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Todd Domke

The nominee?

How Perry can win the GOP nomination

(Brian Taylor for The Boston Globe)
By Todd Domke
July 29, 2011

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First in a series of scenarios on how GOP presidential candidates could win the nomination
IT’S ONE year from now, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. In a room behind the stage, Texas Governor Rick Perry waits to deliver his acceptance speech as the nominee to challenge President Obama.

CAMPAIGN MANAGER: “Remember, don’t swagger when you go to the podium. You don’t want to remind folks of George W. Let’s practice your walk again.’’

PERRY: “Hell no. My feet are too sore from all the how-to-walk rehearsals with your idiot choreographer. ‘Confident, not cocky.’ I had to put gel soles in my cowboy boots.’’

MANAGER: “I repeat: he is not a choreographer. He’s a personal presentation trainer.’’

PERRY: “Whatever. And the speech coach was even worse. Imagine the nerve, tellin’ me to ’de-twang’ my oratory! What in tarnation was that polecat fixin’ to do to me?’’

MANAGER: “We just want to make you more appealing to undecideds in swing states. And that’s why we donated all your French cuffs to charity. It was too Donald Trumpish, image-wise. But we’re done tinkering with you. You’re ready for primetime.’’

PERRY: “Course I am. This ain’t my first rodeo.’’

The candidate reviews his speech.

In walks pundit-pollster Dick Morris. He has heard the candidate’s feet are sore and offers to give him a foot massage. “It’s my patriotic duty,’’ he says, grinning.

Perry shakes his head no, and continues scanning his speech.

The dejected pollster leaves.

MANAGER: “Well, Governor, are you still happy with your speech?’’

PERRY: “I like this part: ‘Liberal critics say I wanted Texas to secede from the union. But I didn’t want my state to secede; I wanted my state to succeed! And we did! In the last two years we created 37 percent of all net new jobs in the United States. That success is what my critics really resent!’ ’’’

MANAGER: (mimes applause) “And that’s why we beat Mitt Romney. Taxachusetts was 47th in job-creation. Texas was first.’’

PERRY: “Jon Huntsman sure helped me sell that message in New Hampshire. He bragged about his job creation as governor of Utah, I bragged about mine, but Mitt only talked about his days at Bain Capital. He let the Dems depict him as a vulture capitalist.’’

MANAGER: “What really sank Romney was his gaffe in the debate when he slipped and called it ObamneyCare.’’

PERRY: (chuckles) “Then, flustered, trying to correct himself: “I mean, RomneyCare. No, ObamaCare!’ He went into that debate a frontrunner and came out a little varmint.’’

MANAGER: “He sure collapsed faster than Michele Bachmann or Tim Pawlenty. Those two kicked the stuffing out of each other for months.’’

PERRY: “I just stayed above it all. . .’’

MANAGER: “Yep, ‘divide and conquer’ is the ideal strategy when you don’t have to do the dividing. Pawlenty deflated Bachmann in Iowa, and Huntsman skewered Romney in New Hampshire. You became Mr. Unity and Mr. Electable, going into South Carolina.’’

PERRY: “The good ol’ days.’’

MANAGER: “Enough reminiscing. Practice the speech.’’

PERRY: “OK. . . Should I say this line more forcefully? ‘Four years ago, Barack Obama promised hope and change. Now our hope is to change him into a private citizen.’ ’’

MANAGER: “Sounds good. But take the twang out of ‘change.’ It’s not three syllables.’’

PERRY: “Alright, I’ll keep it to two.’’

Music blasts from the convention hall, “Deep in the Heart of Texas.’’ Delegates roar in approval and start chanting, “Per-ry! Per-ry! Per-ry!’’

PERRY: “Now that song puts swagger in my step!’’

MANAGER: “No, please, no. . .’’

PERRY (pumps his fist, and heads for the stage) “Giddyup.’’

Todd Domke is a Boston-area Republican political analyst, public relations strategist, and author.