Herman: Perry’s plans on hold

Thanks a lot, Senate gallery screamers. Thanks to you we now have to wait even longer to find out if Gov. Rick Perry is running for (a) re-election, (b) president, (c) both of the above or (d) none of the above.

He said Thursday he’s not saying. I’m still saying he’ll eventually say the answer is (b). And I’ve not been wrong about such things since the last time I was.

Perry previously set next Monday as the deadline for announcing his plans. That was before we needed another special session, starting next Monday, to take another shot at passing three measures, including the abortion restriction bill scuttled when protesters in the Senate gallery screamed it down at the Tuesday night deadline of the first special session.

After a Thursday speech at the National Right to Life convention, a decidedly home crowd for Perry, the governor told us that announcing his political plans “is not on my radar screen at the moment” because of the upcoming special session sequel.

“I would tell you that that’s put back some,” he said of his announcement, leaving some of us confused as to whether that means until after the session, which can last up to 30 days.

“I’d push it back some. I don’t know,” he said when asked to clarify.

So there you go. Oh, and he also said the announcement would come “at the appropriate time.”

In his speech, Perry had aggressive words for the protesters who screamed down the abortion bill and the filibustering senator who was the screamers’ heroine. He said filibusters “are certainly nothing new, but what we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process.” (I think he meant “nothing less than the hijacking of the democratic process.”)

And he had harsh words for state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, whose filibuster rocketed her to national attention and pumped her up as a potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate. Davis was raised by a single mom and later became a single mom prior to becoming a Harvard-trained lawyer.

“It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, that every life is precious,” he said.

Davis called the comments “without dignity” and “small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view.”

I like what that back and forth portends about a potential Perry-Davis gubernatorial showdown next year.

Alas, neither has announced anything. Thanks again, gallery screamers, though I guess we do owe them sincere thanks for helping torque this up.

What then of a repeat bid by our governor to become our president? He still looks like a long shot to me. At least one recent poll showed Texas Republicans more interested in our U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the White House. As a spectator, I’d like them both to run. I enjoy the notion of a Texas governor and a Texas senator going after each other at debates.

Perry’s problem, one he’s been working on, is that his 2012 White House bid left him a joke in many voters’ minds. That can be undone, but it’s difficult.

I was struck by something political commentator Fred Barnes wrote in the Weekly Standard after a few days embedded with Perry during the governor’s recent job-recruiting trip to New York.

“Up close, Perry isn’t quite what I expected,” Barnes wrote, indicating he perhaps didn’t expect too much. “He often notes he majored in animal science in college, but his interests have broadened as governor. He’s learned a lot about brain science. He knows a good deal about economics.”

Right about now, if he indeed still dreams White House dreams, Perry might have to start convincing many more Americans that he isn’t quite what they expected.

After Perry’s Thursday speech, I congratulated him on the recent birth of his first grandchild, a girl.

“She was supposed to be a boy,” he said. “That’s what they all said. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

I’m expecting God, who remains nonpartisan, not to laugh if Perry’s plans include running again for president. The larger question is whether those plans would make voters laugh.

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