Romney’s attack strategy against Perry: Mediscaring?

posted at 9:33 pm on August 29, 2011 by Allahpundit

I wrote about the possibility of this on Friday, so read that post first if you haven’t yet. Long story short: It could work as long as Romney balances the attacks by insisting on entitlement reform.

But I have to say: Given the magnitude of the debt crisis, the thought of any Republican being hammered by another Republican for not loving entitlements enough makes me queasy.

Why should Romney attack Perry directly when the Democrats, the liberal media and Michele Bachmann will do it for him? Romney’s strategists note that Perry will have to survive five debates in six weeks — ample opportunity for Bachmann to “rip his eyes out” (as she did to Tim Pawlenty) or for Perry to blow himself up.

If Perry fails to implode and continues to surge in the polls, Romney eventually will have to go on the attack — an assault his advisers say will commence “at a time of our choosing.” Romney strategists are quick to note that in his book, “Fed Up!,” Perry writes that “By any measure, Social Security is a failure” and calls the program “something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now” that was created “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.”

Look at what happened to Paul Ryan when he proposed a plan to save Medicare, they say. Romney’s campaign will argue that Perry is against the very idea of Social Security and Medicare, and that he will use Perry’s book to scare seniors in early-primary states with large retiree populations, such as Florida and South Carolina.

He’s planning to hit him on other things too — immigration, career politician, cronyism, etc — but none of those would have the electric-shock effect of the primary turning into a referendum on who’ll do more to preserve Medicare as is. Two broader strategic points here. One: If Romney goes this route, he’ll be well positioned for the general election if he’s the nominee — but if Perry’s the nominee, this could weaken him significantly. The Democrats will play Mediscare games against either of them regardless, but if Romney beats them to the punch by using that accusation against Perry, it immunizes him from the charge to some extent once he faces Obama. The first time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz screams that Mitt wants to eliminate Social Security, he’s got a ready answer — not only doesn’t he want to do that, but he won his party’s nomination against a guy who (allegedly) did by calling him out on it. If Perry beats Romney for the nomination, though, then the DNC has a golden attack line handed to them: “Rick Perry is so radical on Medicare that he even scares other Republicans,” punctuated by a shot of Romney attacking Perry on those grounds at one of the debates. It would be devastating. Even if Perry tries to explain it away, the fact that he’d be on the defensive on this issue of all issues would be trouble.

The other strategic point: I’m really curious to see how the base would greet a Mediscare attack from Mitt Romney of all people. On the one hand, even tea partiers are reluctant to cut entitlements when asked about it in polls. On the other hand, conservatives are increasingly aware of the role entitlements play in driving the debt crisis, their pet issue. Will they back away from Perry once Romney raises suspicions about his support for the programs? Or will they turn on Romney, seeing his defense of the programs as further evidence of his big-government tendencies? Perry could, if he chose, attempt to counter Romney with the same attack House Republicans used against the Democrats last year — namely, that they’re the true protectors of Medicare because they opposed the gigantic new health-care law that’s going to end up siphoning off money from the program. Perry could use a variation of that argument to hit Romney on RomneyCare. But I’m not sure he’ll do it: Given a chance in Iowa on Saturday to walk back the tough talk in his book about entitlements, he doubled down by calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme for the young and a “monstrous lie on this generation,” and later added, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book.” Bold words. How will they play in, say, Florida?

As a sneak preview of what’s coming, here’s what Romney’s fans have already cooked up against Perry.

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Uh oh!! Mittens is putting on his boxing gloves!!

TheQuestion on August 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

I’m hoping there’s a side of Mitt Romney that hasn’t been much on display that will emerge this fall. Aggressive Mitt: IT’S TIME. I’m really concerned that Perry is possibly the only GOP candidate who can lose to Obama.

ParisParamus on August 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

I think you’re misfiring here. One, he is not doing this. Two, he will make electability an issue, and it is a big issue.

His book Fed Up is loaded with DNC campaign material. A GOP candidate that has recent direct quotes calling social security unconstitutional and a scheme will lose in the general. Period.

swamp_yankee on August 29, 2011 at 9:40 PM

The Democrats will play Mediscare games against either of them regardless, but if Romney beats them to the punch by using that accusation against Perry, it immunizes him from the charge to some extent once he faces Obama.

They plan on doing just that, no matter who our nominee is. Diversion – to try to make people forget about 9.2% unemployment, EPA regulations, amnesty by executive order, and a slew of other failures at the hands of this Marxist.

honsy on August 29, 2011 at 9:41 PM

I’m really concerned that Perry is possibly the only GOP candidate who can lose to Obama.

ParisParamus on August 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Seriously? You think Bachmann, Cain, Newt, etc can beat him but Perry can’t?

Okay……

gophergirl on August 29, 2011 at 9:41 PM

We need to start winning this debate now with facts and figures. Perry needs to eat Mittens lunch on this subject and then keep on going.

pedestrian on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Uh oh!! Mittens is putting on his boxing gloves!!

TheQuestion

Boxing gloves don’t fit well over mittens, don’t you know.

;)

honsy on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Gutsy.

ted c on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

So Romney is going to attack Perry the same way Obama and the Democrats would attack Perry…that Mitt Romney is consistent- consistently following the progressive left play book.

Dr Evil on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

We need to start winning this debate now with facts and figures. Perry needs to eat Mittens lunch on this subject and then keep on going.

pedestrian on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Exactly – stay true and keep fighting. People will listen. My generation will listen.

gophergirl on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I think if Mitt does that, he’ll see Daniels and Ryan move against him publicly and rally the establishment to Perry’s defense.

Lawdawg86 on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

The first time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz screams that Mitt wants to eliminate Social Security, he’s got a ready answer — not only doesn’t he want to do that, but he won his party’s nomination against a guy who (allegedly) did by calling him out on it. If Perry beats Romney for the nomination, though, then the DNC has a golden attack line handed to them: “Rick Perry is so radical on Medicare that he even scares other Republicans,” punctuated by a shot of Romney attacking Perry on those grounds at one of the debates. It would be devastating. Even if Perry tries to explain it away, the fact that he’d be on the defensive on this issue of all issues would be trouble.

Aren’t you for after electability anyway? So shouldn’t you be cheering for Mittens instead of Perry?

promachus on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

We’ll see. Depends on how he frames it. At least if he does that in a debate, it’s going to be harder to take him out of context by the lam. Based on how TPaw shifted it with ObaneyCare. Perry could be baiting the moderators to zero in on that. Watch all the other candidates moan about being left out of the debate as Mittness and Perry go around and around on the entitlements. If of course that’s how he intends on making it a two man debate from the jump. If that happens, expect at least two, or more to get out by mid-september. I think, Perry won’t shy away but go for the jugular. He has nothing to lose.

AH_C on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Mitt should carve his criticisms of Perry on gold plates, bury them in the ground, and 2000 years from now maybe someone will care.

RBMN on August 29, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Desperation is a stinky cologne.

BadgerHawk on August 29, 2011 at 9:47 PM

I will not vote for anyone who Mediscares.

GE included.

artist on August 29, 2011 at 9:48 PM

We’ll see. Depends on how he frames it. At least if he does that in a debate, it’s going to be harder to take him out of context by the lam. AH_C on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

I doesn’t make any sense for Romney to telegraph his moves ahead of time, that means Perry can prepare his response, he’s got the cliff notes. This smells more like a liberal media set up. They want to gin up interest in the next debate. It’s all about rating just like the over hyped coverage of Irene.

Dr Evil on August 29, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Mitt should carve his criticisms of Perry on gold plates, bury them in the ground, and 2000 years from now maybe someone will care.

RBMN on August 29, 2011 at 9:46 PM

I just rolled my eyes

TheQuestion on August 29, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Mittens is putting on the 16 ounce gloves… he needs the 8 ounce size…

Khun Joe on August 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM

On the one hand, even tea partiers are reluctant to cut entitlements when asked about it in polls.

No, that’s not the case, either with tea partiers or registered voters when they are asked the question correctly. Ryan’s plan just raises the age limit for qualifications to the entitlement down the road, not to those who would qualify currently or in the next 10 years. All these polls ask the question in a biased way where it looks like we are robbing grandpa and grandma of their funds already paid in, President DDD’s and the media’s meme bought completely. We, all of us, need to understand and repeat that all Ryan’s plan does is keep any reforms from hurting current retirees and those who’ll be retiring ten years from now, but raises the age and benefits matrix for the younger of these, and if we don’t make the change, even the current retirees will see the whole thing go under, period. It’s the only way to save the system.

TXUS on August 29, 2011 at 9:56 PM

If he’s willing to Mediscare it means he doesn’t take the entitlement bomb seriously. I’d rather have the main culprits (the Dems) at the helm than a Republican when it finally does explode.

Politics aint bean bag, so fight dirty if you have to. But I honestly might not vote for Romney if he goes this route.

BadgerHawk on August 29, 2011 at 9:56 PM

A GOP candidate that has recent direct quotes calling social security unconstitutional and a scheme will lose in the general.

So much for telling the truth, then.

Crawford on August 29, 2011 at 9:58 PM

TXUS on August 29, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Yeah, they talk about “fixing” medicare and SS and “making them solvent”. Tea Partiers are afraid to run on a platform of Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be repealed.

There is no evidence that Romney is going to attack entitlement reform. He is already talking about fixing them on the stump.

But Perry’s bravado is in print. He owns Fed Up. He’s not talking about the Ryan Roadmap or any other reforms. He attacks those programs straight up, and even if you agree, its an electoral killer. Democrats will destroy him.

swamp_yankee on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM

I guess the debates will answer that question

Kini on August 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM

People are conflating entitlement reform and Perry’s quotes.

swamp_yankee on August 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM

If Mitt does this I’m gonna be royally pissed. At the moment I figure even if Mitt is our man I’ll be pretty enthusiastic in my support because he’ll be a monumental improvement over what we have now. But if he becomes protector of entitlements…

OneGyT on August 29, 2011 at 10:04 PM

So Romney is going to attack Perry the same way Obama and the Democrats would attack Perry…that Mitt Romney is consistent- consistently following the progressive left play book.

Dr Evil on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM

So, Romney, a Republican Candidate is going to use left wing tactics against Perry, another Republican Candidate?

I don’t know how other R voters will think about that, but that reduces my respect for Romney. So then are the Dems & Romney working together on this? That would be my assumption.

Negative campaigning isn’t liked very well, and could backfire on Romney.

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 10:06 PM

If Mitt does this I’m gonna be royally pissed. At the moment I figure even if Mitt is our man I’ll be pretty enthusiastic in my support because he’ll be a monumental improvement over what we have now. But if he becomes protector of entitlements…

OneGyT on August 29, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Every single candidate from Marco Rubio to Jim DeMint is a “protector of entitlement”.

Provide me with one Republican who ran in 2012 on eliminating entitlements, privatizing SS, or repealing Medicare or Medicaid.

Anybody, name one. You cant. Stop feigning outrage. Its hypocritical.

swamp_yankee on August 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

This may or may not stick against Perry, but I think it will doom Romney. The GOP has enough problems with the MSM and democrats (but I repeat myself) charging that the GOP just wants to kill Grandma. For Mitt to do there dirty work for them is not only wrong, but short sided. The dems will do their own hatchet work. This is showing just how desperate Mitt is.
At the same time, my respect for Bachmann is going up. She isn’t playing the spoiler role. She may or may not scratch Perry’s eyes out in the debate, but at least she is playing fair now.

yetanotherjohn on August 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I wouldn’t think Romney would want to bring up anything that would remind people of his RomneyCare, which many see as the Godfather of Obamacare.

Lon Chaney on August 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

So is Rhinomney going to use the Democrat’s tried and true Mediscare lie?

Chip on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Why should Romney attack Perry directly when the Democrats, the liberal media and Michele Bachmann will do it for him? Romney’s strategists note that Perry will have to survive five debates in six weeks — ample opportunity for Bachmann to “rip his eyes out” (as she did to Tim Pawlenty) or for Perry to blow himself up.

Two things: Collusion between Mittens and Bachmann? Noooo! Impossible! Yeah right.

And waiting for your opponent to implode is not a winning strategy.

milemarker2020 on August 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

I’m not getting this Mediscare angle – didn’t Romney say he supported Paul “throw grandma off a cliff” Ryan? As for that ad from students at Mason – dudes, enough with the scary music already. It’s very distracting and makes your attempt to paint Perry as some kind of demon look like a parody.

Buy Danish on August 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM

TXUS on August 29, 2011 at 9:56 PM

Thanks. I don’t understand why the Republicans can’t open their mouth and explain this. Even the Democrat blogs have it right!

The House and Senate Republicans consistently allow the left and Dems to define issues. Grrrrr!

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 10:12 PM

The GOP has enough problems with the MSM and democrats (but I repeat myself) charging that the GOP just wants to kill Grandma. For Mitt to do there dirty work for them is not only wrong, but short sighted

I agree. I know I’m probably being terribly Pollyannish about this but I’m not at all thrilled with the GOP going after each other on this stuff. I’d like to see who can prove themselves by being the best, most positive sales person on why the conservative vision is the winning vision for the country and why Obama is such a disaster. The candidate that focuses on selling themselves, selling a conservative vision and demonstrates the ability to destroy the hype and spin of Obama and the MSM is the candidate that is going to get my vote. I don’t want to see a GOP cat-fight!

PrincipleStand on August 29, 2011 at 10:18 PM

Yeah, they talk about “fixing” medicare and SS and “making them solvent”. Tea Partiers are afraid to run on a platform of Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be repealed.

There is no evidence that Romney is going to attack entitlement reform. He is already talking about fixing them on the stump.

