After eight years of a president with a short legislative resume, Rick Perry says Americans will not make that same mistake in 2016 and are ready for a president with a proven record of accomplishment.
"We took a chance with a young, articulate United States senator who didn't have any record, and I happen to think we're paying a price for it," the former Texas governor told an audience in New Hampshire last week.
"Americans are going to want someone who has been tested, someone who's got results in their background, and we're not going to choose another young, untested United States senator," Perry asserted recently, according to the Dallas Morning News
"So whether it's on job creation or public safety or public health, I think Americans are going to want to see someone who has that experience," the former governor added.
Perry is not the only one arguing that what is needed to fix the nation's problems is executive experience.
During a recent visit to Washington for a series of meetings, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that the "cure" for the nation's ills will come from the state capitals.
"I would say, with the deepest respect to my former colleagues, that I am persuaded, having spent 12 years in Congress and two years as a governor, that the cure for what ails this country will come as much from our nation's state capitals as it ever will from our nation's capital," Pence told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, according to The Daily Jeffersonian
Pence and Perry's focus on their executive experience is a wise campaign strategy if recent history is a guide. Of the last six individuals elected president, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were all governors.
Currently, there are as many as 10 sitting or former governors
from both parties considering a campaign for president, according to The Washington Post's Reid Wilson.
While leading a state can have its advantages, it also has its downside, Wilson says.
"Without exception, their records give them something to run on — and their opponents something to run against. Opposition researchers are salivating at the opportunity to highlight the inevitable flubs, foibles and failings that any governor faces," he writes.
Particularly for the Republican governors pondering a run in 2016, how they have or have not implemented Obamacare may or may not be a strength.
For example, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie temporarily expanded Medicaid in 2013, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich unilaterally expanded the program in his state a year later and just last month, Pence approved an alternative to Medicaid expansion last month, according to the Post.
The strength of their records, however, does not necessarily translate into success once in office.
A 2012 paper
authored by University of Miami political scientists Joseph Uscinski and Arthur Simon found that military experience was a better predictor of success as a president and that whether the individual is from a large or a small state was a factor.
"In stark contrast to previous studies, we show that certain experiences are potent, but also nuanced, predictors of presidential performance. The strongest predictors of success across specification include certain forms of military service and service as a governor of a big state. These findings support a president-centered approach: factors internal to the individual president appear to affect performance," they wrote.
Perry has both executive and military experience, which sets him apart from the GOP field.
Not surprisingly, those candidates who lack executive experience disagree.
"The next president of the United States needs to be someone that has a clear view of what's happening in the world, a clear strategic vision of America's role in it, and a clear tactical plan for how to engage America in global affairs. And I think for governors, that's going to be a challenge at least initially, because they don't deal with foreign policy on a daily basis," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the editorial board of The Christian Science Monitor
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