Why Rick Perry is not George W. Bush

Aug 29, 2011

Although they both hail from Texas, Rick Perry "presents a stark alternative" to George W. Bush. Read Rick Perry has distanced himself from George W. Bush's brand of conservatism and discuss whether or not you agree. Ask reporter Perry Bacon, Jr. questions about the two politicians.

- Perry vs Bush: Cillizza handicaps in Tuesday's Fix Face-Off
- GOP still fed up with the field: Opinion Focus with Eugene Robinson

Looking forward to this chat about Perry and Bush. Also if you're interested in Rick Perry, you should check out this piece in the Times and this one in Politico as well.

Who cares? He is just another Texas guv who big business wants in the White House. We've seen all this before.

Interesting comment. In the broadest sense, Rick Perry is a pro-business conservative Republican, just like Bush. But I think the contrasts between them are interesting and worth exploring. 

Do you mean to say he's worse than George W. Bush?

I think you could read the story to say he is more conservative than George Bush. 

Will Perry hold a similar position to Bush on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?

Yes. He has said he is opposed to tax increases. His annoucement speech repeatedly attacked Obama on this issue in fact. 

I understand Perry was Gore's Campaign Manager in a prior life. Was Bush ever on the Dem side like Perry? Also, did Perry espouse and promote Democratic policies in those days that are against what he stands for now? Did Bush flip flop much from former days when he ran for president? Thanks.

Perry was Texas campaign chairman for Gore in 1988. I don't have a list of all of Perry's views then, but the Democrats in Texas at that time were much more conservative than Democrats nationally today.  

I am leery of Perry because of how he sounds. The Texan bravado seems awfully familiar to George W. Bush. I am concerned Perry will only solidify our nations cowboy image abroad. If anything, Perry seems like G.W's bigger, meaner brother. The rest of the Nation is not Texas. How will Perry convince the rest of the world of this fact?

My guess is Rick Perry for now is working on winning the Republican nomination, not convincing the world of anything right now. 

What has been their respective records of high-level appointments as governor, in terms of gender, racial and ethnic diversity?

I do not know the answer this question. But I"m curious and will be looking into these kinds of questions. 

Why would the GoP let Mr Perry get anywhere near the nomination, knowing full well that the people would instinctively a see him as G. W. Bush 2.0, the man who almost singlehandedly destroyed the Republican party?

I think these electablility questions are always hard to answer. And ultimately, voters tend to pick candidates they like. Democrats I don't think picked Obama based on electability


I believe George W. Bush tended to trust certain advisors too much (Dick Cheney, for example). Who does Rick Perry trust for advice?

He has a team of longtime advisers, but I think this will change as he moves to the national level. The issues are just so much more complicated, and governors have very little to do with national security. 

With all the reporting of Perry's stance that SS and Medicare are uncosntitional and that SS is a ponzi scheme and should be dismantled, how can polls be coming out in Fla showing Perry tied or beating Obama? Are American's just too complacent and unbelieiving that the republicans mean what they say and want to dismantle ths social safety net. Is this a case of crying wolfe too many times or is it afialing of the media who too often set up false equivalencies and now are less believed then the politions themselves?

Well, I would start with lots of Republicans 1. aren't big fans of Medicare and Social Security 2. aren't following every statement Perry makes. I think these views will be vetted more carefully in next month's debates. 

Isn't Rick perry really the only GOP candidate who can raise enough money to compete w/ Obama's $1 billion re-election campaign? And, who do you think the White House fears most for 2012?

If I were the White House, I would fear Romney, who is more moderate and might be a stronger general election candidate. I tend to think the money won't matter that much; the Republican Party and outside groups will make up the difference. 

Funny, I don't recall a story on why Barack Obama wasn't Carol Mosley Braun or a Daly or another anything. Texas has a population of almost 25 million, or more than the entire countries of Australia, Romania, Ivory Coast, Syria, Ghana, Chile, and others. Is it too much to expect that just because they are from the same party and from the same state that we don't need to be told they aren't the same person?

I think in 2008 we did stories comparing the policy views of Bill Clinton to Hillary Clinton and Obama. I think the comparison is important. 

