Give Now

2012 Archives

Texans have a good idea what Perry's 'strategic retreat' means


The following ran in the Jan. 19, 2012, edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Matthew Wilson, political scientist, provided expertise for this story.

January 25, 2012

By Bud Kennedy

When hillbilly bandleader W. Lee "Pass the Biscuits, Pappy" O'Daniel quit the U.S. Senate in 1948, he promised to go home.

"I might start a fiddle band," he said.

Instead, O'Daniel ran for governor twice more, tried to run for president and wound up campaigning as a third-party write-in candidate, calling Washington a "bunch of crooks" and vowing to repeal "socialistic and communistic legislation."

He didn't quit for 10 more years.

And I don't hear Gov. Rick Perry talking about fiddling.

When the end came for Perry 2012 on Thursday in South Carolina, he quoted John Paul Jones and Texas President Sam Houston, saying he had "just begun to fight" and would continue after a momentary "strategic retreat."

He comes home a wearier governor but not necessarily a weaker one.

After all, what other evangelical politician ever drew 40,000 worshippers for a prayer rally?

"Even though he stumbled, evangelicals still like him personally," said Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University who has studied religion and politics.

"His celebrity role took a hit. But there's also a lot of sympathy."

Read more here: