Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Ted Cruz' victory means NOTHING for Rick Perry's future

With Ted Cruz' landslide victory last night, an obnoxious new piece of conventional wisdom has sprung up.  It states that, because he backed Dewhurst in the primary, Rick Perry did major political damage to himself. I don't buy it.  You shouldn't either.  Rick Perry doesn't face the voters again until 2014, which is more than enough time to heal this wound.

Every Action Rick Perry took in this U.S. Senate race needs to be understood in the context of the 83rd Texas Legislature.  Back in April, Governor Perry proposed an ambitious set of structural reforms that, if enacted, would secure Texas economic dominance for the next generation.  Of course, in order to enact said reforms, they first need to pass the Texas Senate.

Texas Constitution grants the sitting Lieutenant Governor nearly dictatorial powers over the Texas Senate.  The Lieutenant Governor enjoys sole control over the agenda and committee assignments.  Unfortunately, David Dewhurst demonstrated his willingness to abuse that office in pursuit of a U.S. Senate seat.  That's why Rick Perry did what he did.  In exchange for Perry's endorsement in the U.S. Senate race, Perry secured Dewhurst's endorsement of Perry's legislative agenda for the 83rd Texas legislature.

That being said, Rick Perry now OWNS the results of the 83rd Texas Legislature.  If the Texas Budget compact becomes law, Rick Perry will be fine.  If it doesn't, he's toast.

People need to take a deep breath and calm down.  Rick Perry is still the guy who told Kathleen Sibelius to go pound sand.  Rick Perry is still a leading advocate on Tenth Amendment issues.  Last night's results mean nothing for Rick Perry's future.  The 83rd Texas Legislature, and the Texas Budget Compact specifically, are his whole enchilada.

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