But Perry’s bravado is in print. He owns Fed Up. He’s not talking about the Ryan Roadmap or any other reforms. He attacks those programs straight up, and even if you agree, its an electoral killer. Democrats will destroy him.

swamp_yankee on August 29, 2011 at 10:01 PM

True – I don’t know that a platform of killing off SS is a general election winner. “Fixing” and “making solvent” sounds reasonable to people. Talk of ending it will bring up the tossing grandmas off cliffs imagery in people’s minds even without the Democrats pushing that as the goal of the heartless Republicans.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM

Will they back away from Perry once Romney raises suspicions about his support for the programs? Or will they turn on Romney, seeing his defense of the programs as further evidence of his big-government tendencies? Perry could, if he chose, attempt to counter Romney with the same attack House Republicans used against the Democrats last year — namely, that they’re the true protectors of Medicare because they opposed the gigantic new health-care law that’s going to end up siphoning off money from the program.

This is your brain on………..too many “what ifs”.

Both SS and Medicare are programs heading for a slow death without reform. The “attack” should be on these miserable liberals who have done nothing to reform them, not watching two Republicans eating at each other.

Rovin on August 29, 2011 at 10:21 PM

yetanotherjohn on August 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM

You may want to do some research on MB. You could start on Conservatives4palin & http://legalinsurrection.com/2011/08/anyone-but-bachmann/

I changed my opinion on her after researching and reading.

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Romney won’t have to attack him with any type of “mediscare” campaign, the main stream media will already be doing that. Especially in Florida, Romney only has to go after him on electability, that’s his achilles heel anyways.

joncoltonis on August 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM

I want to like Romney, but if he does this, he’s going to lose the general election even if he wins the primary. Craven opportunism at the expense of a fellow Republican will not endear him to the base or the center.

Slublog on August 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM

PrincipleStand on August 29, 2011 at 10:18 PM

I agree. Any Candidate should be able to promote their plan. We already know it is the economy and jobs. We need to stop the bleeding. Present your plan and allow the Voters to decide. I am so sick of hearing from MB and others about what the problems are. Good grief, don’t we already know that?

Romney better understand that Rove/Bush are against Perry and favor Romney. However, he doesn’t need to think that if he goes this route, that protects him from the Admin. & the MSM. They will destroy him, regardless of Rove/Bush’s support!!

If Romney does this, I look for Sarah!!

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 10:33 PM

“How will they play in, say, Florida?” Or South Carolina for that matter.

Perry needs to be vetted. He needs the practice of responding to tough attacks on his record. And he needs to have the right temperment when defending his record.

And right now, he’s awful. I mean just the other day, an Iowa student (come to find out he’s a Paul supporter), he was a mild mannered guy, asked Perry about tripling the Texas deficit and Perry poked him the chest (not hard) and then blew the kid off.

I’d hate to see how he’d handle some of the really tough hecklers that Mitt’s been getting lately (where Mitt handled himself brilliantly, btw).

Even on a softy interview w/Laura Ingram where she tried to be somewhat hard hitting, Perry just stutters to find the right word, when he can’t, he goes into the jobs platitudes. That just isn’t going to cut it.

Perry’s honeymoon is over, he needs to start facing up to hard questions with interviewers who are trying to trip him up and engage in back forths about ideas & records & future plans….all of it.

Mitt’s been taking hard questions and negative press for awhile now, he’s ready for anything the DNC/MSM can throw at him.

Perry needs to get to that level.

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 10:58 PM

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 10:33 PM

What he or she said.

Sarah becomes the middle ground between Perry and Mittster.

either orr on August 29, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Mitt RomneyCare using Democrat attacks on a Conservative?

I am Shocked. So shocked.

Mitt should primary Obama for the Democratic ticket.

portlandon on August 29, 2011 at 11:03 PM

I want to like Romney, but if he does this, he’s going to lose the general election even if he wins the primary. Craven opportunism at the expense of a fellow Republican will not endear him to the base or the center.

Slublog on August 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Perry attacked Mitt on Romneycare on Laura’s radio show, was that O.K. with you?

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Romney: I will win or burn everything to the ground… after which I’ll swing through Georgia.

Irritable Pundit on August 29, 2011 at 11:07 PM

Mitt is starting to look deranged.

Coming from a man who ran as a more pro-abortion Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate than the extremist, pro abort Democratic candidate—-it just doesn’t surprise me that he would adopt this soft Leftist line of attack.

wraithby on August 29, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Yay, Mitt – wow, that pro-Medicare/SS “the other guys gonna take away yer entitlements!” fella is sure conservative, isn’t he?

Midas on August 29, 2011 at 11:14 PM

either orr on August 29, 2011 at 11:02 PM

I think Romney would be insane to try this. No one lifts themselves up by putting someone else down. The enemy is B.O., not Gov. Perry. Defeating B.O. is the objective. This is how the R’s have such a problem. They were given the majority of the U.S. House by the Tea Party and with the help of Sarah Palin and what have they done? Caved. We need a new Speaker that won’t compromise with Reid/McConnell and the W.H. So aggravating. Then MB grandstanding and voted against the CCB, knowing that was the only plan that the S&P said would avoid a downgrade. Even with all of her threatening of the Tea Party Caucus members, many did not vote with her.

Honestly, no wonder we have so many Independents:-)rant off, LOL

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 11:20 PM

You need to remember that Romney as head of the RGA in 2006 hired a consultant from the independent Rylander campaign who was opposing Perry for Texas Governor. No one hires a consultant who is working for an independent candidate to take out a sitting Governor — no one but Romney did.

BTW, Rylander was Scott McClellan’s mother and why he got the press secretary job because it sure wasn’t because he was a good press secretary. You could smell Bush 41 and Rove running her campaign behind the scenes. Romney is the vehicle that Rove wants to use to take out Perry.

Romney is a wimp IMHO for going along with this but Romney is also the person who sent two consultants to the Istook campaign from San Diego (one being the Foley aide) to get OJT in a campaign in 2006 and they failed miserably but Romney hired them anyway.

Have zero respect for Romney who in Town Halls in 2008 would only take questions from his state staff or fellow Mormons. No Thanks! Would vote for Ron Paul before I would ever think of voting for Romney who is nothing but a Rove puppet who also endorsed the moderate Kay Bailey in the last TX Governor’s race. Why did Romney get involved in the Texas Governor’s race? Because he is beholden to Bush 41 and Rove!

PhiKapMom on August 29, 2011 at 11:23 PM

No one lifts themselves up by putting someone else down. bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Do you think that’s true of Perry’s attack on Mitt?

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 11:31 PM

Sarah becomes the middle ground between Perry and Mittster.

either orr on August 29, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Exactly, Sarah will step squarely into the middle with Mitt on the left and Rick on the right.

A. Weasel on August 29, 2011 at 11:32 PM

Do you think that’s true of Perry’s attack on Mitt?

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 11:31 PM

I don’t know if Perry attacked Romney or not since I didn’t hear the program. I don’t care for Laura anyway, or Perino or Foxnews too much since they have become unbalanced:-)

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Perry’s honeymoon is over, he needs to start facing up to hard questions with interviewers who are trying to trip him up and engage in back forths about ideas & records & future plans….all of it.
sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 10:58 PM

True – he hasn’t yet been tested that way or in a debate. Then it’ll be sink or swim.

whatcat on August 29, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Romney’s attack strategy against Perry:

Hairspray at fifty paces.

Fallon on August 29, 2011 at 11:43 PM

I don’t know if Perry attacked Romney or not since I didn’t hear the program. I don’t care for Laura anyway, or Perino or Foxnews too much since they have become unbalanced:-)

bluefox on August 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM

He’s done it a couple of times not just on Laura Ingrams show.

It’s been widely reported.

So if you find out and it’s true, are you O.K. with Perry attacking Mitt on his MA healthcare bill?

If yes, then would you be O.K. for Mitt to attack Perry on his statements?

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 11:47 PM

AP, I think on this matter you overstate the importance of any Romney/Perry Medicare argument in the primaries. Come the general: Does. Not. Matter.

For goodness sakes, George Bush called Reagan’s economic plan “voodoo economics”, then became the veep nominee, and it didn’t affect the thrust of the Reagan campaign at all.

BocaJuniors on August 30, 2011 at 12:10 AM

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 11:47 PM

I would first have to hear what was asked and what his response was before I could make any determination.

However, I see no point in Romney using the Left talking points since that puts him in their camp as far as I’m concerned. Instead of skipping the 9/5/11 Columbia S.C. debate, he should have agreed to attend. Even tho I’m not fond of debates, since they really aren’t. The questions are arranged and hardly anyone has a chance to respond with anything other than a sound bite. They are gotcha performances. But it is what it is.

Since the Country is at stake, I would like to see the Candidates keep that in mind and the objective is to defeat B.O. Why risk turning off the voters with this in fighting? Helps the Dems tho.

bluefox on August 30, 2011 at 12:25 AM

Perry’s honeymoon is over…

sheryl on August 29, 2011 at 10:58 PM

Dear sheryl, it has just begun. Get your head wrapped around it, before you get sick.

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2011 at 12:30 AM

Classic straw man, but Mitt’s people have to be laughing at the utter gullibility. A few people drop an idea they “might” try “at a time of [Mitt's] choosing” and let the writers chase after it like dogs after a fake rabbit.

