From the streets of Dallas, three interviews preceding the Saturday, August 13, 2011 announcement that Governor Rick Perry would run for president were surprising. The number one concern was not about Rick Perry’s chances of winning the presidency; but worry about who would replace Perry as Texas governor when Perry won.
Democrat Marie Douthitt, visiting Dallas from East Texas, with her sisters, Bonnie Boan and Rita Milliron all voiced apprehension about who would fill Perry’s boots should he win. All three were Democrats.
Douthitt said, for Perry or not, she was more comfortable with “the devil she knew” than with one she wouldn’t know. Douthitt reminded us that Perry was a good Democrat before he was a Republican, “nothing like Bush because Perry is a real Texan”. The “one good thing about Perry,” said Douthitt, “was – that he was mallable.” She went on to explain that “If Perry gets out of hand, you can slap him right back in place.”
Boan disagreed with her sister that Perry was easy to control, adding that in her opinion, “Rick Perry can be a stubborn man when he sets his mind to something.” She voted for Hutchinson in the last Texas governor primary, but said, “He did a good job tackling the illegal immigration problem in the last legislation.” Still, “He could have done more,” she criticized. Like her sister, Boan wondered aloud who would replace Perry. When Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was mentioned, she asked, “Who’s he?”
Milliorn, who admitted a similar concern about Perry’s replacement, explained she leaned a bit further right than her sisters. She hoped Perry could do for the nation what he had managed to do for Texas in jobs and the economy, saying, “There’s nothing more important than jobs and the economy right now. We’re losing a whole generation of young kids who may never have the kinds of jobs they need to get ahead and find any sort of security. We’ve got to get Americans back to work. We’ve got to get government out of the way and start drilling for oil. We’ve got to do whatever it takes to get corporations to bring American manufacturing jobs back to our country. I think I’d rather have Sarah Palin, because I know she would drill and I know how she feels about big government. But, Perry has the strongest jobs record of any governor and after being Texas governor so long, he knows how big government interferes with the economy. This next election is about jobs and the economy and anyone but Obama. Poor Obama was just the wrong president at the wrong time – a luxury statement Americans can’t afford.”
When asked about other Texas issues, such as education, Milliorn pointed out that one of the graduates in Grand Saline, a very small East Texas school, had a perfect SAT last year. Milliorn was of the opinion that “If you subtract the illegals from the school statistics, it would be easy to see that Texas students have excellent, high achievement records,” although she admitted inner city schools might still wage poorly. Milliorn ended by saying, “Texans will miss Rick Perry but they won’t miss Obama.”
One thing appears for certain -folks in Dallas and all over Texas will be looking around, wondering who will govern Texas. They seem to take it for granted Perry will win. As Douthitt pointed out, “No one has beaten Perry yet.”