As we wind down our series on presidential contenders, we look at Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s to-do list if he wants to be a serious contender in 2016. Remember, Right Turn will be back on August 12.
What does Perry need to do?
2. Remarkably, few Republicans are talking about energy; he’d do well to set out a specific energy policy and travel around the country promoting it.
3. Perry has time to prepare the detailed policy proposals that were missing in 2016. He has a higher bar to cross than some other candidates on policy ideas so he’d be wise to devote significant time to it while the national spotlight is elsewhere. On foreign policy, he should build on his sound instincts and show some finesse, in contrast to the immature isolationism of others on the right.
4. Make the case he was right about a lot of things in 2012 — a more flexible approach to immigration reform, an understanding of what a menace the Environmental Protection Agency has become, a state’s rights approach to gay marriage and the need for pro-business policies that are far more successful than President Obama’s.
5. Practice debating. It is not the whole ball of wax, but he’ll have to surprise people with greatly improved performances.
6. Get a top-flight campaign staff with national experience. In 2012 his team was not ready for prime time; he can’t afford that in 2016.
7. Be the adult candidate for the right-wing base. Understanding that tea partyers have suspicions about many of the top tier candidates and that characters like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) are hardly ready for prime time, Perry can aim to be the plausible candidate of the right.
8. Forget the gimmicks. Put aside ideas like a part-time Congress and repealing various Constitutional amendments. There is no need to defend every idea that popped into his head or made it into a book years ago.
9. Use his wife and family. These days candidates run as a team, and he should rely on his wife to soften his image.
10. His promotion of bans on late-term abortions is a plus in the primaries and even in the general election. He should be the effective pro-life candidate ready to propose doable measures that would focus on the last prong of Bill Clinton’s approach to abortion (“safe, legal and rare“).