Texas Governor Rick Perry seems to be getting closer to entering the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is already a committed candidate and in all respects, has earned “frontrunner” status.
This leads many political analyst and pundits to wonder: Could Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann be the ideal “Dream Team” for Republicans in 2012?
Perry successful executive experience, combined with Bachmann’s conservative legislative credentials could make an interesting combination, but could present some challenges at the same time.
Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, works with Dr. Larry Sabato and has been following the presidential race closely.
“The Republicans aren’t going to have a problem motivating the base in 2012, so that’s not the issue,” said Kondik. “The Democrats love to paint Republicans as extremists so the Republicans may have to decide if Perry and Bachmann are too conservative in a general election. I think Obama would certainly prefer to run against a more conservative ticket than one made up of Romney and another moderate, but Romney would certainly need a conservative on the ticket to keep the base excited.”
Both have an extensive political background and in many ways they parallel each other.
An Eagle Scout and graduate of Texas A&M University, Perry was an Air Force pilot before resigning with the rank of Captain in 1977 and returning to West Texas to farm with his father.
In 1984 Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat and joined a group known as the “Pit Bulls,” earning their name by sitting pushing straightforward budget ideas on the Appropriations Committee. In 1988 he served as Al Gore’s presidential campaign chairman in Texas, before switching parties and becoming a Republican in 1989.
As a new Republican, Perry ran successfully for Agriculture Commissioner in 1990, defeating a longtime Democrat Jim Hightower. He was reelected in 1994 and in 1998, was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas. He later assumed the office of Governor when then Governor George W. Bush was elected President in 2000.
Perry has been elected as Texas Governor three times – in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Like Perry, Bachmann also began her career in the State Legislature and has long taken conservative stands on fiscal and social policy. She also grew up in a Democratic family but says she became a Republican during her senior year of college.
After obtaining a law degree from Oral Roberts University in 1986, two years later, in 1988, Bachmann received as LL.M. degree in tax law from William & Mary School of Law. From 1988 to 1993, she worked as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service, before leaving her position to become a full-time mother.
Bachmann’s political career began in earnest when education issues motivated her to run for school board in 1999 – a campaign that she lost.
However, in 2000 she was elected to the State Senate in Minnesota, where she served until she was elected to Congress in 2006, and the first Republican woman to serve represent Minnesota in Congress.
Bachmann has claimed substantial support from Tea Party activists and serves as chairman of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress.
Another commonality between the two Republicans have in common is being targeted by liberal groups such as atheists and pro-homosexual activists.
In an interview last week about on Marcus Bachmann’s Christian Counseling centers, Exodus International President Alan Chambers indicated many homosexual groups are determined to try and do everything possible to defeat any candidate who advocates conservative fiscal or social positions. The bigger issue would be how independent and swing voters respond to the issue.
Atheists groups, on the other hand have targeted Perry over his upcoming prayer conference in August.
Joe Zamecki is the Texas State Director of American Atheists Incorporated, a component of the national group founded by the late Madelyn Murray O’Hair.
Zamecki told YNN in Austin, Texas, “The Texas government right now is having such problems that if our governor can’t solve them or even address them or own up to his responsibility with them, I don’t think a prayer is going to help.”
There are also other names Washington insiders throw out when they talk about potential republican Vice Presidential contenders. Ohio Governor and former Congressman John Kaisch are often mentioned as is California Congressman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. But Senator Marco Rubio is the one most are talking about. Said one such insider who did not want to be identified, “Rubio is the person I feel President Obama wants to avoid as a Vice Presidential nominee. He’s the right person – young, bright, a proven legislative leader, Hispanic and from a swing state. Biden would probably not fare well in that debate, but then again, Biden doesn’t do well against many others either.”