Perry’s Money Machine

August 10th, 2011 at 1:18 am | 38 Comments |

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Zac Morgan wrote a great piece here at FrumForum where he described how Texas Governor Rick Perry is in a unique position to unite different factions of the GOP.  Morgan described Perry as the “Teastablishment” candidate.  While much of the attention has focused on Perry’s Tea Party and religious conservative strengths, I’d like to discuss the establishment side of his political capital, namely his ability to access a key financial pillar of the GOP donor base – wealthy Texas Republicans.

Perry is a prodigious fundraiser and has raised over $100 million in his gubernatorial campaigns.  He is not uncomfortable meeting a group of businessmen in a boardroom and this has always been a strong point for him.  While his rhetoric may be populist, he doesn’t use rhetoric that can come off as a type of right-wing class warfare.  (Unlike some conservatives like Sarah Palin).  This is helpful in fundraising and in making affluent voters feel comfortable with a candidate.

If Perry runs, he will have first-class access to the Texas Republican donor base.  While this may seem obvious and would be true regarding the local donor base of any Governor from a given state, I’d suggest this is of particular importance given Texas’s economic strength and historic role in modern conservative politics.  On the first point, Texas has had a better time of it during this recession and thus there is a fair amount of money on the table.  More importantly, the Texas conservative donor base has long been a source for donations that runs independently from other conservative donor bases.  At its best, it’s acted as a counterbalance to the East Coast or California GOP establishments.  At its worst, it can fund some admittedly cranky stuff.  (For more information on both, I suggest that anyone reading this pick up a copy of Brian Burrough’s The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes for some historical context.)

While times have changed since the era described in Burrough’s book, one can still say there is a Texas conservative establishment that follows its own path and has real power.  A candidate who can dominate that constituency has a major leg up on his or her opponents and Rick Perry is in a position to do that.  Doing so will place him in a strong financial position, and one that can encourage donors in other parts of the country to join his bandwagon.

Rick Perry hasn’t announced whether he’s running for the GOP presidential nomination (though it looks like that’s around the corner), so one can’t make head-to-head comparisons at this time.  Also, other GOP candidates are very much in the hunt regarding Texas donors. For example,  Mitt Romney has raised serious funds in Texas and Jon Huntsman has former Congressman Tom Loeffler (a major Texas GOP fundraiser) in his corner.  But Perry is in a unique position to capture much of this constituency, and this constituency has an outsized influence in Republican politics.  That is a strength that should not be overlooked.

Recent Posts by Mark R. Yzaguirre

38 Comments so far ↓

  • Bunker555

    Originally posted by laingirl, a couple of weeks ago. Relevant story

    “But the enthusiasm over a possible Perry candidacy has thus far clouded one inconvenient truth: While the governor is currently the model of a Tea Party politician, his past includes plenty to give Tea Partiers and social conservatives pause if and when they decide to take a closer look:” The skeletons in Rick Perry’s closet

    • Redrabbit

      What makes this a particularly serious problem for Perry is that he will be running against Bachmann, and both will be competing for the same demographic in a way that the other candidates will not. I highly doubt she will pull ANY punches if she thinks she has to convince Baggers that Perry is not one of them, less ‘pure’ than she is, or whatever.

      Perry may be appealing to some in the establishment, and may be able to ‘bridge’ the gap, but that alone could be a liability for Bachmann to exploit, and it could be enough to turn angry Baggers against him before he has a chance to make real inroads. They seem to already have a pretty solid connection with Bachmann, and that puts Perry in a potentially tough position. Any attacks on her from Perry, and there is little doubt that she will fire back with everything she has. But he can’t be passive if he wants to draw voters away from her, either.

  • Redrabbit

    It is worth considering how unpredictable primaries can be. Look at 2008. Guiliani and Thompson were expected to be MAJOR figures in the race and a serious threat to the Democratic nominee, but they fell flat with a resounding thud.

    Huckabee, a nobody whom almost no one had heard of before, came out with a surprise showing in Iowa that gave him momentum that no one would have expected, and until earlier this year he was thought to be a major figure in 2012. I know that some people on here thought Huckabee was, and still would have been, Obama’s most formidable opponent.

    Man observers expected Mittens to take the lead against McCain early on and sail to victory once the other contenders fizzled out. But he threw it in halfway through.

    This cycle has been filled with similar twists, and the primaries haven’t even started yet! Mitch Daniels was once the favorite of many factions of the GOP ‘elite’, but in the end he just didn’t seem like he wanted to run. Chris Christie was once thought to be the answer, until he finally decided not to run. Even recently there were a few big donors begging him to run. Haley Barbour was another favorite for some who never went anywhere.

    There is also the case of Timmy Pawlenty, who was thought to be ‘serious’ enough to please the establishment and appeal to the general electorate, but he never picked up steam at all.

    To be sure, there have been things that were not so surprising. I don’t think anyone with their head on right expected Gingrich or Herman Cain to get anywhere.

    Hell…maybe Palin will jump in at the last minute. The best argument in favor of her somehow getting involved that I’ve heard, and maybe it was posted on Frumforum, is that her entire ‘brand’ has been driven by only one thing. The question of whether or not she runs. The moment Palin says she is not running, then no one really has any incentive to pay attention to her ever again. She could jump in the race just to stay in the spotlight, and for no other reason. Don’t underestimate how far a narcissist will go for their own self-satisfaction.

    Will Perry get in the race? Perhaps. Will he win the nomination? Maybe. But at this time in 2007, a lot of people expected a few other players to be shoe-in’s for the nomination, and none of them really amounted to anything, and one who nobody thought even mattered was a breakout candidate for a while. In the end, electoral predictions are a fools game.

    And finally, just to reiterate what has been said millions of times before…straw polls are almost completely useless. Just because that is likely to come up at some point in this thread.

  • rbottoms

    While his rhetoric may be populist, he doesn’t use rhetoric that can come off as a type of right-wing class warfare.

    Just pre-Civil War Succession. What could be bad about that?


    • Smargalicious

      Shaddap, bottomly.

      Anyone can beat your man Odumbo, the “Debt Man Walking”. “Barackalypse Now”, said Rush. Har!

      • Redrabbit

        “said Rush”.

        You actually said that. Openly.
        Nothing else needs to be said, really.

        • Smargalicious

          LOL! BLASPHEMY!!

          How about these names to get you riled…

          BECK!!! PALIN!!! O’REILLY!! BOOGA BOOGA!!!


        • Redrabbit

          Once again, teabaggers show themselves to have the political equivalent of downs syndrome.

        • Idle Resources

          Wow! All the quip-and-banter adult-infants in one place.

  • Smargalicious

    Any threat to Odumbo The Messiah, like Perry, needs to be pummeled–right?

    The romance is gone. But don’t worry. It’s not Him; it’s you.

    It turns out we are the ones who failed Him. We weren’t prepared for a mega-dosage of awesomeness, The One We’ve Been Waiting For. We were too dimwitted to grasp the decency of central planning. And the insistence of troublemakers to engage in debate and vote, in fact, is the most serious threat to this nation’s future.

    Do Americans really have some innate autocratic tendency that makes them desperately seek out a half-term senator “wherever” he may lead?

    Charles Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, recently echoed Westen’s authoritarian sentiment in a Daily Beast piece, titled “Obama Is Too Good for Us,” wherein he disparaged a system that allows mere simpletons to transfer their free market absurdity to Washington through elections. Similarly, Jacob Weisberg of Slate wrote that because of “intellectual primitives” on the right, “compromise is dead” and “there’s no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people. The president has tried reasonableness and he has failed.”

    “Reasonableness,” you’ll remember, is shoving a wholly partisan, Byzantine restructuring of the health care system through Congress in the midst of an economic downturn. But chipping a few billion off a $3.7 trillion budget in exchange for raising the debt ceiling is an act of irrationality that has, apparently, sucked the very soul from the American project.

    The sight of a crumbling Cult of Obama — and with it the end of the progressive presidency — has many on the left so frustrated that they simply dismiss the very idea of ideological debate. To challenge the morality and rationality of Obamanomics only means you’re bought, too stupid to know any better or, most likely, both. A slack-jawed hostage-taking saboteur.

    Armed with this unearned intellectual and ethical superiority, it is not surprising to hear someone like John Kerry reprimand the media for even covering conservative viewpoints. It is predictable that the Senate would “investigate” a private entity like Standard & Poor’s for giving an opinion on American debt that conflicted with its own. (Remember when not listening to the Dixie Chicks was a “chilling of free speech”?)

    Obama himself blamed the volatile stock market on the “prolonged debate over the debt ceiling … where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip.” So it’s not the job-killing policy or another $4 trillion of debt in two years that’s problematic; it’s the insistence of elected officials to represent their constituents that’s really killing America.

    Following the lead of the Environmental Protection Agency, Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently used this imagined “dysfunction” as an excuse to try to unilaterally implement comprehensive education “reform” by bypassing law and using a waiver system. Why? “Right now,” Duncan explained, “Congress is pretty dysfunctional. They’re not getting stuff done.”

    Hate to break the news to you, Arne; for many Americans, stopping this administration from “getting stuff done” is getting stuff done.

    The Founding Fathers rightly feared that the purer the democracy the more susceptible voters would be to the emotion of the moment and the demagogues who take advantage of it. Needless to say, we are democratic enough to get the politicians we deserve.

    But debate is not dysfunction. Feel free to bemoan the fact that the American people are not automatons, but “getting stuff done” is not the charge of the Constitution. Neither is having a king, though sometimes you get the feeling that a lot of folks who believe in power as the wellspring of morality are really annoyed by that fact.

    • Oldskool

      “I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting,” he said. “Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming.” -Mitch McConnell

    • ottovbvs

      Looks like they opened the computer room at Bellevue early this morning.

    • indy

      This is copyrighted material, and you are well outside the bounds of ‘fair use’. Noah, if you read this, this should be removed or edited.

  • TerryF98

    Perry, the money men have found their puppet. Bush2 on steroids. Enjoy.

  • ottovbvs

    Absolutely fantastic news. Looks like Perry will have access to loads of dollars to run for president. I hope it helps him win the nomination. The perfect representative of today’s Republican party. Sure to guarantee a great victory for them.

  • SolvingAmerica

    The point is moot, as Dylan Ratigan pointed out yesterday. When the US Congress is bought and paid for, it matters very little who is elected President. The money flowing into Rick Perry’s coffers is the problem. Until money is taken out of politics, the American people have little input and little opportunity to improve society.

    • balconesfault

      The point is moot, as Dylan Ratigan pointed out yesterday. When the US Congress is bought and paid for, it matters very little who is elected President.

      Ummm … bullshit.

      If nothing else, the President has an enormous influence over how the Executive Branch of Government is run – whether chief regulators actually believe that government regulation is a good and necessary thing for the economy, whether enforcement officials wink at violations or prosecute them, whether programs are run to deliver goods and services to the portion of the public they’re designed to assist … or whether they’re run as money machines for contractors by officials concerned more about their next job than their current one.

      Anyone who follows government closely knows how much progress has been made in restoring the bureaucracy to effectiveness after 8 years of open warfare against government competency.

  • ottovbvs

    “it matters very little who is elected President.”

    Ratigan as is usual gets it wrong with his superficial sound bites. The Executive is immensely more powerful than the other branches of govt. In fact the entire Madisonian construct of three co-equal branches of govt is largely obsolete. However, I don’t disagree with your observation about the pernicious influence of money on the US political system which largely functions on the basis of legalised bribery.

  • Sidfinkel

    Perry is going to annihilate Mr. Romney, in part because he will attack strongly and Mr. Romney is not going to be able to respond once and if he recovers from the shock of being attacked.

    This post here explains pretty succinctly how Perry will win

    I mean, why have a faux conservative when you can have the real thing?

  • TerryF98

    Any man who dyes his hair is not fit for high office. As Reagan proved.

  • NotFooledTX

    Of course he has a remarkable “money machine” – he’s been the best governor money can buy.

    He’s a dumber more corrupt version of GW Bush, lord help us if he gets anywhere close to the White House. Chronyism at it’s finest. We’re still paying the price for his cowboy predecessor.

  • laingirl

    Personally I think Perry is just an actor with good timing who really doesn’t have strong feelings or knowledge about religion or much of anything else. As with most of us Texan, he probably grew up going to church on Sundays and attending Vacation Bible School in the summer; however, there is no actual proof he has been closely aligned with any church or ministers over the years. He certainly did not support any financially as his tax returns over 10 years show his contributions to religious organizations averaged around 1% per year and much of his charitable giving consisted of used clothing and household items to Goodwill. I guess tithing is not in his version of the Bible. My feeling about him are summed up by Harold Cook, a Democratic party strategist, who has known Perry for a while. In an interview for the Guardian he said:

    “For the most part he is unencumbered by conscience. That’s a real luxury. If you aren’t worried about real policy all that’s left is for your political director to tell you what’s unpopular.”

    The article about Perry in the Guardian may be found here:

    Perry would have made a hellova encyclopedia or used car salesman, but Texas lost the lottery and got him for governor. God help us if he gets elected president.

  • Southern Populist

    Perry has a better chance of winning the presidency than any other GOP contender. First, Perry has every presidential candidate’s most important qualification: access to Big Money.

    Second, the parts of Perry’s record that will hurt him with the base will help him with just about everyone outside the base who is considering a vote against Obama.

    Third, Obama is self-destructing before our eyes. He had two full years with a super majority at his disposal, and instead of focusing on jobs he screwed around with his stupid HCR plan. In addition, Obama renewed the Patriot Act, didn’t close Gitmo, launched a new war, and his economic policies are a self-evident failure.

    Obama now has David Axelrod and his other lackeys out there blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade which is a pathetic.

    Harry Truman said “the buck stops here.”

    Barack Obama says “the buck stops with the majority party in the House of Representatives.” LOL.

    Obama better make a decision soon if he going to step aside for Hillary rather than let the Dems crash and burn in 2012.

    - DSP

    • TerryF98

      You obviously never look at polls that do not align with your ideology. If you open your eyes and mind you would find the GOP tanking to an all time low and Obama beating the mythical GOP generic candidate.

      But hey keep the blinkers on old chap! Giddy up.

      Perry the first secessionist President.

    • LFC

      He had two full years with a super majority at his disposal, and instead of focusing on jobs he screwed around with his stupid HCR plan.

      FYI, if by “super majority” you mean enough Democratic votes to get over the 60 seat filibuster hurdle (tripled in usage by the Republicans so that now even mundane items are blocked), it was actually closer to 5 months with Kennedy’s illness, death, and Scott Brown’s win. Just trying to keep it accurate.

    • ottovbvs

      “Third, Obama is self-destructing before our eyes.”

      I guess that’s why that CBS/NYT poll had him at 48% appro the other day.

  • Kingofthenet

    Here is my simple question for you Conservatives, When ‘Your’ guy gets to be President in say 2020, and He/She doesn’t walk on water or turn the US Economy into a MONSTER, what than? Will You say:
    A. He/She wasn’t a REAL Conservative
    B. It takes a long time to clean up Democratic Marxist damage?
    C. There isn’t a ‘Super’ Majority in BOTH Houses so the great President is stymied?
    Or some NEW novel excuse?

  • think4yourself

    I don’t know enough about Perry to render an opinion (but I will). I think he crowds out everyone except Romney and the two duke it out. One the ultimate establishment guy and the other an outsider with establishment credentials. I think Perry wins because the GOP is too afraid of the Tea Party.

    I think Perry has a better shot at Obama than Romney (with Romney, Obama can argue to Conservatives that he’s not really one of you and to Liberals that he’ll follow the Conservatives lead). Then it all boils down to jobs and unemployment. If it’s between 8.5% – 9.5% I think Obama wins ugly. Above 9.5% and I think Perry wins.

    The soft money in the campaign is the real issue. A good “swift boat” campaign can go after any one of the three with devastating results.

  • ottovbvs

    “A good “swift boat” campaign can go after any one of the three with devastating results.”

    And who do you think would have more exposure to such a campaign? Perry or Obama? And what don’t you know about Obama? It’s pure speculation of course but that’s what you’re doing but I’d say if Perry is the candidate Obama is going to win very, very big like 60% of the vote.

    • think4yourself

      Fair enough Otto. I didn’t choose my words well. By Swift Boat I meant a well funded attack by outsiders to the campaign (so the campaign has deniability) filled with lies an innuendos. You’re right about there not being new info about Obama and for the general public everything about Perry will be new.

      I don’t think Obama beats Perry by 60%. I do think it hinges on unemployment (under 8.5% Obama does well, and will have significant fundraising advantages, over 9% it gets close) and if unemployment is higher when voting than it is today, it’s tough to see how Obama wins. Especially if hardcore Progressives call for a challenger on the Left or try to pull Obama left (Cornell West has suggested a challenger would be good as have others).

      But, at this point all speculation.

  • lizerdmonk

    To think I was once Republican and now it’s just a complete joke that Reagan is probably flipping in his grave and today he would not be part of this party. They have lost there way and there minds in there quest for power and if this Retarded Cowboy is the best the party can come up with. Obama will win again and I can’t believe I am going to say this but there only hope is for Jeb Bush to come to the fold who seems to be the only Republican out there with a brain.

    • Bunker555

      Gary Johnson, ex NM Gov. would have made a very viable candidate. He does have a good brain and strong body. He has climbed to the top of Mt. Everest.

  • Redrabbit

    How about his connections to the insane group of fundamentalist totalitarians that literally dream of world domination?

  • forkboy1965

    That Perry’s a flip-flopper.

    Not running. Running.

    Can’t trust a man like that in the WH. He’s a poll-chaser.