Rick Perry Edges His 10-Gallon Hat Toward The Ring

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Reuters / Jonathan Ernst

The Governor of Texas is heading for the headlines. “I’m going to think about it,” Rick Perry told the Austin American Statesman on Friday, about a possible 2012 presidential run. This would be a big deal, perhaps even more disruptive to the GOP field than Sarah Palin deciding to make a run for it. Perry, as governor of Texas, could bring a lot to the table:

–Social conservatives, who have no clear choice right now.

–Tea Partiers, who have no clear top-tier candidate right now.

–A ton of Texas cash. (There is basically one thing better than being a Texas Republican who needs a lot of cash quick: Being a California Democrat.)

–A claim to the western ruggedness of Ronald Reagan. (Hey, it worked for George W. Bush, and Perry was actually born to ranchers and not a family from Connecticut.)

–A serious, executive public policy record, which most of the declared GOP candidates now lack.

Saying ‘I will think about’ it is not the same as saying ‘I will do it.’ But Perry allies have been muttering for months about their hopes that the boss sees the light. Watch this space. The cowboy might just saddle up his horse.

UPDATE: Since Perry made the comment, his spokesman has tried to walk it back, saying the governor thinks about a lot of things and has no intention of running for president, which reads as a careful nondenial, since it does not contradict what his boss said. As RealClearPolitics’ Scott Conroy Tweeted, “So I’m gonna go ahead and trust Rick Perry rather than Rick Perry’s spokesman.” To be clear, Perry is not announcing a run, or clearly moving towards a run, but he is stirring the pot.