I'm fairly certain that Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying his best to read former President George W. Bush's mind here:
It is heartening to know that I'm not the only one who enjoyed the newest X-men movie, even if I suspect Gov. Perry and I have little else in common.
That Perry would enjoy some telepathy right now is proven more true by the text of the article that follows the photo, where the argument is made that Perry is trying to distance himself from Bush as he gears up to land the Republican nomination:
But in recent years, Mr. Perry has broken politically with Mr. Bush, questioning his credentials as a fiscal conservative, accusing him of going on “a big government binge” and playing down some of Mr. Bush’s accomplishments in Texas in light of his own.
First of all, this isn't so much distancing himself from W. as it is stealing a page or eight out of W's playbook. When George W. Bush, governor of Texas, decided to run for the presidency, he didn't do it by agreeing with the standard-bearers of the time (John McCain) or the nominee from the last cycle (Bob Dole). He struck out on his own, promising a breed of conservatism that was going to be "compassionate" but also "conservative" in its embrace of tax cuts and stronger national security. This was in response to the nation's own desire for something a bit sweeter and simpler than the political imbroglios of the final Clinton years. Bush then went on to prove his commitment to some of those ideals by engaging in a bunch of wars while cutting taxes.
Perry, likewise, can read the Tea leaves, and he understands that the wide umbrella of Bushian regard available in 2004 is now tattered by the storms of 2008 and 2010. So he needs to strike out into a right-wing territory also known as "really, really conservative" land. Bush lived there for a while too, and then, post-election, something called "reality" happened.
Ultimately, it's going to be hard in many ways for Republicans to run against Bush because to do so, one has to be able to make the argument that Bush wasn't a fiscal conservative... which is true, except that what Bush overspent on wasn't feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, those tiresome ideas promoted by reasonable liberals, but on going to war after a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It's my understanding that no Republican (and no Democrat) can win the nomination by arguing that we shouldn't have gone looking for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, no matter what his or her position on the protracted war (and its counterpart in Iraq) is now.
So if you're Gov. Perry, maybe some mind-reading wouldn't hurt. Bush himself faced a quandary while running the first time: to oppose his father's kinder/gentler G.O.P. or to continue it? He picked a middle ground that somehow affirmed Bush 41's path while plainly showing he would be his own president. Perry's challenge is to do the same.
Seriously, though, if I had to choose, I'd vote Professor X over Governor Perry in a heartbeat. Dude's got morals and fingerless gloves. This is basically all I ask for in a candidate.