Is There Life After Rick Perry?

And what happens when we get there?

Rick Perry began 2011 on a high note. Having won his third full term as governor the previous November, he took the oath of office on the south steps of the Capitol with the wind both in his hair and at his back. In the same election, the Legislature had tipped heavily in his favor, as a new freshman class, dominated by tea party conservatives, swelled the Republican ranks in the House and Senate. Standing before many of those lawmakers, as well as numerous other members of state government, nearly all of whom he controlled in one way or another, Perry delivered an epic speech: “You might say historians will look back on this as the ‘Texas century,’ ” the governor said. “Americans once looked to the East Coast for opportunity and inspiration, then to the West Coast. Today they are looking to the Gulf Coast—they are looking to Texas… . This is our time, this is our place in history. We must seize the moment.”

Which is exactly what

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