For many Republicans and other victims of wishful thinking, Rick Perry is a dream candidate.

He is, so say the pundits who always know best, everything that George Bush claimed to be but was not: a fifth generation Texan, a rancher, a tough and principled leader who is not afraid to handle the big issues, whether the issues are job creation, social security, or Texas’ constitutional right to control its own affairs.

Rising petroleum prices are the largest part of the story, and Perry’s much vaunted fiscal conservatism has more to do with the simple fact that the Texas legislature, which only meets every other year, has a narrow window of opportunity in which to work its mischief.

Texas’ sound economy and comparative freedom have everything to do with the character of generations of Texans and not much to do with any particular administration.