Marvin Olasky has begun to size-up the new GOP front-runner in the latest issue of World magazine. Olasky has lived in Austin for two decades and has known many of Rick Perry’s political allies, critics, and former staffers. After reading Olasky’s article, I have to say that his take on Perry is rather cool. It’s not negative, but it’s not positive either. It is a bit wait-and-see-ish. Olasky gives a thumbnail sketch of Perry’s very conservative record as the governor of Texas. Olasky raises the specter of some “crony capitalism” in Perry’s record as well. Olasky finds no evidence of any personal corruption on Perry’s part.
I took a particular interest in Olasky’s take on Perry’s family and faith. In Olasky’s own words:
Perry, 61, has been married for 29 years to his childhood sweetheart, Anita. Confidantes say some marital problems may have occurred during the 1980s and 1990s, but a decade ago a deepening commitment became apparent, and Anita now strongly supports his running for the presidency. They have two grown children, Griffin and Sydney, who have attended the evangelical Austin Stone church.
Perry for years attended the mainline Tarrytown United Methodist Church but now goes to Lake Hills, an evangelical megachurch. A half-dozen years ago he became more publicly evangelical. Only God knows whether the change is primarily theological or political, but evangelicals who have traveled privately with Perry say that Perry won’t eat without praying first.
[Perry] will face a hostile press for both ideological and personal reasons: He hasn’t kissed up to Texas newspaper editorial boards or given reporters lots of advance knowledge of his travels. Some of George W. Bush’s staffers are adversaries, largely because of egos on both sides rather than huge policy differences. Perry’s staffers cuss a lot and so has Perry at times, including a famous Mofo incident in 2005.
Perry’s friends rather than his enemies might get him into trouble. So could his impetuous side. The consensus is that he’ll run a strong campaign—if he’s gained sufficient discipline through his experience—and could become a strongly conservative president.
Read the rest here.