Ron Paul won the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll this weekend, but another Texas Republican was a huge hit in New Orleans: Gov. Rick Perry. Carl Cannon reports that his speech was tremendously well received:
Displaying undeniable presence from the podium, Perry did the obligatory invoking of Ronald Reagan, but to a specific purpose: to forcefully assert his view that the two great strains of the modern Republican Party — economic libertarianism and social conservatism — are not incompatible. “Our party cannot listen to our loudest opponents on the left,” he said, in a subtle dig at Mitt Romney. “They are never going to like us, so it’s time we stopped trying to curry favor with them.”
When he finished, the crowd rose to its feet and — in the loudest and most spontaneous demonstration of the three-day meeting — broke into a clapping chant, “Run, Rick, run! Run, Rick, run!”
Perry is still mulling a presidential bid and wasn’t included on the straw poll ballot. But his appearance was part of a tour testing the waters and all indications are he would be a serious force if he got into the race.