Perry Gets Back to Basics: Jobs

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With a new campaign team in place, Rick Perry is up on the Iowa airwaves with his first campaign ad. It’s not a very expensive buy–only $175,000, or enough for several days of air time–but the spot is a reminder of what had conservatives so giddy about the Texas Governor this summer, before his candidacy clanged off the rim like a rushed jump shot. Though he seems bizarrely lost on debate stages, Perry looks comfortable and self-confident in campaign ads. And it remains true that he, more than any other candidate, has a superficially powerful case to make about job creation, which is what this ad is all about: 1 million new jobs in Texas under Perry, leading to an unemployment rate below the national average.

The truth behind Texas’s economic performance is more complicated than Perry would have you believe, of course. He has benefited from structural advantages that have helped his state weather the recession, and Texas is economically and socially unhealthy in important ways. But such nuances can get lost in primary fights. Mitt Romney will need to battle mightily to counteract what, in the coming months, will be millions of dollars of advertising making Perry’s job-creation case, and it may not be easy.