On Wednesday, in the wake of Donald Trump's stunning everyone-was-wrong upset over Hillary Clinton, Texas' longest-serving governor got a call from the president-elect. Or at least it would seem that way, given this Instagram photo of Rick Perry cool-guy leaning against a phone booth, with the caption, "Just got a call to #makeamericagreatagain Saddle up & ride, bro!!"
While Perry now appears to be very excited ("bro!!"), his own post-governorship career has indeed been a strange, bumpy ride. When he left office in 2015, after becoming what some argue was the most powerful Texas governor ever, Perry jumped into the national political spotlight only to fail in spectacular fashion, with one little nationally-televised "oops" turning him into the biggest joke of the 2012 GOP primary.
Still, by last year, it actually looked like Perry's campaign might be a little less of a laughing stock in round two. Early on, he cautioned generally against Trump's rhetoric and, in particular, against racial division. In one speech, he lamented that "when we (Republicans) gave up trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln.” After Trump called Mexicans "rapists," Perry became one of the loudest, clearest voices within his party to denounce him as a "toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican party to perdition if pursued.” Trump's candidacy, as far as Perry was concerned, was "a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded."
Except for that whole excised-and-discarded part. Perry officially endorsed Trump once he became the party's inevitable pick. Then he campaigned for him, hard. He offered to be Trump's VP – then, once that was taken, maybe just some role inside the administration. He started saying creepy things about Clinton (“Donald Trump will peel her skin off in a debate”). He criticized a Gold Star family that dared to question Trump’s whole Muslim-ban policy. Suddenly, Trumpism wasn't so toxic or cancerous.
Maybe Perry got what he wanted. He hasn't elaborated on his post, so we don't know what his new job to #makeamericagreatagain will be. He's already popping up on shortlists for a Trump cabinet post
alongside fellow Texan and staunch Trump supporter Sid Miller, the state agriculture commissioner who just last week sent out a tweet that called Clinton a "cunt."
Or maybe this is just what Perry tells himself every time he's on the cusp of the next new, weird phase of his post-governor career. Saddle up & ride, bro.