De-Fanging the Rattlesnake
The Bush-Perry Conundrum
Barring any major revelations or an implosion of the Perry campaign, the Texas governor has the easiest path to the Republican nomination right now. The majority of the candidates are on life support already, if indeed they were ever breathing on their own in the first place. So, realistically it comes down to Perry, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Congresswomen and Tea Party darling, Michele Bachmann. And, again barring any surprises, even with only a few days of being a candidate under his belt, Perry is the de facto frontrunner. So, he’d better get ready for attacks from all sides and especially the most obvious one: the Dubya Connection.
First of all, why Perry and not Romney or Bachmann. As I’ve said before, Bachmann says all the right things, but she is simply a flawed messenger, if not for primary voters, certainly for general election voters. If nothing else, the mainstream media is very effective at tarring conservative women as kooks. Oh, the moderate women, the Christine Todd Whitmans and the Kay Bailey Hutchinsons, they are hailed as examples of the GOP making strides towards gender equality. “Me not caveman. Me moderate, like you!” But, put a conservative woman on the stage and all pretenses of chivalry, all sense of fairness, is dead. And, whether we like it or not, all too often in politics, perception is reality. That is why Sarah Palin’s chances of getting elected is nil and Bachmann has followed in her footsteps in all the wrong ways. When it comes to the MSM, you haven’t come a long way unless you toe their ideological line, baby! And very few things scare the Left as much as a strong, articulate, smart, CONSERVATIVE, woman. Such a creature cannot be allowed to survive. Look for the attacks on her, the unflattering pictures, and the stories on her husband, to only get more frequent and dirtier.
Mitt Romney is simply a man out of time, a stranger in a strange land. This is a Tea Party election year and the Massachusetts governor cannot make in-roads into that group because he simply is not one of them. He can talk the fiscal conservative talk all he wants, but he’s too slick, too New Englandian, too much tied to Obamacare through Romneycare, He’s not the populist, grass roots candidate that the party is calling for. He’s not a man of the people, he’s the man! The only thing that will keep Romney competitive is that he is a beneficiary of having ran before, having the name and face recognition and benefiting from the GOP’s tendency to promote from within. “What, you ran before and lost? Well, you’re up, buddy!” Also, with the exception of John Huntsman, who really should be hitting the links with Obama at Martha’s Vineyard instead of running in a Republican primary, Romney is the only non-Tea Party candidate. So, that automatically garners him the percentage of party voters who don’t like the Tea Party. In that respect, his Real Clear Politics average of 21% may be near his peak.
So, Rick Perry, you’re on your way to the nomination and the knives start to come out, from the Establishment GOP who seeks to derail you in the primary in favor of a more “sane” and “electable” Romney, from the MSM, and from the Obama operatives.
Barring any great scandal, the Obama White House's biggest gun against Perry will be the Bush comparison. "Do you really want another Texan in the White House? That's what got us here in the first place. Do you want a third George Bush term?" They will probably find video of the two men saying roughly the same thing, low tax, pro-growth, real evil stuff, and juxtapose them together and say something like "this how the car got in the ditch. Do we really want to give the keys again?” A desperate GOP primary foe (I'm talking about you Romney) may try the same tactic as a way of showing what Obama will do and how that makes him more electable than Perry.
So, what Perry needs to do is to start differentiating himself from Bush and start now. Again, barring any surprises, the race is down to Romney: the ostensibly electable, next-in-line suit, and Perry, who had already eclipsed all the more conservative candidates (except Bachmann) before he announced and who will pick up the lion share of their supporters as they drop out. Bachmann will get enough to keep it a race and Romney will get those banking on perceived electability over ideology. But, at this point its hard not to see it coming down to a Romney-Perry battle and in an already conservative population of Republican primary voters, in a Tea Party driven year, gun-shy of RINO’s, its hard to imagine a scenario where Romney pulls it out. The question is: will Romney go quietly once the nomination starts to slip away or will he rage against the night and Perry? Which brings us back to the Bush-Perry strategy! How does Perry get ahead of it?
"Where George W. Bush went wrong..." should come out of Perry's mouth every 15 seconds. And where did Dubya go wrong? By compromising with Congressional Democrats. Bush's biggest fault was that he trusted "them", Congressional Democrats, of whom Obama was one. Bush's mistake was that he gave Obama the keys to the economy before he even had the keys to the White House, and Obama, Reid, Pelosi, etc... charted the course for the fiscal ditch with the same deficits and stimulus spending that Obama has continued as president and wants to expand upon in a second term. Perry needs to say, "George W. Bush's biggest mistake was that he thought he could trust the people who want to take our freedom from us, centralize power in DC, and destroy our economy. I won't make that mistake." If Perry were to start that now, it would catapult him through the primary (can you imagine Romney trying make the same sort of statement with a straight face?) by removing one of the great obstacles in his path long before he even gets to it and would effectively kill the issue in the general election. Obama would certainly still bring it up, it may be his only weapon if the economy doesn’t improve, but Perry could de-fang that rattler before he even crosses its path.