So now Allah gets to do what he does best: wring his hands and fret.

As has been noted here, the linked article by Thiessen, and elsewhere, Romney would be foolish to abandon his “run-against-Obama-only” strategy, which hasn’t hurt him at all, while the press, bloggers, the DNC, and Perry’s own Republican critics bring out every detail the public hasn’t heard yet.

Perry’s rise is due more to favorable PR conditions than genuine and deep support for him personally. He’s a conservative, but far from Reagan, and conservatives will find plenty in his record, book, and speeches objectionable. He’s the good looking, tough-talking, experienced big-state Governor on the white horse we’ve been waiting for, riding in to save us. He’s the generic conservative candidate – one upon whom each voter places his own ideals, and assumes they are Perry’s.

Reality will start setting in soon, with the bright lights on Perry, and his numbers will fall back. He will still be a contender, perhaps even the top contender by a hair, but not the runaway favorite his sudden appearance and rise makes him seem.

No matter what happens, neither Romney nor Perry wants to get too dirty, too rough with the other. Neither wants to be the guy who weakened our nominee and let Obama win reelection. Both are young enough to try again later, even after eight years. No sense burning bridges and helping the Democrats.

Why bother, when a few musings from unnamed sources can give all the girly-men the vapors?

Adjoran on August 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM

It will be interesting to have RR’s ghost float over their heads at the Library, on Sept. 07, observe how they behave and if they care about the master.

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 AM

Sarah becomes the middle ground between Perry and Mittster.

either orr on August 29, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Exactly, Sarah will step squarely into the middle with Mitt on the left and Rick on the right.

A. Weasel on August 29, 2011 at 11:32 PM

Actually-if Mrs. Palin(calling her Sarah is a tad disrespectful don’t ya think) gets the nomination we get treated to the second inauguration of Zero. Even among the GOP she polls badly.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 AM

Even among the GOP she polls badly.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 AM

If Palin is the nominee, she will win the election against Obama. Obama has terrible numbers now; and the economy will not turn around.

Palin will gain all of the traditional republican vote, and turnout will be high. What electoral states will she lose?

She will win the South, Bible belt, Heartland, Southwest, and North central. She will win Ohio, and Florida. Remember, it is the electoral vote which wins presidential elections. She will win every state Bush won, and perhaps even more. All republicans, and republican leaning independents, will vote for her.

SheetAnchor on August 30, 2011 at 12:54 AM

If Palin is the nominee, she will win the election against Obama.

SheetAnchor on August 30, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Ha. No.

Mike Bloomberg will be the next president if Palin is the nominee. (God help us all)

If Ross Perot hadn’t flaked out, he was in a great position to win in 1992. Remember that unqualified, no previous government experience billionaire? He was the double-digit front-runner against a much stronger incumbent (Bush > Obama) and much stronger challenger (Clinton > Palin). And he almost won.

If Bachmann or Palin are the nominee, Bloomberg will absolutely obliterate Obama and the GOP. Bank on it.

BocaJuniors on August 30, 2011 at 1:25 AM

We will find out how Romney responds to Perry. It will become obvious over time..but as for Mediscaring…well Romney supports entitlement reform himself.

I think I will just wait and see what happens.

Terrye on August 30, 2011 at 6:40 AM

The other strategic point: I’m really curious to see how the base would greet a Mediscare attack from Mitt Romney of all people. On the one hand, even tea partiers are reluctant to cut entitlements when asked about it in polls. On the other hand, conservatives are increasingly aware of the role entitlements play in driving the debt crisis, their pet issue.

The problem with this is that while entitlements need to be reformed and pose a huge problem for the budget in the future, most of the deficit we have right now is a product of plain old spending increases and not entitlements.

Byron York did a piece on this recently.

A lot of the higher spending has stemmed directly from the downturn. There is, for example, spending on what is called “income security” — that is, for unemployment compensation, food stamps and related programs. In 2007, the government spent $365 billion on income security. In 2011, it’s estimated to spend $622 billion. That’s an increase of $257 billion.

Then there is Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income Americans. A lot of people had lower incomes due to the economic downturn, and federal expenditures on Medicaid — its costs are shared with the states — went from $190 billion in 2007 to an estimated $276 billion in 2011, an increase of $86 billion. Put that together with the $257 billion increase in income security spending, and you have $343 billion.

Add to that the $338 billion in decreased revenues, and you get $681 billion — which means nearly half of the current deficit can be clearly attributed to the downturn.

That’s a deficit increase that would have happened in an economic crisis whether Republicans or Democrats controlled Washington. But it was the specific spending excesses of President Obama and the Democrats that shot the deficit into the stratosphere.

