“But more alarming was Perry’s evident lack of command of the subject matter. As John Podhoretz wrote at Commentary after the CNN/Tea Party debate, Perry had trouble with some fairly straightforward policy questions. He seemed not only out of his depth, he seemed unprepared

“Perry need only meet two tests to win the nomination. Test #1 is that he has the knowledge and experience to serve effectively as president. Test #2 is that he has an even (or better than even) chance of defeating President Obama next November. All the other pieces of the puzzle are there. He has a very powerful base. He has the money. He has (enough) established political support.

“Perry has so far failed Test #1. He needs to pass it, again and again, in debate after debate, to win. If he continues to fall short in these debates, then he won’t be the nominee. He’ll be in the discard pile with all the others.”

***

“I think the best one can say about Perry’s two debate performances is that they’ve been good enough – he is, after all, still the frontrunner in most polls. I think the worst you can say is that, so far, Perry is deeply disappointing to any Republican who wanted a presidential nominee who could naturally and easily articulate a powerful argument for conservative principles and think on his feet. It’s not like the idea that Michele Bachmann would go after him was a surprise, nor the angle of ‘crony capitalism,’ and the heart of Perry’s defense is that he’s offended someone would accuse him of altering his position for a donation so small.

“Perry has plenty of time, and will have plenty of opportunities to regroup. But it’s fascinating to think that the conventional wisdom around him could change so dramatically in two weeks, and essentially after two key nights…”

***

“[T]he current front runner for the Republican nomination, Rick Perry, does not appear to have a clear foreign policy.

“Looking at the Texas governor’s statements on foreign policy over the past month on the campaign trail and in two debates reveals a foreign policy that is inconsistent, muddled, and sometimes contradictory. Perry’s not the only one…

“In his VFW speech, He also has seemed to be for muscular interventionism — ‘We must renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are, before they strike at home.’

“But then in the very next sentence, he seemed to be against it — ‘I do not believe that America should fall subject to a foreign policy of military adventurism. We should only risk shedding American blood and spending American treasure when our vital interests are threatened.'”

***

“The Republican establishment is said to have grave qualms about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. Here’s the problem: There is no Republican establishment. It squandered its authority by building up the Tea Party’s brigades and then fearing them too much to do anything to check their power.

“Worse for those who think Perry would be a general-election disaster is the growing confidence among conservatives that President Obama will be easy to beat. This feeling will be bolstered by Tuesday’s special election that sent a Republican to Congress from New York’s 9th District for the first time since 1923. If Obama is going to lose anyway, many conservatives reason, why not go with their hearts?

“No, if Perry is to be defeated, he will have to do the job himself. And the week’s most important political news is that he might do just that.”

***

“Who exactly are we kidding here? Do we really think possibly nominating George Bush 2.0 is going to fly with independents in a post-Obama era? Why as Republicans are we are more concerned with retaining our moral high ground in picking a candidate who hits every qualification of a ‘true conservative’ litmus test than thinking about the national stage of a general election? Why do we still, after all this time, and in all the ways that the world is changing, continue to put a politician front and center who has very little crossover appeal?…

“The notion that we as a party are going to nominate the most conservative candidate simply to prove some kind of ideological point about extreme conservatism, instead of looking at the broader picture concerning the general election, is suicide. At some point, we are going to have to ask ourselves if this is about nominating a candidate who one small faction of the party thinks is right or about nominating the person who is going to bring us to the White House. Why choose to prove points within the party instead of concentrating on beating Obama? More than anything in my life right now, I want to see a Republican unseat Obama. I am scared of what will happen to this country if Obama is reelected, and I am equally scared about what will happen to my party if we nominate the wrong person. This is a fear that is common among the moderate faction of the party, and I just don’t know what kind of options we are going to be left with if the choice this next election cycle is Obama v. Perry 2012. I want Obama to be a one-term president, and nominating Rick Perry would guarantee that will not happen.”

***

“‘If Perry’s the nominee,’ Todd told Kornheiser, ‘I think there’s going to be be a serious effort of some sort of moderate Republican linking up with a conservative Democrat of trying to run in some sort of like, ‘let’s throw all the bums out — let’s crash the party,’ you know, a la [Ross] Perot …”

“‘I just continue to believe that’s what’s coming,’ he said…

“‘I think something’s going to happen in the spring of ’12 that will be that kind of dramatic,’ he said. ‘Because all the ingredients are there … Perry’s not going to be seen as viable to a lot of people, but they’re going to want a change from Obama.'”

***

Via the Daily Caller.