Republican Party power-brokers are having a tough time finding a candidate they can get enthusiastic about. They thought Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour would be their savior and both demurred. They trumpeted Jon Huntsman, whose leap into the pool didn't even ripple the surface. So many old names keep resurfacing that it's just a matter of time before Fred Thompson tosses his hat back in the ring.
Their latest entrant - Texas Governor Rick Perry - is a prolific fundraiser, a big state executive and a true conservative. But he hasn't proven a game-changer. In part, he quickly became a target of rival candidates, media scrutiny and pundit mockery. Additionally, as soon as analysts started peeking beneath the edges of "The Texas Miracle," they found a weak economy, household insecurity and the same problems plaguing the rest of the nation.
Perry holds out the promise that he could make the rest of America look more like Texas…but would the rest of America want that? This is the state that gave us George W. Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay.
Sure, you watch a few episodes of "Friday Night Lights" and you want to declare, "Texas, forever." But then you remember that this is the home state of Sen. John Cornyn, who asked what is different between marriage equality and allowing people to marry box turtles.
You think about how much fun South-by-Southwest sounds. Then you remember that it's the state that produced Phil Gramm who, as McCain's economic advisor, told working Americans to stop whining about the economy.
You find yourself humming along to the Dixie Chicks. Then you remember that a Texas gubernatorial candidate Clayton Mill once compared rape to bad weather, saying "It's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it."
So, no, Americans don't all think we need to Texasify our country.
And in fairness, when Governor Perry isn't trying to lead our nation, he's trying to lead Texas out of it, with repeated comments about Texas leaving the union. The best response to the threat of secession is the one that comedian Andy Cobb offered in this video:
Truly, though, I don't want Texas to leave the union. But I also don't want Rick Perry to leave Texas - and evidently neither do the GOP honchos who continue to search for their new savior.
As they keep building up the next candidate, they seem to be following the old logic, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
Too bad their most recent candidate misheard them slightly -- "If at first you don't secede, try, try again" - which might be how they do things in Texas…but isn't the right campaign slogan for the rest of the USA.
Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."