There is no line in the federal budget that says “stimulus,” but Obama’s massive $814 billion stimulus increased spending in virtually every part of the federal government. “It’s spread all through the budget,” says former Congressional Budget Office chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “It was essentially a down payment on the Obama domestic agenda.” Green jobs, infrastructure, health information technology, aid to states — it’s all in there, billions in increased spending.

Something else worth noting. No doubt Mitt Romney remembers what happened to George Bush when he tried to reform social security. People can call it a ponzi scheme all they want, but Bush got very little actual support for that reform. That is the problem..talk is cheap.

Terrye on August 30, 2011 at 6:49 AM

We need to start winning this debate now with facts and figures. Perry needs to eat Mittens lunch on this subject and then keep on going.

pedestrian on August 29, 2011 at 9:42 PM
Exactly – stay true and keep fighting. People will listen. My generation will listen.

gophergirl on August 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Sorry, we’ve got to learn that fish don’t think like fishermen, and liberats moderates and unaffiliated and other voters don’t think with logic and facts or they’d already be on the right side. Facts, figures, logic, rational thought, though essential for a nation’s survival, are the worst of weapons to counteract liberalisms free lunch, free sex, free medical care, free sloth, free food stamps, guilt free abortions, free citizenship, free education, free retirement, etc. To win the war against the left requires fighting with the rawest of emotions. Fear and greed have more power short term than logic-which unfortunately, is hardly a widespread commodity among the voting class, or we wouldn’t be in the trouble were are in.
Those prone to understand economics etc are already republicans for the most part. The masses imply won’t spend time analyzing political theory as we do. If you want them, you need what the left has understood for decades -emotion, feelings, fear, envy , greed, a crisis,something that will get their attention. After you win-educate them if you must go that route, but to win you need to get their attention with powerful emotions/slogans/propaganda based on truth. We all know what the lft intends to do to america -the masses don’t. That’s the simple message.

The purpose of all that free stuff is nothing but the candy the dirty old men give little girls. Take out the ads now.

Don L on August 30, 2011 at 6:49 AM

A lot of the higher spending has stemmed directly from the downturn

Some of us see this as the exact opposite -that the downturn stemmed from the higher spending. Even hot-air balloons can only go so high without a catastrophy.

Don L on August 30, 2011 at 7:01 AM

A lot of the higher spending has stemmed directly from the downturn

Some of us see this as the exact opposite -that the downturn stemmed from the higher spending. Even hot-air balloons can only go so high without a catastrophy.

Don L on August 30, 2011 at 7:01 AM

I am not sure that Byron York would completely disagree with that..his point is that the crappy economy has a lot to do with the increased deficits we see right now.

The reason that Paul Ryan’s plan does not effect people right now and instead is intended to bend the spending curve down in the future is that the really big increases in entitlement spending are coming in the future when the baby boomers are all retired. It is important therefor to reform medicare and social security, however the big deficits we have seen in the last couple of years are not just a product of entitlement spending.

And we need to approach this in a way that people will understand and support. We can’t just say social security is evil and bad and a ponzi scheme and unconstitutional and think that average Americans are going to jump on that band wagon.

Terrye on August 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

Romney’s problem is you can’t Mediscare and then turn around and talk ‘entitlement reform’ as that is a made for TV ad for the DNC that they can make in 30 seconds.

‘Mitt Romney says one thing…’ *insert Mediscare quote against Perry*

‘… and talks another…’ *insert any ‘reform’ that Mitt proposes for Medicare/Medicaid/SSA/Obamacare*

‘… how can you trust this man?’

If Mitt was serious about appealing to conservatives, especially small government conservatives, he would propose removing scads of useless, wasteful agencies and departments wholesale to re-organize the federal government to a much smaller entity and say that once the other discretionary spending is brought under control and the regulations removed, then we can talk about ‘entitlement reform’.

That would be to attack Perry and Bachmann from the RIGHT.

But he can’t do that now, can he?

A simple trust-building platform is beyond his power and capability to propose. He could say that, yes, the entitlements are a huge problem but the lack of any productivity and growing economy for this Nation means that we won’t have a Nation long enough to REFORM entitlements in the much, much longer run of four years down the road.

Too bad that is taking his ‘business experience’ and applying it to the federal government as a whole. Which does bring into question exactly who in his business organization was the slash’and’burn turnaround artist, because if Mitt can’t say it then I have this sneaking suspicion it was someone else. Probably in the accounting department in the Grand Cayman Islands. One of the green-eyeshade guys with ledgers out and able to add 2 + 2 and come up with something other than ‘entitlements’. I would vote for green-eyeshade Mitt… but I have never witnessed this fellow.

ajacksonian on August 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

ajacksonian on August 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

Why don’t we just wait and see what he actually says before we decide he is anti freedom or something.

