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Chad’s Morning Brief: Is Rick Perry Moving to the Middle? John Cornyn Wants Republicans to Show They Are Responsible Adults, and More

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of November 18, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

John Cornyn Facebook

Perry’s Move to the Middle

Today on the show I will spend a little time discussing this story from the New York Times and Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune. Ramsey points out a few moves from Governor Rick Perry lately that may show that he is moving to the middle of the Republican Party. I agree with Ramsey on most of his points. As I pointed out on Friday, the reason Perry is endorsing Cornyn and was introducing him at Cornyn’s re-election kickoff is because Perry and Cornyn are much closer in ideology than Perry and Cruz.

Rick Perry is in transition again, wearing glasses, playing the elder and running just a tiny bit to the left of Ted Cruz and a notch or two to the right of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

In a surprising twist, he looks like a conservative establishment candidate as the jockeying begins for the 2016 presidential race. He is still anti-Washington, still steeped in states’ rights and Tea Party rhetoric, still quite conservative, but not quite so eager to burn down the castle. He is turning into Mr. Cruz’s big brother: It’s the same family, but Mr. Perry wants to be the one you trust with the car keys.

Joke all you want, but watch: The governor is pretty good at this sort of maneuver.

He was a Democrat who loaned his time to Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign, when the Republican nominee was a Texan named George H.W. Bush. Two years later, as a Republican, Mr. Perry ambushed the state’s popular agriculture commissioner, Jim Hightower, a Democrat, in a statewide race that set the governor on his current political trajectory.

In 2009, Mr. Perry was the first prominent Texas politician to catch the scent of the Tea Party, giving full-throated support in speeches that had folks thinking he might be a new breed of secessionist.

He repelled challenges from United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, an establishment favorite, and Debra Medina, an activist for Ron Paul and the Tea Party, in the 2010 primary for governor. That race proved the governor’s street cred with the hottest wave in conservative politics. He painted Ms. Hutchison as the embodiment of Washington politics and the Republican establishment in a state that was ready for something different. Ms. Medina tried to do the same to both elected officials, but Mr. Perry’s voice was the loudest, and he won without a runoff.

He wrote a book — “Fed Up!” — about his distaste for the federal government and his enthusiasm for the insurgent wing of the party and the power of the states to innovate.

That was the foundation, in some ways, for his entry into the presidential race the next year. He checked the boxes: Southern, evangelical, fiscal conservative, acceptable to the Tea Party, acceptable to much of the establishment and a proven campaigner.

That all fell apart. Mr. Perry was out of the running before 2012 even started. (He officially got out of the race in early 2012, well after he fell out of the running.)

As he rebuilds his national image, he has gently criticized both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Christie, and supported Senator John Cornyn of Texas — a known member of the Republican establishment — at a campaign event last week. Mr. Cornyn has not drawn a dangerous challenge, although there were efforts to recruit one. United States Representative Louie Gohmert, a Republican who represents the First District, is a favorite of a strong Tea Party faction in his part of the state. He decided early on not to challenge Mr. Cornyn.

David Barton announced this month that he was turning away recruitment efforts. Mr. Barton, a former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, is straight out of Mr. Perry’s chapter of the Republican Party.

Seeing the governor endorse Mr. Cornyn — an ally, but from the traditional Republican branch as opposed to the populist one where Mr. Perry has been perched — is a signal to both sides.

Mr. Perry doesn’t appear to like President Obama’s health care law any more than Mr. Cruz does, but would have chosen other tactics. “Everybody gets to go out and do their thing,” Mr. Perry told The Dallas Morning News when asked about Mr. Cruz. “That’s his thing. My thing is governing.”

Lest you think he has become a rogue liberal, he told ABC News on a recent trip to Iowa that Mr. Christie, who has a hot hand in politics after his recent re-election, might be no more than a local taste: “Is a conservative in New Jersey a conservative in the rest of the country?”

And do not ignore the cosmetic change. The Texas governor put those glasses on to add a little gravitas to the cocky demeanor that was punctuated with that famous “oops” two years ago.

It is a rebranding campaign. He is a couple of years older, more experienced, conservative but not ready to hold his breath until he turns blue. See if they’ll give him a second chance.

During and after Perry’s failed Presidential campaign, I said numerous times that I never believed Perry was part of the Tea Party or at least the far right of the Tea Party. When it came to immigration and even some big government issues, Perry’s views didn’t always line-up with far right. Is Perry another Mitt Romney? Of course not, but he isn’t Ted Cruz either.

Act Like Adults

Senator John Cornyn wants Republicans to act like adults and govern. Is that a swipe at Senator Ted Cruz and others who were ready to shutdown the government? According to the Houston Chronicle, no. What do you think though?

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn – bedeviled by some in the tea party who’d prefer him to be more Ted Cruz-like – said Friday Republicans must prove they can govern like ‘responsible adults’ and be a big-tent party welcoming a variety of people who share their principles.

“What we’ve seen is that when we’re divided, we capitulate. We basically hand the victory to our political opponents. They win elections, and then they get to govern, and that leads us in disastrous directions like we’re seeing now,” Cornyn told reporters.

Cornyn was joined by Gov. Rick Perry at a re-election rally at Scholz Garten before formally filing for re-election as senator.

“We need to demonstrate that if the American people are willing to give us the opportunity in this next election to win that election, then we will be the responsible adults in the room. We will actually govern,” Cornyn said.

Cruz hasn’t endorsed Cornyn for re-election, saying he expects to stay out of incumbent primary elections overall. But Cornyn’s campaign has said Cruz’s political action committee donated to Cornyn’s re-election.

Asked whether he believed Sen. Cruz — who played a leading role in the government shutdown spurred by opposition to the federal health care law — is acting like a responsible adult, Cornyn said, “I think he’s been a great new addition to the United States Senate. The sort of galvanizing attention he gave to the failures of Obamacare during his 21-hour speech I thought was very helpful. We had a minor disagreement over tactics, and that happens but we all live and learn.”

Cornyn said he believes they share the goal of replacing Obamacare “with something that’s actually affordable and works.”

As for some in the tea party who’ve tried to recruit a Cornyn challenger, the senator said, “All I would ask them to do is look at my record. We had a minor disagreement in the family over tactics and the tactic led to a government shutdown. I happen to believe that was a bad thing because we have to demonstrate our abity to govern and to try to offer solutions.”

To supporters at the rally, Cornyn said it’s important for Republicans to take seriously Democratic efforts to turn Texas blue, citing Battleground Texas in particular. Without mentioning her by name, Cornyn also took a swipe at state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat who has announced for governor.

“We don’t want a Nancy Pelosi clone as the next governor of Texas,” he said. Nor do we want to turn over the Senate seat that Sam Houston first held, which I currently occupy, to a Democrat in November.”

Cornyn wants to govern, Perry wants to govern. Notice a theme?

Other Top Stories:

Aggie Professor Wants to Repeal 2nd Amendment

The Battle for Tarrant County 

Perry Backs Cornyn

 Cornyn Touts Big Tent GOP

US Chamber President Talks Boehner and Immigration

NJ Bill Would Offer In-State Tuition and Aid to Illegal Immigrants

Senate to Vote on Military Sexual Assault Bill

Can Obamacare be Saved?

Walker: GOP Candidate for 2016 Should be a Governor

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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