The "charm offensive," that is. An editorial in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times calls out Rick Perry on schmoozing with our legislators now that, you know, he might need them for something:
But Perry would have been a better governor if he had worked as hard then at establishing working relationships with legislators and political leaders as he seems to be now. The political writer for the AP, Kelly Shannon, wrote that Perry has traveled across the state to meet with legislators, often in their hometowns. The trips are done in conjunction with promoting his book on Boy Scouts, "On My Honor," or to make an appearance at a local event, such as the groundbreaking in Fredericksburg for an expansion for the National Museum of the Pacific War. In Fredericksburg, he met over lunch with Rep. Harvey Hildebran, a Kerrville Republican, and Doug Miller, a New Braunfels Republican running in November for a House seat. In Laredo, Perry attended a merienda hosted by State Sen. Judith Zaffrini and ate burgers with legislators in San Antonio. He's managed to work in discussions about higher education funding, about border security, the state budget, and roads and water. These conversations are all to the good ahead of what some consider a coming tough session. But there is also political context here.
Perry has already announced he's running for a third term. It is possible that Perry would find himself in a high-powered Republican primary race in 2010 against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, or both. That means that Perry, who was elected with about 39 percent of the vote in a six-candidate race in 2006, would find it helpful to have a legislative success that he could claim as his own. That kind of success means schmoozing with other politicians, establishing relations and setting up lines of communication. In other words, the kind of things that a governor who wants to be effective should have been doing.
I wonder how hard any of these legislators might fall for Gov. Perry's "charm offensive." Even if it translates into meaningful cooperation come legislative session (which is at least a little bit doubtful), he still doesn't show up to the 2010 race with the most impressive record, and everyone can still ask where he's been for the last eight years.Posted by Alexandria Ragsdale on May 24, 2008 to The great state of Texas