People have no problem going after other Republicans when they don’t like that guy..they do not care if it is entirely fair or not. If they see him as a threat to their favorite candidate, out come the long knives..now we see people complaining that maybe Mitt Romney is not being fair when in fact we do not even know what he is going to do about Perry. So far he has ignored the man.

Terrye on August 30, 2011 at 7:18 AM

And you know what? If Perry really is going to go out there and do a Ron Paul and call for the end of social security and medicare..then why not say that? Why be coy? Why shouldn’t Mitt Romney use Perry’s own words against him?

This is going to be the problem for both of them. Mitt has Romneycare and Perry has LaRaza and his own book Fed Up.

Terrye on August 30, 2011 at 7:23 AM

There haven’t been nearly enough of these “How to Kill Perry and Save Romney” pieces yet. I’m starting to get a little worried.

On the other hand, the number of “Why Only Another Moderate Can Beat Obama” articles have finally started to slack off a little bit. So I guess that’s something.

logis on August 30, 2011 at 7:29 AM

Doesn’t Romney own a coat and tie anymore? His, “I’m one of you little guys” act is one-inch shy of putting on a lumerjack’s plaid shirt and carrying an old axe around.

I suppose it’s better that faux pillars and Photoshopped haloes, but there’s still time for the great pretender.

Maybe if he kisses a baby or something???

Don L on August 30, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Too bad that is taking his ‘business experience’ and applying it to the federal government as a whole. Which does bring into question exactly who in his business organization was the slash’and’burn turnaround artist, because if Mitt can’t say it then I have this sneaking suspicion it was someone else. Probably in the accounting department in the Grand Cayman Islands. One of the green-eyeshade guys with ledgers out and able to add 2 + 2 and come up with something other than ‘entitlements’. I would vote for green-eyeshade Mitt… but I have never witnessed this fellow.
ajacksonian on August 30, 2011 at 7:12 AM

What on earth are you babbling about?

Buy Danish on August 30, 2011 at 8:01 AM

Talk about not thinking long term! Good job Mitt, you idiot.

aikidoka on August 30, 2011 at 8:03 AM

I think this misses the real point of that story.

Which is that Mitt isn’t intending on attacking Perry at all. He plans to stay focused on Obama and let Perry fight with the other candidates.

The bit about Mediscaring is just one in a long list of proposed attacks that are no more then chest beating by a few on his staff. Claiming that even if Mitt’s plan to ignore Perry doesn’t work that they can still beat Perry up.

Sackett on August 30, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Actually-if Mrs. Palin(calling her Sarah is a tad disrespectful don’t ya think)…

annoyinglittletwerp on August 30, 2011 at 12:34 AM

No, actually she prefers that, she stated that to Greta on one of her first interviews.
And, btw, it wouldn’t be Mrs. Palin, it would be Governor Palin (or Governor and Mrs. Palin), if you want to be formal.

right2bright on August 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Mitt is running a campaign, he will take shots at Perry, why not, he is the leader…but mainly I think Mitt will focus on Obama.
The problem is that he is more in line with Obama’s policies than with Perry’s policies.

right2bright on August 30, 2011 at 9:33 AM

The problem is that he is more in line with Obama’s policies than with Perry’s policies.
right2bright on August 30, 2011 at 9:33 AM

Oh please! You all should apply for a patent for your Unadulterated Crap Generator.

Buy Danish on August 30, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Perry is the front runner, I don’t see him punching down. Of course Mitt Romney is attacking Perry, that’s what you do when you are not the front runner.

But mediscare – it’s supposed to get Romney traction? It’s not a real sensational issue. This is what happens when you try and run a primary campaign like the general.

“It’s The Spending Stupid”

Dr Evil on August 30, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Of course Mitt Romney is attacking Perry, that’s what you do when you are not the front runner.
Dr Evil on August 30, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Really? How is Romney “attacking Perry”?

Buy Danish on August 30, 2011 at 10:37 AM

It’s not a real sensational issue.“It’s The Spending Stupid”

Dr Evil on August 30, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Not a sensational issue? I think it’s now considered one of the third rails of politics. It’s a hot topic and Perry is using hot language about it.

It’s a serious subject matter and if Perry doesn’t realize that when he speaks about it he should. A lot of people have paid a lot money into the system and depend on it.

It’s partly about the spending but with the high unemployment using words like abolish and ponzi scheme and unconstitutional regarding programs that people are dependent on (I know they shouldn’t be but that’s reality right now) makes people fearful of you especially if your a politican.

And Perry’s problem is that his recent book “Fed Up” ties him to language that makes a certain section (a large section) of the population fearful.

sheryl on August 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM