And, the Bush clan despises Perry. I’m quite happy to learn more about this fellow, because I’m fed up with the Bush brand.
Rick Perrys Tenth Commandment [excerpt] Speaking of presidents: Rick Perry has a complicated relationship with the Bushes, which is to say that hes hesitant to criticize them and they hate his guts. W. stayed well away from Perrys gubernatorial-primary melee against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose oatmeal-mushy Republicanism has a distinctly Bushian savor to it. But the mark of W. was all over the campaign against Perry. Former president George H. W. Bush endorsed Senator Hutchison, an unusual step for the habitually reserved retiree, who usually stays well removed from the dirty business of vote-grubbing, surveying the groundlings from the heights of his eminence. Bush père was joined in his support by former vice president Dick Cheney, who offered an endorsement and called Hutchison the real deal. Hutchison was further fortified by the Bush clans in-house Machiavelli, former secretary of state James Baker, who led the Florida recount fight in 2000 and remains their go-to fixer. W. mouthpiece Karen Hughes came out of the political woodwork to support the insurgency, along with W.s secretary of education Margaret Spellings. Karl Rove advised Team Hutchison. The gang was all there: All this in a primary challenge to unseat an incumbent Republican governor with one of the most conservative and most successful records to be found: Que paso, Bushes?
Part of that was payback. Perry, generally circumlocutious on the subject of W., gave himself a little time off the leash during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. Often caricatured as yet another snake-handling southern social conservative, Governor Perry backed thrice-married dress-wearing pro-choice lapsed Catholic Rudy Giuliani, on the theory that Rudy would be a badass commander-in-chief abroad and a reliable constitutionalist at home. Politics being politics, the Texan and the New Yorker met up in Iowa, where more than a few Hawkeye conservatives were already getting restive about out-of-control federal spending on the Republicans watch. Governor Perry let loose the observation that George and the Bushies hate it when Perry calls him George in public has never been a fiscal conservative. Never? Wasnt when he was in Texas . . . 95, 97, 99, George Bush was spending money. He also criticized Bush as being limp on immigration.
The truth hurts, but theres more to the Bush-Perry friction than that. One longtime observer of Lone Star politics described the Bushes disdain of Perry as visceral, and it is not too terribly hard to see why. The guy that NPR executives and the New York Times and your average Subaru-driving Whole Foods shopper were afraid George W. Bush was? Rick Perry is that guy. George W. Bush was Midland by way of Kennebunkport. Rick Perrys people are cotton farmers from Paint Creek, a West Texas town so tiny and remote that my Texan traveling-salesman father looked at me skeptically and suggested I had the name wrong when I asked him whether he knew where it was. (Governor Perry confesses that one of the politiciany things hes done in office is insisting that the Texas highway atlas include Paint Creek, making him the hometown boy who literally put the town on the map.) Bush is a Yalie, Perry is an Aggie. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard, and Perry was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, flying C-130s in the Middle East. Bush has a gentlemans ranch, Perry has the red meat. The irony is that Perry, a tea-party favorite, personifies the hawkish new fiscal conservatism that has allowed the GOP to find its way out from under George W. Bushs shadow, but he himself remains in the shade of that politically poisonous penumbra. [end excerpt]