Wayne Slater has an interesting story [this was earlier in the week] – which I am unable to link to, but it is in the Quorum Report – about Karl Rove’s displeasure with Rick Perry’s lack of gratitude toward then-Governor Bush during the 1998 primary races for governor and lieutenant governor. Perry has been distancing himself from Bush since he stumped for Rudy Giuliani in Iowa in 2008 with comments like, “George is not a fiscal conservative.”
Rove was clearly steamed on Fox News this morning. He suggested Perry wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for Bush: “Why he falls into this pattern of sounding like he’s being dismissive of the former president is not smart politics, either strategically or tactically.”
[Governor] Bush moved heaven and earth to get Rick Perry elected as his running mate for lieutenant governor. He raised him money outside the state, he made sure his phone banks only called people who were for both men in order to get them out to vote. In 1998, George H. W Bush, the former president, … only cut two television ads for candidates in the entire country- one for son Jeb Bush in Florida and the other for Perry.”
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It is true that Governor Bush went out of his way to get Perry elected. But Rove leaves out one little tidbit: Bush had no choice but to help Perry. If Bush ran for president (as it was clear he intended to do) and Perry lost the lieutenant governor’s race to Democrat John Sharp, Bush’s Republican rivals could say, If Bush wins the nomination, the governor of Texas will be a Democrat. Bush is putting his own ambitions ahead of the good of the party. In other words, Bush’s aid for Perry was also aid for himself.
There is no way Perry could have won the race against Sharp without Bush’s coattails. Bush polled 2,550,821 votes for governor; Perry polled 1,858,837 votes for lieutenant governor. Bush’s coattails enabled Perry to edge Sharp by 1.75%.