Republican presidential floodgates

Politico is reporting that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s grand (and by and large successful) late launch into the Republican presidential campaign is doing more than resetting the polls and prevailing wisdom about the Grand Old Party’s nomination fight — it’s also provided big-time impetus to a handful of very high profile GOP fence sitters that it’s not too late to dive in and win this race.

According to Politico:

“What if Rick Perry isn’t the last one?

“The Texas governor’s late entry in the presidential race might have been expected to close out the GOP’s 2012 field. But, in some conservative circles at least, there’s evidence it’s had the opposite effect.

“Rather than marking the end of the period in which new candidates would join the race, it may have touched off a new phase of interest in the contest by suggesting that the unsettled GOP field has room for more.”

Politico, and others since, have reported that Paul Ryan, House budget maven and American conservative darling, is strongly considering his own presidential bid while vacationing, I’m told, somewhere west of Colorado’s continental divide.

What’s more, in a Fox News interview, Karl Rove said that the door was still open for New Jersey’s Teddy Roosevelt-sized governor, Chris Christie, to get in.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin continues to flirt, Rudy Giulliani continues to consider and even American hair hero (and New York blowhard) Donald Trump won’t let it go.

Perry’s successful late surge is no doubt part of the renewed thinking, at least for Ryan and Christie. But there’s one other psychological factor at work as well. As Gallup and others report news of Obama’s job approval ratings plummeting to a new dastardly ebb of 39 percent, we can forgive Ryan, Christie and others of their hyper-capable ilk for being lured by the thought: Holy crap I could be president.

It’s the same psychological condition that, last week I hazarded, might be influencing the mental corridors of Hillary Clinton.

News of this, of course, has the hearts of the conservative faithful a flutter. If Paul and Christie were to enter the foray, it would drive the debate for the future of our country to a higher, more substantive plane— and it would increase the number of Republican candidates who would make a better president than Obama to plus or minus 10.

In related news, the Washington Post is reporting that President Obama will dust off a new jobs bill sometime in early September — read that, Obama will be back with stimulus, part deux.

Thanks, Mr. President, because the first stimulus bill worked so well.

What is most ironic about the Beltway Post’s take on the president’s new jobs initiative is that he is packaging it with deficit reduction — as if a raft of more federal spending and reduced deficits are goals that can be aligned in a world of AA federal credit ratings and exploding debt as far as the eye can see.

When you see ill-conceived proposals like that from this White House, it is little wonder why more and more people are thinking: Holy cow, I could beat this president, too.

Josh Penry is a former Colorado Senate Minority leader and a graduate of Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College.


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