ABC New's Amy Walter (@amyewalter) reports:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a “natural on the campaign trail” and has a message that the “Republican primary electorate is on board with,” says SMU political professor Cal Jillson.
But, while Perry may be pitch-perfect in a primary, Jillson warns that his profile – and the Texas economic story – may not sell as well in a general election.
In an interview with ABC’s “Top Line,” Jillson notes that Perry’s strong “early reception” – marked by his vault to the top of GOP primary polling this week- “is going to last for a while.” Moreover, Jillson thinks that Perry “will shoulder Bachmann aside of the coming months and be the candidate who is the alternative to Mitt Romney.”
Jillson, author of forthcoming book , “Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look At Texas Politics and Public Policy,” notes says that Perry’s view of the role of government isn’t very different from the way his predecessors have seen it.
“Texas has had a particular outlook on the role of government that goes back well into the 19th Century – it’s essentially permanent,” says Jillson. “It says small government, low taxes, deregulation and a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility. Rick Perry has not changed that.”
But, while “the Republican primary electorate is on board with this message,” Jillson warns that “as we go through the campaign there is going to be an unpacking of this Texas story that shows that there is a downside. And that downside is that Texas is a low-wage economy. It has been literally for decades. “
“That emphasis on personal responsibility ,” says Jillson, “is one that says if you lose a job we’re not gonna support you very well with unemployment compensation you’ve got to get back out there and find another job. We’re not going to necessarily supply y health care you’ve got to supply that to your own family.”
The other potential hurdle for Perry is to prove that a Governor of a “small government state” with a part-time legislature can tackle the pressures of running a full-time government.
“Being Governor of Texas is pretty much riding in parades and waving your cowboy hat. Whereas the presidency is a very full-time job..It’s intense and it doesn’t stop. How Rick Perry would gear up for that is a very open question.”