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Barnstorming for Jobs and Growth

Rick Perry promotes the Texas Miracle.

Jun 3, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 36 • By FRED BARNES
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In Texas, he’s gotten a boost from an unexpected source, Erica Grieder, a writer for Texas Monthly, in her new book, Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas. Republicans, she wrote recently, “are right to defend the Texas model. The data is pretty hard to deny; either the model’s been working or it’s a hell of a coincidence.”

Grieder knocks down many of the liberal complaints about the Texas boom. The new jobs are mainly low-paying? From 2001 to 2011, “fully 45 percent were in the upper-middle and upper quartiles.” The state’s dependent on the federal government? In the 1990s and 2000s, “Texas was one of the handful of states that sent more money to Washington than it received in return. Cheap we may be, but at least we’re not hypocritical.”

Where does all this leave Perry, the politician? He’s 63 and hasn’t ruled out running again. He could run for reelection as governor in 2014 or president in 2016—or both. But given his flop as presidential candidate last year, when he entered the race late and proved to be unprepared, it’s unlikely he’d seek the governorship again as a prelude to running for president. He has nothing to gain from more time in the governor’s mansion.

But if it’s the White House that interests him, he’ll have a great theme that could, if all goes well, offset the memory of his poor performance in 2012. The Massachusetts Miracle propelled Michael Dukakis to the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. Perry would tout the Texas Miracle. And unlike the Massachusetts Miracle, it would have the advantage of being true.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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