From Alex Pareene at Salon:
Even though they have the exact same style of speaking and propensity to execute innocent people, current Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Texas Gov. George W. Bush are very different politicians. And they don’t like each other, according to the New York Times. Or rather their staffs and “camps” don’t like each other.
Rick Perry was Bush’s lieutenant governor. Whether the two men personally like each other is totally unknown (politicians don’t like other humans anyway; that is why they go into politics), but Perry is “signaling” that he is very different from Bush because Bush was a terrible president who left office hated by everyone and Rick Perry would maybe like to be the next president (or he is at least surrounded by people who think he could be the next president).
Perry is distancing himself from Bush mostly by hating immigrants and healthcare for poor people and by basically announcing that he is against the small number of things Bush did to convince people that the Republican Party had grown a heart.
The conflict is really about class (just like most other conflicts), because Bush is a Connecticut Yankee from a rich and powerful family and Rick Perry was just some guy until Karl Rove made him a Republican and Bush made him Lt. Gov. Perry (and began imitating him, I think).
This is “important” because should Perry decide to run, the Bush people — the sort of powerful Republicans who traditionally decide the party’s presidential nominee — will fight him. Even in a year where it looks like the grass-roots crazies will have more power than they’ve had since the Goldwater nomination, you don’t want the elites aligned against you. (This is part of the reason Huckabee, who polls great, would rather just be on TV. The elites all hate him for some reason.)
So Rick Perry should stop saying mean things about “No Child Left Behind” if he wants to be president.
From The New York Times:
Mr. Perry, who aides say will make a decision within weeks, has been meeting around the country with potential fund-raisers, went to Colorado last week for a gathering of prominent conservative rainmakers held by members of the Koch family, which helped finance the Tea Party movement. An inevitable question is whether Republicans will be willing to nominate another Texas governor so closely connected to the last one.
On government spending, immigration and education, Mr. Perry’s criticisms of Mr. Bush have given him cachet with conservatives, especially with Tea Party voters who blame the former president for allowing spending and the reach of government to grow rapidly.
Those criticisms have burnished the Perry image as less prone to ideological compromise or a fuzzy “compassionate” brand of conservatism, an appealing trait to those Republican primary voters seeking purity in their nominee. And they have helped Mr. Perry escape the shadow of Mr. Bush, whose sponsorship, along with that of his chief political strategist, Karl Rove, was critical to Mr. Perry’s rise.
But it antagonized Mr. Bush’s old team, many of whom endorsed Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in her unsuccessful primary challenge to Mr. Perry last year. Some are indicating that they will oppose Mr. Perry should he join the presidential race with an anti-Bush message.
Mr. Rove was heavily invested in Mr. Perry’s victory as lieutenant governor in 1998, and helped recruit [David] Carney to run Mr. Perry’s campaign while he ran Mr. Bush’s. The tensions first spilled out publicly in 2007, when a video wound up on YouTube capturing Mr. Perry speaking dismissively of Mr. Bush at a Republican house party in Iowa for former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York.
Unhappy Bush aides noticed.
When [Kay Bailey] Hutchison began running for governor last year, she had the backing of Mr. Rove and other Bush-world Texans including former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, the presidential confidante Karen P. Hughes and former President George Bush and his wife, Barbara.
Other salvos followed. After initially embracing Mr. Bush’s signature education law, No Child Left Behind, Mr. Perry became a leading critic, calling it “a monstrous intrusion into our affairs” in an interview with National Review.
Asked if Mr. Perry had reached out to Mr. Bush for advice, Mr. Carney said: “He’s going to make a number of calls. That will be one of them.”