With Rick Perry bowing out of the presidential race this week, his detractors and the liberal pundits have predictably started writing his political obituary. That’s mostly wishful thinking on their part. After all, Rick Perry has the opportunity to use the last-half of this term as governor to promote an agenda that puts Texas even further ahead of the rest of the nation.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Over the last 12 years, Rick Perry has been an able advocate for policies that have made the legendary Texas’ braggadocio an economic and political reality. He hasn’t been perfect, and we’ve disagreed on occasion with various programs and initiatives.

It’s true that the successes enjoyed by Texas aren’t all due to Gov. Perry, but he gets credit for using the bully pulpit of the governorship to effectively lead the legislature past the naysayers in the grow-government crowd.

But taken in all, Rick Perry’s leadership has propelled Texas to front of the pack. The state has produced more jobs than the rest of the nation, combined. The state is viewed as the top destination for job-creator, entrepreneurs, and those just hoping for a better life. (Want big-government services and higher taxes, then Texas really isn’t your kind of place.)

With a House leadership babbling about seeking new revenues and growing government, we’ll have a governor who has ably forced the Legislature to cut spending and reduce the size of government. Even as some senators are making noise about raising taxes, we’ll still have a governor who has said absolutely not.

From government transparency to spending limits, education reform to budget accountability, Rick Perry will go into the next legislative session with a handful of legacy initiatives that will allow Texas to scale even greater heights.

If it did nothing else, I suspect that his presidential campaign has made Rick Perry all the more passionate about protecting the state from federal intrusion. My guess is that leading up to the 2013 session of the Legislature, we’ll see Rick Perry taking an even more active and decisive role in promoting sound policy, limited government and greater economic freedom.

Far from being a lame duck, Rick Perry has new incentives to be a conservative champion.

After covering Rick Perry as a newspaper reporter, observing him as a policy wonk, and working alongside him as an activist, I’ve learned to never count him out. As he settles back into the full-time swing of life in Austin, coyotes and liberals better beware; my guess is the presidential campaign only sharpened Rick Perry’s aim in Texas.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."