Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. In early 2010, Karl Rove convened a group of businessmen for lunch at a private club in Dallas. The guests included some of the richest and most influential people in Texas. T. Boone Pickens, the corporate raider from Amarillo, was there, as was Harlan Crow, the prodigal son of Trammell Crow, the most prominent real estate developer in the country in his day.
When I was in Austin last month reporting on the rise of Rick Perry, Texas political insiders again and again would praise Perry's political team for its cohesion and stability -- a close-knit group of associates and advisers he'd accumulated over the years, each of which knew his or her role and strengths and weaknesses, and each of which ultimately deferred to the unquestioned leader, Dave Carney, Perry's acerbic chief strategist. There was just one caveat I kept hearing: it would not necessarily be an easy transition for this team to move onto the national stage.