Rick Perry is deciding to enter the race. Note this is remarkably late, being less than 15 months to go to the election. Typical campaigns last 21 months, not 15. During the 2008 election, by this time Obama had already out-raised Clinton and Oprah had not even mentioned him yet.
So a couple of questions - first, why did Perry wait? Maybe because he did not think he had a chance, until he saw the current people competing to lose to Obama in 2012. Maybe he because he knew that the shorter the primary campaign, the last dirt your own people dig up on you.
Why am I so sure he will lose? Because the far right has a lock on the primary process of the GOP and the center hates the far right. You can't win the primary unless you agree to: no new taxes, no on abortion, no on gay rights (there is actually a gay republican candidate for presidency that Fox won't show on TV - despite his having the 1% of votes that they claim is their limit), no on healthcare, no on everything Obama every asks for.
Anyone that cow-tows enough to the far right to win the Republican Nomination can NOT win the popular vote. The far right gives you at most 30% of the vote, and you need 51%. Obama on the other hand is quite willing to move to the middle - as demonstrated by his willingness to cut entitlement programs if the GOP agrees to raise taxes. The independent voters are not fooled by the ridiculous hyperbole of the T-party. They know garbage when they hear it.
But that is beside the point. Who is Perry, what makes him different than the other candidates. Well, he lacks the history of outright lies that Michele Bachmann has. He lacks the kiss of death of working with the Democrats that Huntsman has. He lacks the Mormon scare that Mitt Romney has. He has the experience that Cain does not. He has the intelligence that Palin does not.
In short, he lacks all the weaknesses that the other candidates have. The only true weakness he has is a clear history of sending innocent men to the death chamber (In 1991 Cameron Todd Willingham's house burned down. After a trial in which an 'expert' witness (if you can claim to be an expert when the state has already discredited you - but not in that trial) said it was arson, he was convicted of Arson and killing his three daughters. The claimed motive was to have more time alone. In 2004 Perry let Willingham die, despite multiple real arson experts testimony that the fire was accidental, not arson. In 2009 Perry fires the commission that was going to report on the innocence/guilt of Willingham 2 days before they make their report and replaced them, having them start over. In May 2011, the commission found that the Arson investigation did not follow proper procedure and then in August the Attorney General Office ordered the commission NOT to rule on Willingham's guilt/innocence because the crime took place too long ago.)
That said, Rick Perry is a fairly typical republican, who has stated that he wished the country did not have an income tax. He opposes gay rights, abortion, etc. He is religious (Methodist), believes in intelligent design, is against vaccination for HPV (a kind of cancer women can get from sex). He does not believe in global warming.
He has ruled over Texas while it has been adding jobs - though they are almost all menial, low paying jobs, and bragged about it being the only state to do so during the recession.
His only liberal thought is opposing the US-Mexican Fence. He prefers boots on the ground, and has stated that the harsh anti-immigration Arizona Law SB1070 is not right for Texas.
Most importantly, Rick Perry, unlike Obama, lacks leadership. He follows the GOP guidebook instead of re-writting it.
Compare that to Obama that is willing to reform medicare/medicaid (if we get tax increases). Obama did what no previous Democrat President could do - reform healthcare (despite yet another appeals court ruling that is likely to be over-ruled.). Obama got us out of Iraq, is getting us out of Afghanistan, killed Osama Bin Laden. No, Rick Perry is just another follower, not a leader.
So it is not very surprising that he has followed all the other slow-poke republicans into the race for the Republican failed presidency candidate, as opposed to going first.
We need a leader and leaders jump in, they don't hang back and test the water.
P.S. Before Perry began running for election in Texas, he was a Democrat. But in Texas, Democrats can't win anymore (they used to be able to win as a 'blue dog' conservative Democrat because old timers hated the Republican party - a hold over from the Civil War). Perry even helped Al Gore's campaign, about 23 years ago. But he disagreed with Al Gore about environmentalism and claims that is what turned him Republican.