Rick Perry for President 2012?

Every few months we get subjected to another Rick Perry 2012 boomlet.

Let me make a suggestion: do not take any article seriously that suggests Governor Perry is running for president unless it mentions at least a few facts (which I outlined a few weeks ago in Spanish, mas o menos)

1. An important slice of Perry’s political team has signed on with Newt Gingrich.
2. Gov Perry decided to be the head of the Republican Governor’s Association
3. Is the nation really going to sandwich four years of Obama with Texas governors?

Points one and two reveal the same thing: Perry has shown zero interest in running for president. He decided to forgo a 2012 presidential run when he became the head of the RGA. That’s not an unbreakable commitment, of course, but it’s not nothing. If you think there’s any chance that you’ll be running for president, you don’t became RGA Chair. And you definitely keep your political team from signing up with others . . . which happened in the last few months. So he still wasn’t considering a 2012 run recently and unless Newt drops out (looks significantly more likely after his gaffe on Meet the PRess), you have to wonder if he wants to start a presidential run with completely different staff.

Finally, the third point. Texans know it is far from the truth, but the rest of the nation would view Perry as “the next George W. Bush.” That’s a tough place to start a campaign in this cycle. Getting over Texas fatigue is a pretty large X factor.

Ricardo Boilerplate Sanchez?

Ricardo Sanchez announced that he was running for Senate this afternoon with a two paragraph boilerplate statement on Facebook (kinda played out by now, isn’t it?). Back when the trial balloon was originally floated, I expressed some skepticism that General Sanchez would prove to be a good candidate:

Sanchez will have to explain his candidacy. Why now? What’s his motive for running? He can’t run against the Bush administration — which has been the point of most of his media appearances since retiring from office. He can’t run on the Iraq war. He will have to talk about the Obama administration’s wars — which will probably put him either at odds with the president or with the liberal base. What does he know about economics, solving America’s debt crisis or creating jobs?

So what did he come up with in his announcement to explain why he is running? Boilerplate. Trite phrases used by liberal Democrats across the nation. Probably written by a consultant who apparently wasn’t even feeling creative that day. Here’s the McAllen Monitor with Sanchez’s announcement:

“Here in Texas, too many families are struggling to get ahead,” Sanchez wrote. “Jobs are hard to find, our schools simply aren’t good enough and increasing food and gas prices are breaking household budgets.”

All of those phrases return thousands of hits in google searches. They’re all just standard things that Democratic consultants write. These phrases have all appeared word-for-word in many a Democratic politician’s speech. “Families struggling to get ahead” is particularly popular in New England. New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Maryland Governor Tommy Carcetti Martin O’Malley’s State of the State. How ’bout faux populist John Edwards? The list goes on.

Am I being unfair? “Jobs are hard to find” has appeared in speeches from Democratic Senators like Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, Montana’s Max Baucus, Vermont’s Socialist Bernie Sanders, and South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, etc. Likewise, “schools simply aren’t good enough” is a recent line from Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Repeating standard Democratic talking points word-for-word in Texas is not a winning strategy. Sanchez completely missed an opportunity to explain his candidacy — he just defined himself as a standard-issue Democratic candidate running on the same things consultants write all over the nation.

And yikes, apparently his consultants — or perhaps General Sanchez himself, but I’m being charitable — decided that he should announce but reject all media interviews because he needs to prepare to face the media:

Sanchez was not available for media interviews Wednesday as he preps for a formal announcement at a later date. He released a two-paragraph statement on his Facebook page where he said the state needs “leadership that focuses on results rather than politics.”

Meanwhile, someone already started a Veterans Opposed to Ricardo Sanchez page on Facebook.

If I were a Democrat, I’d find the lackluster start quite disheartening.

Fooled by randomness in the gambling bill?

It’s hard to see how the legislature can balance the budget without revenue from expanded gambling, meaning that gambling is quite likely to pass the Texas Legislature this year. Yesterday, Paul Burka posted the spin from one prominent gambling lobbyist. But not all gambling interests are the same, and frequently they end up fighting each other the hardest. Here’s the (slightly edited) perspective of another prominent gambling lobbyist who represents a different interest:

Paul Burka was told that by the lobbyist that Chairman Hamilton was going to move a bill today that included all different gambling interests (they referred to it as the whole enchilada bill). However, the vote counts came back devestatingly low for the proposal to add slot machines at bingo halls and casinos all over the state. But the numbers were much much better for slots at tracks and Indian reservations. Hamilton wanted to move a bill, so he just decided – on his own – to do this. Everyone was caught very much by surprise, as we thought the bill was dead [Friday]. The speaker’s office is as surprised as anyone.

We were scrambling to figure out what he passed out, as we thought the bill was toast, because the original bill had all this other stuff in it that we knew he couldn’t get the votes for. Despite that, we tried to help him pass it but the vote count wasn’t even close a majority.

The lobbyist I talked to claims that Hamilton’s current bill is only a few votes short of the 100 necessary to pass a gambling bill. That might be why the jilted side is trying to implicate Straus – to try and make it tougher for the bill to pass.

Paul Burka’s closing line was snappy, “Things seldom happen in the Capitol by chance. Even gambling.” According to the other side, he was fooled by randomness.