Wadhams plays down Rick Perry as last best hope for Republicans in 2012

In a piece that surveys Republican establishment players on the GOP presidential primary field, which has drawn half-hearted commitments among big donors, the Washington Post says Texas Governor Rick Perry is making a lot of moves that signal he’s ready to take the leap. The GOP players Perry has been spending hours calling up tell him the field remains wide open. In the end, though, the Post writers land on former Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams, who is measured in his response. Indeed, after the licks Wadhams took in Tea Party Colorado last year, he sounds almost circumspect.

“[The establishment] isn’t just sitting around waiting for Rick Perry specifically,” Wadhams told the Post reporters. “They just want to get it right, and they’re going to be thinking with their heads in addition to feeling with their hearts.”

The war between Republican heads and hearts in Colorado– where the establishment is the head and the Tea Party is the heart– ended Wadhams career here. He exited saying he couldn’t work with the amateur crazies anymore.

The war also led to a closed-door emergency meeting of the El Paso County party executive committee last week, where the establishment gathered inside to discipline upstart party member Sarah Anderson for her outspoken criticism of the “good ole boys” running things top down and socially blinkered, as if from a bygone era familiar to most voters now mostly as a world conjured on cable TV’s Mad Men.

Rick Perry, with his soaring Texas deficit and his high-profile antigay call for prayer and fasting to solve the country’s problems, isn’t likely to make that problem go away. There’s also that emerging story about his shaky commitment to the ongoing union of the states he would hope to lead.

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