As Katrina has reported, I did indeed travel to Austin last week to meet with Governor Rick Perry. There was a small group of us former government official types, and we talked about a variety of national security issues.
The Governor is a very impressive guy. I admire him, and I hope I was of whatever help he thought I could be in thinking through the challenges we face. It’s a very good thing for the country when people weighing decisions as important as whether to run for president tap into the relevant experience of current and former officials.
I’ve had similar discussions with some of the other candidates. My rule of thumb is that if a public official thinks consulting with me will help him or her arrive at good policy, I make myself available to do that, regardless of party affiliation or whether I generally agree with the official’s politics. (People of very different political persuasions can often find common ground on national security and law enforcement issues, and I’ve learned an awful lot banging things around with folks whose politics are very different from mine.) I’ve occasionally declined to meet, but only when I had good reason to think the purpose of a proposed meeting was just to say a meeting happened rather than to engage in a good faith discussion.
Most of the time, there’s not publicity attendant to these sorts of things. This time, for whatever reason, there was. In any event, if Gov. Perry decides to run, he will be a very strong candidate in a field that includes a number of very strong candidates — good news for those of us who believe it is imperative that the incumbent be defeated.