Darren Richardson

Sept. 7, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican frontrunner to challenge incumbent President Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012, scored an unexpected accolade from a formerly critical source in tonight’s GOP debate in Southern California. The firebrand Texas governor won huge points with this citizen journalist and political commentator by recognizing the job-growth genius of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, arguably the most visionary American leader of the 1980s.

Perry invoked the Dukakis mystique Wednesday night when he reminded debate viewers that Dukakis, who went on to become the 1988 Democratic Presidential nominee, created jobs three times faster in his tenure as governor of The Bay State than did former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, currently Perry’s top rival in the polls. Although Romney shot back with a zinger, replying that George W. Bush created jobs in Texas three times faster than Perry, the damage was done. For all the talk of Perry being a partisan extremist, he let American voters know that he recognizes a genius when he sees one, regardless of party.

The untrained observer might interpret this remark to be a jab at Romney, but the politically astute eye of The Punditty Project sees much more. By invoking Dukakis, Perry makes it clear that he is ready for the national stage and that he will reach across partisan lines to get the country back on track. Despite President Obama’s unpopularity in the polls, Perry will have to transcend his image as just another dumb governor from Texas if he is to unseat the incumbent. He took a major – and TPP emphasizes the word “major” – step toward making inroads into the Democratic base by complimenting Dukakis.

Would Perry consider bringing Dukakis into his administration as jobs czar? If so, he should announce his willingness to do so as soon as possible. By aligning with Dukakis early on in the campaign, Perry can overcome charges that he is too much of a “Tea Party” candidate to win on a national level. In fact, if Dukakis were to agree to whip up some of his famous turkey tetrazzini for a Rick Perry Fundraiser in Brockton, Romney would be forced to bow out in disgrace. Look for the major media to be fawning over the Dukakis-Perry alliance within the next several weeks. If Dukakis is willing to come aboard the Perry Express, there will be no stopping it.

On the other hand, if Romney steps up and beats Perry to the punch by pledging a place for Dukakis in a Romney administration, Perry will be seen as a “lost opportunist” who is unable to recognize an opportunity even when he creates it for himself. The plot thickens when we consider that President Obama, a Democrat, could dump current Vice-President Joe Biden and replace him with Dukakis. It would be the defining move of his presidency, but it would likely lead to a lot more jobs being created in the United States before the 2012 election and secure the president’s re-election.

Biden is a patriot, and he would be willing to step down for his country to get back on track. Dukakis is not only a patriot but a larger-than-life legend, and he would certainly be willing to take his rightful place on the national stage if asked to do so. Now more than ever, it appears that the candidate who is willing to capitalize on the enduring Dukakisian magic will be the winner in 2012. With authority and confidence, Perry started on that path tonight. Whether or not Dukakis is kickin’ it with Rick by this time next month will tell voters whether or not Perry is capable of following through on a good idea.

Editor’s note: This is filed in the “Funny” section of Allvoices. But is it “funny ha-ha” or “funny, I was just thinking the same thing”? Hmmm.

Fair Use Note: Image of Dukakis from footage of 1988 debate with George H.W. Bush.

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