. It could pinch downballot candidates, too; this is a redistricting election, with new maps in place and everyone up for election. It's a hard time to be rich and politically active. Feel their pain.
There's the reputation thing, too, the Texas aura. Gov. Rick Perry, for better or for worse, will be the state's chief ambassador as long as he's running. He's the lens through which most of the country will see us.
So stand up straight and mind your accent.
The expectation as we come upon this issue's deadline is that Perry will announce, in drips, for a week or so. He'll be in the money game quickly, and he'll set up a campaign office and start spending time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, just like all the other Republican wannabes.
The apparent staff lineup won't surprise Perry watchers: Dave Carney as lead consultant, Rob Johnson running the campaign, Ray Sullivan in charge of communications, Deirdre Delisi on policy, Mark Miner doing the run-and-shoot spokesman duty, aided by former Perry press secretary Robert Black.
The campaign has already hit fundraisers with emails detailing the initial push for money. The New York Times snagged a copy that said the campaign will do four days of money events at the end of this month, in Texas, Oklahoma and New Orleans. The email, signed by George Seay of Dallas, ended with a short-lived call for secrecy. "It is imperative this e-mail is not shared with anyone not a supporter of Governor Perry. We are trying to run a tight, disciplined 'ship,' with zero interaction with nonsupporters or the media. Thank you for your full cooperation with this methodology."
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