Yesterday, outgoing Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered his farewell address before the Texas legislature. Perry, who is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, used his time at the podium not only to highlight his accomplishments as Governor, but to lay out a rough outline of how his governing style would take shape on the national stage.

From KPRC Houston:

“I have come here to reflect on what we have done together, and to say farewell. But most of all, to tell you it has been the highest of honors to serve as your governor for the last 14 years. I believe in public service, that it is among the most honorable of callings,” said Perry in the nearly half-hour speech. He said, “Texas is a state where the impossible is possible, where the sons and daughters of migrant workers can aspire to own the farm, where the children of factory workers can build new age manufacturing facilities, where the son of tenant farmers can become governor of the greatest state in the union. In Texas, it’s not where you come from that matters, it’s where you are going. Texas doesn’t recognize the artificial barriers of race, class or creed. The most vivid dreams take flight from the most humble beginnings. And so it was for me.”

That isn’t what a farewell address sounds like—that’s what a campaign kickoff speech sounds like.


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Perry’s 2016 run is seen by some as a near-certainty not only because of the economic success that Texans are so prone to brag about, but because of Perry’s own resurgence as a political force of nature.

After his disastrous 2012 presidential campaign, many expected him to fade into the shadows and enjoy a quiet retirement; but Perry is above all things a savvy and experienced politician who has witnessed enough scandal during his time in Texas politics to know what The End looks like.

Perry has managed to separate himself from the pack of other 2016 contenders by embracing a governing style that focuses less on putting out fires between warring factions and more on carving out a path to success that isn’t exclusive to his own political party.

Perry struck a bipartisan chord in his remarks, urging fellow Republicans to “not place purity ahead of unity.”

“There is room for different voices, for disagreement,” he said. “Compromise is not a dirty word if it moves Texas forward.”

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) said the sentiment came as a “pleasant surprise.”

“It was a very good speech,” she said. “Of all the ones I’ve seen, it was his best.”

State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who hails from the conservative wing of the Republican Party, did not take objection.

“I think he’s right,” Leach said. “There are certain convictions that all of us have that we don’t compromise on, but where we can find balance and prudent compromise, I think we’ve done that.”

Balance is key to building a foundational voter base, and Perry has it in spades. From his commitment to job growth, to his focus on implementing diversion programs for non-violent drug offenders, Perry has done a great deal of work over the past few years convincing people that, while talking points make for snappy Facebook posts, the real red meat comes from governing.

Still, Republicans enjoy the deepest bench they’ve had in at least two cycles, so an eventual Perry/[Choose Your Own Adventure] ticket isn’t anywhere near a certainty. But for now, conservatives should take comfort in knowing that at least one candidate circling the ring knows how to win friends and govern his way to success.


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