Despite its strict gun laws, high taxes, and legalized same-sex marriage, Texas Gov. Rick Perry claims he might move to California. In this week's New York Times Magazine's profile, author Mark Leibovitch writes that "Perry told me that he loves California ... and might even move here in January when he’s done with his 14-year stint running Texas." Depending on where he lands in the Golden State, he might actually like it.
With its enthusiastic gun culture, "ex-gay therapy," and its tendency to steal jobs from blue states, Texas would seem like the complete antithesis of California culture. After 14 years as governor, Perry would seem to embody those differences more than anyone. Yet, California does has a lot of wealthy, mostly white neighborhoods; a healthy number of Republicans, and enough Austin-like weirdness to help him feel right at home. And, based off a few excerpts from The Times' profile, it seems like Perry could get on just fine in Orange County, as long as he leaves some his Texas habits at home.
Here's what he's got down, and what needs work:
Fashion — Californian
Perry went to a Jewish Deli in Beverly Hills dressed like a cross between a movie executive on a working vacation and a fading hot dad on vacation in Santa Barbara. He wore "a tight black polo shirt and designer glasses. His face was nicely tanned; his hair, as ever, was coifed and TV-ready." He'll blend right in.
Jokes — Texan
Perry is best known for spending 45 seconds trying to remember the name of the third department he would dissolve if elected president (the Department of Energy). Leibovitch notes that "Perry has been self-deprecating about the episode from the outset. 'I’m glad I had my boots on tonight, because I sure stepped in it out there,' he said in the post-debate spin room that night." That's the sort of joke that gets lost in translation — most Californians don't regularly walk in boots or places where you step in "it."
In the early 2000s, the Los Angeles County Fair released a commercial set in a Beverly Hills-type boutique. One girl asks if cashmere comes from "the boy cow or the girl cow?" (It comes from goats.) It's a joke, but the sentiment is still true.
Famous Friends - Californian
Not all Californians are friends with famous people, but your odds increase when you're rich and famous yourself.
When I asked him why he likes California, Perry told me a stemwinder about how he met and became close friends with Marcus Luttrell, the retired Navy SEAL and co-author of Lone Survivor.
State Pride — Texan
Perry said Luttrell "underscored the need for new methods of treating PTSD and traumatic brain injuries" and "much of that research is being pioneered in Texas." Emphasis added. True Californians aren't known for saying such nice things about Texas, even if they're true.
Chillness - Californian
Perry may still run for president, but he's also focused on spending the next few years just, like, learning, you know? “When I step out of my current job,” Perry said, “and I have 15 or 20 productive years left in my body, I want to be able to have as in-depth an understanding about this world as possible.” Deep.