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2011 Archives

SMU experts discuss Rick Perry’s 2012 intentions

August 10, 2011

DALLAS (SMU) — As Texas Gov. Rick Perry prepares to announce his 2012 intentions, SMU experts in communications and ethics, political science and religion are ready to analyze what candidate Perry would bring to the race for president.

SMU Professor Rita Kirk
Prof. Rita Kirk 
“Populist Swagger”

“Say what you will about his policies, but voters will be drawn to his style,” Kirk says. “That will make a lackluster Republican race to date finally start to sizzle. “ Perry’s team will run the race his way, she says, bypassing traditional media.

“They refuse televised debates, knowing that debates serve mostly to rally the faithful rather than persuade the undecided. His populist swagger is his brand. He preaches American exceptionalism, and he drives his message directly to the voters, avoiding the media interpreters who have traditionally controlled the flow of information. Good hair, a smiling Texas drawl and Air Force comportment –
he is telegenic.”

Kirk is director of SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of Communications Studies.

William Lawrence
William Lawrence
Day of Prayer

“His allegedly spiritual interest in holding a prayer service in Houston is yet another example of his disdain for people of sincere faith. As a result of his contempt for theological veracity and spiritual legitimacy, his plans to conduct a ‘day of prayer and fasting for our troubled nation’ amount to a violation of the second and third commandments; for he is proposing an event that will make an idol of his own political views and that take the name of the Lord in vain.”

Lawrence is dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. His comments first appeared in the July 12 edition of the Texas Faith blog of The Dallas Morning News.

Cal Jillson
Cal Jillson
“Pitch Perfect” for Texas

“Rick Perry has been an extraordinarily successful politician; he never lost an election, has good fundraising and campaign skills, with campaign rhetoric that is pitch-perfect for Texas. But whether his considerable skills will fuel a jump to the national level remains to be seen. Organization and fundraising should not be a problem, but a hard Texas edge on the social issues and a deer-in-the-headlights naiveté on international and defense issues may be serious problems.”

Jillson is professor of political science in SMU’s Dedman College.

Matthew Wilson
Matt Wilson
“Late to the Table”

“As a late entrant, it's not entirely clear exactly where Perry can start winning caucuses or primaries. To win a presidential nomination, you have to start winning early on in the primary/caucus season. Bachmann has worked Iowa hard and has a natural geographic link there, while Romney will dominate New Hampshire and Nevada.

"That means Perry's candidacy probably hinges on a convincing win in South Carolina, which he would then need to follow up with a victory somewhere outside the South to be perceived as more than a regional candidate. It's a tall order, but Perry has been underestimated, often to the detriment of his detractors, throughout his political career.”

Wilson is associate professor of political science in SMU’s Dedman College.

Dennis Simon
Dennis Simon
“Let’s Make a Deal”

“As Rick Perry contemplates a run for the Republican presidential nomination, the recent history of Texas aspirants suggests a game of  ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ Behind door number one is George W. Bush – fundraising juggernaut and a successful nomination campaign.  Behind door number two is Ron Paul – symbolic leader of libertarian Republicans. Behind door number three is Phil Gramm – big money, big losses early and a big fizzle. Which door will Governor Perry enter?”

Simon is associate professor of political science in SMU’s Dedman College.

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