After dropping out of the presidential race, Rick Perry is coming home to Texas. Welcome back. What does the future hold for the Texas governor whose presidential campaign crashed and burned so spectacularly?
After the jump, some instant wild speculation.
His future in Texas is not bright. Even Texas Republicans have turned their backs on Perry. The latest polls had showed Mitt Romney out-performing Perry even among Republicans in his own state of Texas. Among all Texans, Obama was out-polling Perry. Perry will have a hard time re-establishing his image of invincibility in the Lone Star State. He can remain governor until 2014, but that's a long time for a lame-duck governor to wield effective power. Re-election? Why risk ending his political career with another embarrassing loss, this time in his home state?
Where else can he go? If a Republican wins the Presidency in 2012, maybe Washington? A Cabinet position in a GOP administration? Department of Energy would be rich with irony. But Perry burned his bridges to the Romney campaign long ago and tore down the supports by endorsing Newt Gingrich in his concession speech. So, it's unlikely a President Romney will have a plum position for the Texas governor. And it's even less likely that there will even be a President Gingrich administration. But a ticket to Washington in January, 2013, is still Perry's best ticket out of Austin before his term expires in 2014.
Don't expect a Fox News time slot for Rick Perry. For that, you have to be articulate (e.g., Huckabee, Gingrich) or at least have a potential political career ahead of you (e.g., Palin in 2010). Perry fails both tests.
That leaves far-right think tanks and industry trade groups. If Perry isn't in Washington in January, 2015, when his term in the governor's mansion expires, expect to see him be given a title and generous salary at some place like the NRA or some evangelical political action committee or, most likely, some oil and gas industry lobbying organization. It'll be time for Frackin' Rick Perry to cash in.