The Ebola crisis in Texas, one state where the economy is booming, can put its governor Rick Perry in the White House. As the crisis deepens, the nation's eyes will be on him, just as they were on New York mayor Rudy Giuliani post 9/11.
All Perry has to do is display operational leadership, develop a sense of empathy, and keep the TX and U.S. economy from going into freefall. Then the White House will be his to lose.
We progressives want that to happen. Being the U.S. president changes the politico. To get to the White House and to hold onto the job for two terms Bill Clinton shifted to moderate. That transformation was so masterful that it's cited as a classic example of genius politics by those who study the game.
Many of us, including conservatives, detest the TX use of the death penalty. Smoothly as the U.S. president, Perry can navigate away from that stance. He can host a national panel of experts from diverse disciplines - including U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - on the abortion issue. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he could give a presentation on what the U.S. still needs to do about climate change.
Meanwhile, just like Giuliani, Perry has a big crisis to manage.