How will his book Fed Up affect his run? I live in Texas and consider Perry part of the GOP fringe and not a serious candidate, so I have been surprised at how quickly he has risen in the polls. I think when the voters get a closere look he will fade as Bachman has. Now he is the shiney new object. I am not complaining about the press coverage of Perry. It is the job and duty of the press to vet the candidates. Thank you.

I think Perry, because of his record as governor, will get a longer look from establishment Republicans than Bachmann and that will help him go the distance in this race. I do think the debates are critical for him to show the depth of his views. 

Why does the press continually present Perry, Bachmann, Palin et al as mainstream politicians ? They never question on their outright lies or extremist statements, or analyze the implications.

I think my story and others in the Post have looked in detail the implications of these politicians views. And you saw the New Yorker piece on Bachmann. Palin is not running, so a little less important to evaluate her views. 

As we have seen with Obama , total lock-step continuation of Bush policies on everything from Guantanamo Bay to Tax Cuts, can there honestly be a meaningful distinction between *any* two establishment candidates?

Well, I think there's a big difference betweent Obama and Romney or Perry on a host of issues, starting with health care and the economy. 

How IS Rick Perry George Bush?

Perry and Bush both back lower taxes on individuals and businesses, making it harder to sue companies and doctors, health care reform that favors approaches like health savings accounts, etc. They have a ton in common. 

What was George W. Bush's brand of conservatism? and while all Candidates strive to be a Candidate of all constituents is Rick Perry doing a good enough job of not alienating Non-Conservative Christians and Non-Christians in general.

Bush's brand of conservatism had a big emphasis on the "compassion" side, trying to use conservative means (tax incentives, etc. ) to take on problems generally viewed as more Democratic issues (say education) 


Everyone Perry is trying to win right now is a conservative or a Christian. I think he is looking to win the primary now, general election later. 

I've often thought that George W. Bush had some very liberal leanings, especially in the area of nation building, and ballooning the government. Are these some of the differences you are discussing? Governor Perry seems to be much more decisively conservative fiscally and socially.

I think this is broadly correct. Bush, to be sure, was a conservative on a number of issues, but Perry might be even more so. 

Why are journalists not writing and researching more about Perry's real record in Texas, looking at the just completed legislative session, and his appointments?

The Post has written extensively on all of these subjects, as has the New York Times. 



How will Cheney's book affect the race or is he so yesterday?

So, so, so, yesterday. 

Is Perry likely to appoint supreme court justices who respect the constitution literally, or those who adapt it to meet their own policy goals, i.e. Sotomayor/Thomas?

Well, without ascribing to your descriptions of judges, I would assume Scalia/Thomas. Romney would approach this the same way. 

All that matters, in the event Perry is the nominee, is whether the Dems can convince the electorate that he's George W Perry. If they can, Obama wins a second term. You have to admit there's a lot of ammo for that fight.

From a pure political standpoint, yes, you are right. Dems will try to make Perry or Romney the next version of George W. Bush. 

Because he finished his military service.

A good point. 

We hear so much about how this phase of running GOP candidates is more about arousing their base and not addressed to mainstream independents and fall-away Democrats. At what point does the base not matter any more and we will presumably see some serious talk about our country's problems?

I think the Republicans will start laying out more detailed plans in the next few weeks. Romney is giving his jobs agenda later this month. One thing: Republicans are the party that believes in less government. They won't have a nine-part plan on every issue. 

I hope Rick Perry is the republican choice for President, I will vote for him in a heart beat. My question is, what is there not to like about Rick Perry, is is perfect candidate.

And a very pro-Perry comment. 

I will end with that. Thanks for the questions everyone. 

In This Chat
Perry Bacon Jr.
Perry Bacon, Jr. is a national political reporter at the Washington Post, writing for both the paper's website and its print edition. He has written numerous front page stories on politics and policy. He is currently author of the column "In Session" on Congress. He also is a contributor to The Root, an online magazine that focuses on African-American issues. His work has also appeared in TIME Magazine, National Journal, and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Bacon regularly speaks about politics on national television, including appearances on CBS's "Face the Nation" and CNN's "Larry King Live," as well as universities, including George Washington and Yale. He is frequently on MSNBC's "Hardball" and the ABC political show "Top Line."
Recent Chats
  • Next: