Does Rick Perry Have an Ulterior Motive With His "Jobs Trips"?

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Photo by Gage Skidmore
Perry in 2016?
As I have noted in the past, Rick Perry is on a mission, a mission to steal, er, lure, er, convince companies to move to Texas where we have the alleged best business climate in America. Perry has visited six states -- California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri and New York -- which all have Democratic governors, in his effort to bring new business to Texas.

However, as the New York Times is reporting, some are beginning to wonder if Perry is doing this as much to keep his name in play in the political media given his apparent presidential aspirations:

But skeptics wonder whether the trips are more about selling Mr. Perry than about selling Texas as he ponders a second presidential run in 2016. And along with media coverage that has kept his name in the news, Mr. Perry has faced some barbs about the motives and the effectiveness of his efforts.

A spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, Andrew R. Doba, dismissed Mr. Perry's trip to the state in June by saying that unlike Mr. Perry, Mr. Malloy was "more interested in bringing jobs to our state than he is in getting himself publicity."

Now, lazy national media types will do the arm-chair psychology thing with politicians a lot -- see almost any column by Maureen Dowd from the "W" era -- but I find this one hard to believe. Does Perry really think that after his unbelievably bad 2012 presidential run anyone will take him seriously as a candidate? If so, he is both dumb and delusional.

But he is getting attention, to be sure. He debated Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley on Crossfire on the issue. (If you've never seen Jon Stewart's classic appearance on the old version of Crossfire watch it here immediately).

Here's what I don't get though. This is a zero-sum game for Americans as whole:

"The idea of waging a campaign to try and depress the business climate of one state so your state can benefit as a result is something that Missourians don't appreciate," said Jason Kander, a Democrat who is Missouri's secretary of state. "I'm sure Apple and Microsoft compete for top talent. But you would never see the C.E.O. of Apple go into Microsoft headquarters with a bullhorn and try to wholesale recruit people away. Not only would it be incredibly rude, it would be incredibly ineffective."

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown called Mr. Perry's visit "a big nothing." Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois described his trip there as an "escapade."

But Rick Perry is a Texas exceptionalist. Texas Pride. Texas might secede. We have a jingoistic governor (insofar as Texas is concerned), who shoots from the hip, is not interested in policy details and has what Beltway folks calls "swagger." Sound familiar?



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