Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has found an unlikely fan in Vox’s Matthew Yglesias. Ahead of Perry’s presidential announcement today, Yglesias published a piece (on the typically liberal site) that praised Perry’s impressive economic record in Texas. I’m not kidding.
Perry's 14 years in office, by contrast, included stints before, during, and after the Great Recession. His job creation record is the record of a big state weathering a national — indeed, global — economic calamity and doing a pretty good job of it. The Republican field is crowded, but Perry has the opportunity to stand out with a fairly unusual story of success.
Yglesias then lists some of Perry’s particularly notable achievements, including Texas’s rapid job creation (Texas accounted for 31 percent of all new jobs in America when he was governor), affordable housing, and population growth. These statistics from March offer confirmation:
Texas continues to dominate major metropolitan area growth. Among the 53 major metropolitan areas (with more than 1 million population), Texas cities occupied three of five top positions in population growth, and four of the top 10.
No other candidate in the race can match these credentials, Yglesias argues.
Another factor that makes Rick Perry's Texas narrative compelling is that his rivals have weak stories to tell. Scott Walker's war on union power in Wisconsin is something Republicans embrace as a matter of principle. But it hasn't unleashed any "Wisconsin Miracle" he can brag about. Jeb Bush governed through a housing bubble that ended in tears. Marco Rubio seems to impress almost every room he walks into, but he hasn't really done much of anything except serve as a frontman for an immigration bill he ended up disowning. Ted Cruz's big achievement is grandstanding.
It may be presumptuous to assume Yglesias is on Team Perry, but his arguments on the governor’s behalf are pretty convincing. Now, the question is, is Perry ready to rattle off these accomplishments as he kicks off his campaign and prepares to debate his popular opponents and avoid another ‘Oops’ moment?
He has indicated as much.