Being anti-Bush Won't Hurt Rick Perry in 2012

As Texas Gov. Rick Perry seriously considers throwing his hat into the 2012 presidential contest, stories are being written about how his association with the word “secession” and his being out of favor with the Bush family will potentially hurt him should he mount a run.

To the contrary,  those associations will not hurt him and may actually enhance his candidacy.

Here’s how the New  York Times described Perry’s relationship with Bush:

On government spending, immigration  and education, Mr. Perry’s criticisms of Mr. Bush have given him cachet with conservatives, especially with Tea Party voters who blame the former president for allowing spending and the reach of government to grow rapidly.

Those criticisms have burnished the Perry image as less prone to ideological compromise or a fuzzy “compassionate” brand of conservatism, an appealing trait to those Republican primary voters seeking purity in their nominee. And they have helped Mr. Perry escape the shadow of Mr. Bush, whose sponsorship, along with that of his chief political strategist, Karl Rove, was critical to Mr. Perry’s rise.

But it antagonized Mr. Bush’s old team, many of whom endorsed Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in her unsuccessful primary challenge to Mr. Perry last year. Some are indicating that they will oppose Mr. Perry should he join the presidential race with an anti-Bush message.

Conveniently, those are many of the policies conservatives railed against during the Bush administration and the Republican led Congress during most of his tenure. In fact, some conservatives think such recklessness led to the election of President Obama.

One such example is the No Child Left Behind piece of legislation that angered conservatives from the very beginning. With an emphasis on test scores, school districs from Washington, D.C. to Georgia to California have seen scandals where teachers, whose incentives are tied to test scores, have cheated for their students.

Erick Erickson discusses it perfectly here:

Perversely, instead of using the standardized tests to measure a student’s progress and place the child with similar performing students in the next year’s grade to help the student, the tests track the teachers’ progress and punishes or rewards the teacher based on how well the student does on the test.

We are no longer teaching a nation of children how to think. We are no longer teaching a nation of children how to read and write and add and subtract and understand American history and balance chemical equations. We are teaching our children how to take a standardized test. And then, when they fail, we use the result to punish the teacher, not help the child.

In an article published last week in Real Clear Politics, Erin McPike, one of the best reporters covering the 2012 cycle, wrote:

Ask a political strategist inside the Beltway to assess Perry’s prospects for landing the GOP nomination — or the presidency — and a common response is: “He called for Texas to secede from the union, so he’ll never be president,” even though that’s not quite true.

If Perry enters the presidential contest, expect more stories to be written about Perry’s “secession” controversy and expect the Perry campaign to spend more time debunking those claims. It will keep the story alive, engender hatred from elites and the left, and conveniently put Perry on the side of Tea Party activists and conservatives who are fed up (conveniently the title of his book) with the federal government and its overreach.

Conservatives that are the most fervent this election cycle do not like George W. Bush because he is associated with an old guard GOP establishment. They don’t like the federal government, which they associate with Obama. How convenient of Perry to fall on the right side of both issues.

The mainstream media and the GOP establishment may think that being anti-Bush and having your named linked with “secession” are deal breakers in this cycle.

But I bet Perry’s team knows that certainly is not the case.