Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

Texas Governor Rick Perry is a Marlboro man—tough, rugged, and handsome.  Perry is a tobacco chewing, boot wearing, coyote shooting executive.  His image is of a Hollywood tough guy, much like Fred Thompson in 2008.  They both mosied into a Republican presidential field void of a law and order type and both had the Bostonian Mitt Romney in their crosshairs.

Both Thompson and Perry have political experience, but ultimately take the position as Washington outsiders that want to be the new sheriff in town.  Perry has taken up the mantel of party savior, as Thompson did four years earlier.  In the lead up to the 2008 Republican primary Fred Thompson was touted as a breath of fresh air because of his straight talk and machoness.  The former actor also announced late, after Labor Day and came into the field as a frontrunner with high marks in the polls.

The 2008 GOP field included a senior statesman, a moderate governor, a southern governor, and a very moderate New York mayor.  Fred Thompsan was able to capitalize on the absence of a straight shooting sheriff.  Thompson stood in the starkest contrast to then front-runner Romney.  Today Perry also stands in stark contrast to again front-runner Perry and is focused on knocking him off.

Thompson seemed to be the “it” guy.  But soon after his announcement his campaign showed signs of cracking.  Given his late start, Fred Thompson did not end up with the necessary cash.  However, the most serious flaw came in large part from inconsistencies with his tough guy conservative image.  He could not shake off his incident of lobbying for a family planning group to relax an abortion rule.

Rick Perry also has his conservative faux pas incident.  In 2007 he gave an executive order making HPV vaccines mandatory for young girls.  Perry has since accepted this mandate as a mistake and tried to bury it with an aggressive show of social and moral conservative outreach.  However, more consistently Christian conservative candidates such as Bachmann, Santorum and Palin (if she jumps in) may hogtie Perry with the HPV issue and unravel Perry’s strong moral guardian image.

The Texas Governor’s late start and past support of a liberal issue may lead him down the same road of Thompson’s early burnout.  But, Perry has the advantage of being a skilled campaigner and running in a year where the electorate is frustrated with President Obama.  The 2012 Republican presidential candidate may end up being the law and order candidate, but not without a fierce fight from the battle tested Romney.