Perry rising

In a column in The Hill on Tuesday, columnist Dick Morris says to "keep your eye on Perry." He argues that to win, a Republican candidate must lose first. He cites a pattern.

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"Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon all lost before they won," he writes. "Only George W. Bush and Gerald Ford won the nomination without first having lost. (And Ford inherited his incumbency and blew it)."

"Not so the Democrats," he says. Possibly Democrats are more spontaneous or impulsive.

"The Republican Party is, at heart, a monarchic and legitimist institution," he continues. "Party leadership is handed down in orderly succession. Rebels and insurgents are typically given short shrift."

Yes, having run before would give Perry, the governor of Texas, the advantage over attractive new entries like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. And yes, the familiarity which comes from a previous run is a necessity in today's presidential politics simply on marketing principles. But a dominating pattern which trumps in this rising cycle is the alternating cycle of power and pleasure; a natural human cycle of retreat from overbearing power and a rise again from pleasure to escape from pending chaos.

An anomalous president like Jimmy Carter, Georgia peanut farmer and Sunday-school teacher, may be seen in this formula as bringing a moment of psychic relief, entertainment and relaxation to the country after a trying period of the difficult war in Vietnam. The "monarchist and legitimist" President Reagan is sure to follow.

The Obama presidency is exactly such a phase. Following the trying war on Iraq, the entire world sought a break with the young, liberal and attractive Obama family. But a country which still has a life force will not definitively commit to rest and relaxation and to remain there will bring chaos and chaos threatens today. The instinct then rises to legitimate strength and the strongest or most authentic legitimate force is quickly sought out.

Morris says Perry is "acceptable to Latinos, based on his Texas record. He draws strong Tea Party support without being defined by it. A Southerner, he is clearly ready to play on the national stage. A big state governor, his record on jobs has only gotten better. Perry can't be dismissed."

Therefore, if Carter, then Reagan. If Hollywood, then Texas. And if Obama, then Perry.

Further, the trouble before, which brought on the cycle of reaction, will be legitimized and incorporated by the "monarchist and legitimist" president.

"Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no matter right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or history," wrote President Ulysses Grant in his autobiography.

The ambiguity suggested in the "right or wrong" phrase is the Mexican War. But the same could be said for Vietnam and likewise, Iraq. Countries do not repudiate their shadowed pasts. They celebrate the light, mute the dark, and move on.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at quigley1985@gmail.com.

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