Gov. Rick Perry often demonstrates an uncanny ability to tap into what energizes John and Jane Potential Conservative Voter in Texas.
The wisdom of being center stage at the Aug. 6 prayer rally called The Response was widely criticized by civil liberties groups because of the controversial statements by some of the gathering's organizers.
Some political watchers speculated that a paltry response to The Response might keep Perry from jumping into the GOP presidential fray.
But more than 30,000 people were drawn to Reliant Stadium in Houston to pray for a nation in crisis. They didn't give a widow's mite who was footing the bill.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history announced his presidential bid the following week.
Then there is his well-publicized refusal to meet with editorial boards at Texas newspapers during his last run for governor.
Dissing the press plays well in conservative America, even when the cold shoulder is given to community newspapers instead of The New York Times.
Just ask Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly how profitable it is to lambaste the "lamestream" media. They've made careers out of it.
Perry doesn't always hit home runs on the home field, though. His attempt to mandate the HPV vaccine for sixth-grade girls to help prevent cervical cancer didn't sit well with lots of Texans.
It's interesting that his apology for circumventing the Legislature by issuing an executive order didn't come until he was on the presidential campaign trail.
His constituents back home had to hear it from Iowa.
For North Texans, Perry may have hit another foul ball this week.
In an attempt to tap into the discontent among well-off Republicans over billionaire Warren Buffett's suggestion that they aren't paying their fair share of taxes, Perry took on the Oracle of Omaha on Thursday during an interview on CNBC.
When asked about the "Buffett rule," which says Americans making more than $1 million a year should pay, at minimum, the same tax percentage that the middle class does, Perry said Buffett doesn't know "what's going on out there in the real world."
"I think taxing millionaires is such a fake way to talk about what's going on in this country," Perry said.
Buffett's proposition merits serious scrutiny. Perry fouled out by battering Buffett's business acumen -- although he did it in a very Texas "bless his heart" way, which entails prefacing a put-down with a compliment.
"Buffett is a really intelligent individual," Perry said, "but I can promise you, he doesn't know what's going on in places where the job creation is at a zero because of overtaxation and overregulation."
Wow. Perry decides to smack-talk a guy who is deeply invested in the North Texas economy?
This is what happens when candidates are on camera and off script.
During the decade that Perry has enjoyed a lifestyle made possible by Texas voters and taxpayers, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO has pumped a considerable portion of his company's resources into Fort Worth.
In 2000, Berkshire purchased one of Cowtown's iconic companies, Justin Industries, maker of boots (Justin) and bricks (Acme).
In 2007, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway purchased TTI, a Fort Worth-based electronic components distribution company that employs more than 1,500 people at more than 50 locations.
A Mansfield-based subsidiary of TTI, Mouser Electronics, employed 593 at the time of the deal. Today, it has 980 -- or more. A Sept. 7 Star-Telegram story said Mouser had another 60 openings companywide, including 47 in Mansfield.
In early 2010, Buffett acquired Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway.
That would be the BNSF that announced in February it would spend $3.5 billion this year to upgrade railroad tracks and buy equipment as the company reinvests to keep pace with a growing volume of freight shipments.
The BNSF that is slated to spend $450 million on 227 new locomotives and $350 million on new rail cars that will be built by GE Locomotive, which is moving to Alliance Airport -- with the help of Texas Enterprise Fund money -- in large part because of Buffett's BNSF.
As much as Perry talks about Texas' good economy and how his state is the envy of the other 49, it didn't get that way because of him.
Thousands of hardworking North Texans who make good wages that pump up our economy owe their livelihoods to Warren Buffett being out of touch with the real world.
Most governors would love a piece of that.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jill "J.R." Labbe is editorial director of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.