I’ve talked about Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, and others that seem to be in the mix for 2012. But today I got to thinking about the prospects of Texas Gov. Rick Perry while reading a nice hit piece done by the DCPost. It laments the fact that Perry is leading Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison so widely, wondering how a fifth generation Texan like Kay has to prove she’s Texan. Of course, once again the fourth estate misses the point of what is going here, the fact that this is not about who is more Texan but who is more in tune with the Republican electorate concerning spending and Washington overreach. While establishments cringe at Perry talking about Texas secession, they miss the real meaning behind the remark – it was meant as a spark to the independent nature of Texans that they don’t need the federal government overrunning them. Sadly, it seems Sen. Hutchison – a good and honorable Republican by all accounts – just can’t understand what is happening either. Any primary challenge of an incumbent must be predicated on convincing voters to firing him. Hutchison’s whole campaign really has been based on “its my turn” just the kind of insider dealing that Republicans right now are so put off by.Perry is like Sarah Palin but the exact opposite. Conservative, opinionated, a fighter but with nearly ten years experience as an executive of one of the biggest and most important states in the Union both in size and population. Another reason for Hutchison’s problems is that Perry has done a good job. Texas is in nowhere near the shape other big states like California, Ohio, and New York. He had a lackluster reelect in 2006, but it was a four-way election that was never really in doubt. What is interesting this year is that in the primary a challenger has arisen to the right of Perry that has inoculated him from being considered a far-right wing nut. But he has to win, and then beat the well-funded Houston mayor, Bill White. It won’t be easy. But if he can beat a sitting US senator and a millionaire big-city mayor in one year, combined with his long executive record, could make Rick Perry a real force to deal with in 2012.