The Perry campaign is deliberately dull. It is full of old messages – more jobs, fewer taxes, secure the border, stop Obama, fight the feds and the liberals. There is no effort to expand the governor’s message beyond what Perry has been saying for years, no effort to attract new voters, just make your pitch to the base. Perry is betting that he can win the election with the voters he already has, and that White can’t get enough Democrats (or Republicans) to make the race close. It’s all about the base. In his last race, in 2006, Perry did have a spot that showed him among school children. Compare this to Bush, who ran on education reform, a base-expanding message (along with base-appealing tort reform, welfare reform, and juvenile justice reform). We haven’t seen any overture to the political center this time. The strategy is a tacit admission by his camp that they know he can’t expand the base, that opinions about him have hardened. He’s playing to run out the clock until November 2. This will surely reduce his margin of victory and make it more difficult to make a case for himself as a national figure.
Update: Upon reflection, I want to note one exception to my observation that Perry is playing exclusively to his base in this election: He has been careful not to alienate Hispanics. Perry does not agree with the border wall, and he does not agree with the most controversial elements of the Arizona immigration law (for example, having peace officers enforce immigration laws). Furthermore, he has appointed a number of Hispanics to important positions, including Secretary of State Hope Andrade, Railroad Commission chairman Victor Carillo, and Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.
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