It’s never too early to play The Blame Game

posted at 11:45 am on December 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

There’s an old saying that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan.  That’s not entirely true; when a big enterprise fails, it usually produces a thousand claims for paternity for someone else.  Normally people wait for the failure to actually happen first, but sometimes there are good reasons to get ahead of the curve — as Rick Perry’s campaign did with a series of leaks to Politico:

With a revamped message and a significant TV presence here, Rick Perry is hoping to revive his disappointing presidential campaign with a surprise finish Tuesday.

But even as they hold out hope that Perry can find a way back into contention, some of his advisers have begun laying the groundwork to explain how the Texas governor bombed so dramatically in a race that he seemed to control for a brief period upon entering the race in August.

For those who watched the debates, the culprit is obvious — the candidate himself.  It wasn’t his handlers that fumbled rehearsed attack lines and had to say “Oops” when the candidate lost his train of thought in the middle of an answer.  None of that, by the way, is a disqualifier for office, either.  Perry has successfully governed Texas for more than a decade, because governing takes an entirely different skill set than these game-show debates do, which is one of my biggest gripes about them.  However, the debates matter, and Perry did poorly in them, which was the catalyst to his polling collapse.

Several members of Team Perry now claim that Perry wasn’t the real problem:

Yet the view of the outsiders who took over Perry’s campaign is that the candidate was set up for failure by an insular group led by Dave Carney, the governor’s longtime political guru, which thought they could run a presidential campaign like a larger version of a gubernatorial race and didn’t take the basic steps needed to professionalize the operation until the candidate was already sinking.

“They put the campaign together like all the other Perry campaigns: raise a bunch of money, don’t worry about the [media coverage], don’t worry about debates and buy the race on TV,” said a top Perry official. “You have to be a total rube to think a race for president is the same as a race for governor.”

Because Perry had never been defeated in his career in state politics — and came from behind to crush Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in last year’s Texas gubernatorial primary — his Texas operation projected an air of supreme self-assurance and indifference to outside advice.

Carney, a longtime GOP strategist who worked for Bush 41’s presidential campaigns, declined to comment for this story.

“I don’t think so,” he said in response to an email asking to get his side. “Not much good can come from process stories like this.”

Given Perry’s rise in the polls in Iowa — he’s back in double digits, just behind Santorum and just ahead of Gingrich in the two most recent polls — one might wonder why the campaign has provoked what looks like an internecine fight.  That’s not really what this is, though.  In order for Perry to regain credibility as a contender, and especially as a Not-Romney who can take on Barack Obama, the collapse of his campaign in October has to be laid at the feet of someone other than Rick Perry.

Carney probably doesn’t appreciate that he’s being made out to be the fall guy, especially since the early team did a pretty good job until the debate flubs started; they raised $17 million in the first seven weeks, but made a couple of questionable strategic decisions about going negative before truly introducing Perry to the national audience, which didn’t help, either.  Carney’s experienced enough to know that the new team has to distance Perry from the failure if Perry wants to seriously compete for the long haul, though, and getting into a public debate over the failure won’t help Perry to accomplish that.

Besides, the new team arrived in October.  Which Perry team was most responsible for fumbling the ballot qualifications for Virginia’s primary in mid-December? The blame for that can’t fall on Carney, at least not entirely or even mostly.


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I will enjoy your dismay when Perry wins the nomination.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 6:28 PM

If Perry wins the nomination, then I would support him wholeheartedly (since the alternative is Obama). However, with Perry as the nominee, we would be at a huge disadvantage. But doofus Perry isn’t going to win, so I’m not too worried.

I’m confident that Republican primary voters will do the obviously smartest thing and select Mitt Romney, the best candidate to go up against Obama. It’s not difficult to see that Romney has the best chance to win it all.

Romney will make an excellent president, and I look forward to 2012!

bluegill on December 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM

I was encouraged when Perry decided to run….I’d heard many good reports from people in the audience at his speeches and he said all the right things. I spent some time traveling through Texas in June and could really see the economic vitality in the Lone Star State.

However, I really never had a chance to be introduced to Rick Perry until I saw the debates. His comparisons to 43 were undeniable in speech, voice and obviously statehood–all Bush fatigue has set in (Sorry Jeb). History will treat W. just fine but America has a hard time continuing the status quo and the unfair comparisons to George W. Bush put Rick Perry’s candidacy behind the 8-ball early. Perry’s debate performance (style–to be nice) and stances (immigration, part-time Congress) really did it for me. He sounded like Quayle in his prep (does Perry really need John Bolton to prepare his thoughts for him on foreign policy?). BL: Perry’s introduction to America were the debates and he did poorly (so bad we were giving him props for Tebowisms, come on!).

Our only card to play now are the Romney, Santorum, Newt or Palin jokers.

Deep Timber on December 31, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I sure will vote for Obama over Romney. That is my current state of mind.

I threw a challenge to Romney supporters here at Hot Air to try convincing me as to why Romney will be better for the conservative movement than Obama.

As you can guess, it’s been ‘crickets’.

With Obama, it’s easy. An Obama term from 2012-2016 will result in a conservative resurgence in 2016. It will also deal a damaging blow to the RINO wing of the GOP because Romney, the most electable, will have lost to Obama.

Who are they going to pitch next time? Huntsman? Jeb Bush? That dog won’t hunt.

But a Romney term will be like the way he governed in Mass. And he will pave the way for a Dem to take over just like how he took over from a Republican governor in Mass and paved the way for Mass to turn blue.

I won’t be a party to that suicide.

TheRightMan on December 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

I can give you one good one for even voting for Ron Paul over Obama if you aren’t in the “burn and crash” group:

Supreme court nominees.

kim roy on December 31, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I was encouraged when Perry decided to run….I’d heard many good reports from people in the audience at his speeches and he said all the right things. I spent some time traveling through Texas in June and could really see the economic vitality in the Lone Star State.

However, I really never had a chance to be introduced to Rick Perry until I saw the debates. His comparisons to 43 were undeniable in speech, voice and obviously statehood–all Bush fatigue has set in (Sorry Jeb). History will treat W. just fine but America has a hard time continuing the status quo and the unfair comparisons to George W. Bush put Rick Perry’s candidacy behind the 8-ball early. Perry’s debate performance (style–to be nice) and stances (immigration, part-time Congress) really did it for me. He sounded like Quayle in his prep (does Perry really need John Bolton to prepare his thoughts for him on foreign policy?). BL: Perry’s introduction to America were the debates and he did poorly (so bad we were giving him props for Tebowisms, come on!).

Our only card to play now are the Romney, Santorum, Newt or Palin jokers.

Deep Timber on December 31, 2011 at 6:58 PM

I’ll take an idiot whose heart is in the right place over the insincere genius any day. Do we want a vanity candidate that will sound smart during the campaign or someone who will actually do the things we want him to do?

ZGMF_Freedom on December 31, 2011 at 7:05 PM

I will enjoy your dismay when Perry wins the nomination.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 6:28 PM

See, there is your problem. Romney supporters will gleefully support Perry (any GOP nominee) 100% in the general election. Where you got any other idea is absolutely baffling.

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Romney will make an excellent president, and I look forward to 2012!

bluegill on December 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM

I base my support for Perry on his record.

What is the criteria you are using to say Romney will make an excellent President…Romneycare as his crowning achievement or maybe that MA was 47th in job creation during his single term? Perhaps it’s all those elections he has won in 17 years…oh wait

maybe it’s the presidential hair?

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:08 PM

I wonder if Rick Perry got as far as he did based on cheesy charm, his looks and his ability to BS. The man doesn’t seem at all impressive or remarkable in any other areas. Rick Perry is not only an empty suit, he is also an empty head.

bluegill on December 31, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Our only card to play now are the Romney, Santorum, Newt or Palin jokers.

Deep Timber on December 31, 2011 at 6:58 PM

Folks looking for a great candidate ended up with Obama as president…

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I threw a challenge to Romney supporters here at Hot Air to try convincing me as to why Romney will be better for the conservative movement than Obama.

As you can guess, it’s been ‘crickets’.

TheRightMan on December 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Hahahaha!! A challenge? Your so called challenge is nothing more than an attempt to draw others a straw man argument. You have zero intention of being open minded. You know it, I know it, the entirety of Hot Air knows it.

So, I challenge you to explain to the group why we should cast pearls before you? There are other folks who we can have a rational conversation with. The only time anyone engages you is when we are bored and want to poke you just to watch you have a melt down.

“Challenge”…..bwahahahahaha!!!

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:11 PM

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:08 PM

When a state has a 4.7% unemployment rate, exactly how is the governor supposed to create more jobs? 5% unemployment is considered full employment.

So yes, Romney was 47th. But the unemployment was one of the lowest in the nation.

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:14 PM

I wonder if Rick Perry Mitt Romney got as far as he did based on cheesy charm, his looks and his rich Daddy. The man doesn’t seem at all impressive or remarkable in any other areas.Rick Perry Mitt Romney is not only an empty suit, he is also an empty head. duplicitous tool of Wall Street.

bluegill on December 31, 2011 at 7:08 PM

fify

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:16 PM

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:14 PM

That was in a good economy…

While Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, Massachusetts added just under 46,000 jobs.

Over that same period, just Houston added over 4.5 times that amount — even though Houston’s population was 1.4 million less than Massachusetts.

source: US Census Bureau, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OXo3AYKC930/ToEcltCX8kI/AAAAAAAAAOk/ZpkKUxJvvm4/s1600/houstonmassachu.jpg

I wouldn’t be showcasing the unemployment rate during Mitt’s single term when a single city in Texas created over 4 times the amount of jobs then the entire state of MA.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Job Growth 2003-2007

State of Massachusetts Jobs – 45,800

Houston, Tx. – 219,200

45,800 in 4 years…One more reason Mitt = Obamalite

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:25 PM

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Texas unemployment…8%. Ma unemployment…5%.

And even then it took Texas 4 years to get down to the rate MA was at.

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Texas v Massachusetts job growth Jan. 2003 – Nov. 2006

(The mostly flat red line is MA)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a5fMY2cK6NM/TmjbFUnHtLI/AAAAAAAAANk/Pl7cQqJQUpQ/s1600/tx%2Bmass%2Bus.jpg

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Oh good grief, this is getting tiresome. You like Rick Santorum Ed, you’ve made that very clear. We get it. Dang.

“However, the debates matter, and Perry did poorly in them, which was the catalyst to his polling collapse.”

No sh*t, Sherlock. lol

Again,….no vote has been cast yet, the voters will decide.

kg598301 on December 31, 2011 at 7:37 PM

csdeven on December 31, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Keep touting Mitt’s 45,800 jobs in 4 years before the recession cause it’s as impressive as Obama’s record.

From 2000 – 2008 Texas had twice the GSP then MA.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_7jykVQ83dk4/TKs2Dwkv2BI/AAAAAAAAAGo/AqIbFhtw8t8/s1600/gsp00s.jpg

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:38 PM

working class artist -

Here’s the link on $33 million in college aid to Texas illegals:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20100314-Number-of-illegal-immigrants-getting-in-9925.ece

Before he entered the race, I figured I would support Perry for President. Then I took a closer look at Perry: the hundreds of thousands in travel and gifts he and his family received from supporters and special interest groups due to his state’s non-existent ethics laws; the favors he has done and appointments he has made through his pay to play schemes. Crony capitalism is what Rick Perry is best at.

In short, Rick Perry is as dishonest, unethical and corrupt as any Illinois Democrat.

bw222 on December 31, 2011 at 7:42 PM

I’m confident that Republican primary voters will do the obviously smartest thing and select Mitt Romney, the best candidate to go up against Obama. It’s not difficult to see that Romney has the best chance to win it all.

Romney will make an excellent president, and I look forward to 2012!

bluegill on December 31, 2011 at 6:54 PM

If I thought Romney would fight tooth and nail to repeal ObamaCare regardless of which way the political wind blows, I would happily get behind him.

Problem is, he keeps taking every opportunity to make me believe otherwise. He shows up to the debates and says he’ll repeal it, but outside of those debates he keeps talking up his RomneyCare failure. If he could admit the system he put into place in Massachusetts was a bad system but that voters in one of the deepest blue states demanded it, I’d be okay with it. I don’t blame him for doing what his constituents wanted. But he keeps trying to tell me it was a great idea on his part, and that’s just not.

I want someone who will make repeal of ObamaCare a top priority. Romney says he’ll do it but I don’t trust him to fight for it. And it’s going to take a fight to get it done.

Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 7:46 PM

The Texas instate tuition law is up for review in the next session.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Crony capitalism is what Rick Perry is best at.

In short, Rick Perry is as dishonest, unethical and corrupt as any Illinois Democrat.

bw222 on December 31, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Jello meet wall…ask the democrats in Texas

*next*

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:48 PM

But he keeps trying to tell me it was a great idea on his part…Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 7:46 PM

You nailed it…Romney’s ego is wrapped up in the Obamacare Blueprint known as Romneycare that we all pay for as it has been dependent on federal tax dollars. He even had his cheesy portrait painted with the damned bill.

The donor states like Texas pays more than it’s share to shore up these failed programs and Obamacare will bankrupt state budgets.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:55 PM

For the life of me I don’t understand the constant urge to bring down every candidate except the one you support. None of these folks are perfect, but most of them are worthy of our votes. By the time we finish our internal warfare we may have no one who can win in 2012.

For once I would like to see candidates, as well as their supporters, concentrate on their accomplishments, not each other’s real or pretended faults. The media already blacken them enough, we don’t need to help.

independentvoice on December 31, 2011 at 7:56 PM

For once I would like to see candidates, as well as their supporters, concentrate on their accomplishments, not each other’s real or pretended faults. The media already blacken them enough, we don’t need to help.

independentvoice on December 31, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Point taken. Romney’s singular achievement as governor of MA was passing Romneycare.

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:59 PM

You don’t support Romney, neither do I. But nor will I try and bring him down because I want our nominee to have a chance at winning in 2012. If I was voting today I’d vote for Huntsman – good conservative governor record, has foreign policy experience, doesn’t shoot off his mouth or put his foot in it. Yes, many see his ambassodrship to China as a black mark but I think it’s a plus.

independentvoice on December 31, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Yet the view of the outsiders who took over Perry’s campaign is that the candidate was set up for failure by an insular group led by Dave Carney, the governor’s longtime political guru, which thought they could run a presidential campaign like a larger version of a gubernatorial race and didn’t take the basic steps needed to professionalize the operation until the candidate was already sinking.

“They put the campaign together like all the other Perry campaigns: raise a bunch of money, don’t worry about the [media coverage], don’t worry about debates and buy the race on TV,” said a top Perry official. “You have to be a total rube to think a race for president is the same as a race for governor.”

That’s not quite it. It’s not that running for president is different from running for governor. It’s that running for president is different from running for governor of Texas. Texas is a highly partisan state, for the most part. It’s deep red and that isn’t changing any time soon. The last Democrat to hold the office was Ann Richards, and she frankly would never have won if her opponent had not imploded. Clayton Williams was beating her by something like 20 points before he made an unbelievably tasteless joke about rape during the campaign. And even then, Richards won with less than 50 percent of the vote, barely beating Williams. George W. Bush beat her in a landslide in the next election.

Perry’s actually been a great governor. His job creation record alone speaks to that, not to mention his performance in the last budgetary session, which cut total spending (not just axing increases) for the first time in state history, I believe. He’d make a great president, considering his record. But running for governor in Texas as a Republican is a cakewalk. The hardest election Perry has ever had to fight was his primary against Hutchison, and by then she was tarnished with the Washington brand. But there is no real Democratic opposition in Texas because the state is so red. If his political team assumed he could run the same campaign they ran in Texas, then that was remarkably foolish.

Of course, I really think the problem was his back surgery. He was still recovering when those first debates occurred and I think that’s why he has been performing better recently. I hope it’s enough for him to eke out a win in Iowa, but I’m not really optimistic.

Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Perry’s campaign staff needs to zip it on this stuff.

I myself think Perry’s plunge in the polls is partly due to America no longer being the kind of place much of Texas still is. Rick Perry’s beliefs, agenda, and persona play well in Texas. And that’s why Texas has been economically successful as opposed to Caifornia, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan. You want to be successful like Texas, where poor people can still get jobs and improve their lot rather than simply languishing on the dole, you have to BE like Texas.

There isn’t any way to be — politically, economically — like California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, and also get Texas-style economic results.

But the rhetoric and expression of the big-government style of politics, in which candidates have a smooth, adjusted-to-centerline answer for every kind of issue, is the model we have come to expect and assume. I’m not sure Americans realize how fully captured we have become by the big-government mode of thought and speech. If Mitt Romney had given his exact current answers and speeches in 1924, taking on Calvin Coolidge for the GOP nomination, the voters would have seriously worried about his sanity. Today, on domestic issues, Romney is the squishy, emotionally reassuring moderate.

I agree without demur that Perry has done poorly in the debates and has a couple of policy items that have raised eyebrows (the Gardasil mandate and in-state tuition for the children of illegals seem to be the hot-button issues). I wrote months ago that Perry would not be a politically transformative president if he were elected — he comes from a tradition of comparatively accommodationist conservative Republicans that I perceive to be headed into the sunset. (George W. Bush was of a similar stripe, although Perry has more conservative edges to him.) We will need more original, transformative Republicans in the years ahead.

But looking at Perry’s record, his positions, his economic and energy plan, and the success of Texas under his governorship, he’s the one I’m going to vote for. I believe, if he got a Republican Congress, that he would repeal Obamacare. He would reduce regulation, not add to it. He would attack the entitlements problem from the supply/jobs/revenue side, rather than merely assuming that projected revenues are static and the economy can’t improve enough to offset a significant portion of the entitlements burden. That static, pessimistic view leads all Democrats and most Republicans and independents to assume that our first resort must be ugly things like cutting current benefits and raising taxes — but Perry’s record in Texas shows that he understands the game-changing power of a charging economy and surging revenues. You have to let the people work, start businesses, make money — doing things in a way that WILL make money, as opposed to ways that satisfy the theories of advocacy groups, and can subsist only with welfare from the taxpayers. Perry gets that.

I like Bachmann and Santorum too, but they don’t have the executive record Perry has, and Santorum, in particular, comes across as focusing a bit too much on social issues. Perry avows being a social conservative, but he doesn’t go on and on about how he would handle this or that policy question, at least half of which the federal government shouldn’t interest itself in anyway.

I see this is turning into a blog post, but I don’t have time to polish it up. To return to the original point, Perry’s staff is doing him no favors with the whining. It’s like every stupid little thing is coinciding to make Perry look foolish, and whining from his campaign staff is a ridiculous, unforced error.

On the merits, however, I consider him the best candidate for assuming the powers of the presidency. If there’s ever a big, televised international debate between US politicians and a delegation of foreign bad guys, moderated by news anchors and taking questions sent in by Tweet and text message, we should be sure to send Romney and Gingrich. If the race is a popularity contest with the MSM, we can declare Romney the winner and go home.

But this race is for the next president, and my choice is still Perry.

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM

Look Ed, I was raised catholic in the 50′s. I remember the celebration in my family when JFK was elected. But the fact is that Perry will more than likely be the last social conservative standing after Iowa. So in the grand scheme of things, what does it really accomplish for you to continue to trash him? Just something to think about.

kg598301 on December 31, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Perry ahould challenge Gingrich to debate

gerrym51 on December 31, 2011 at 8:41 PM

I myself think Perry’s plunge in the polls is partly due to America no longer being the kind of place much of Texas still is. Rick Perry’s beliefs, agenda, and persona play well in Texas…

But the rhetoric and expression of the big-government style of politics, in which candidates have a smooth, adjusted-to-centerline answer for every kind of issue, is the model we have come to expect and assume.

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM

I really don’t think that’s the case. Look at Paul Ryan, who commands respect pretty much wherever he goes. Is there really much daylight between his own fiscal policies and Rick Perry’s? I say no. The difference is that Paul Ryan is much, much better at articulating the reasons for those policies. He makes the case for why they work by keeping on top of the statistics and making a convincing, logical argument. It’s the same reason everybody was so excited about Chris Christie when he was taking on the teacher’s unions last year.

But Perry doesn’t do that. Probably can’t do that. And the reason is that he’s never had to. Texas already knows those things, as you point out, so he’s basically been lax in figuring out how to sell his conservative policies. There’s just no need for that in Texas.

I don’t think Perry’s losing because people expect big-government rhetoric. I think he’s losing because this year, Republicans want a candidate who can really make a smart, almost wonkish argument for his policies. Maybe because they are, as Ace suggested a week or so ago, fighting the last war by looking for someone to go toe-to-toe with Obama on perceived intellect. Or maybe they realize that in order to win the longer-term political culture we have to make the case for conservatism rather than just governing and expecting people to recognize success. Whatever the reason, that’s what they’re looking for, and it’s why Cain had his moment in the sun, and then Gingrich.

Personally, I think looking for that sort of articulation is asking for too much from this field, and we should settle on the candidate with the best record. I think that guy is Perry. That’s the reason I’ve been a Perry supporter all along.

Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 8:42 PM

I called the momentum swing for Santorum 3 weeks ago…when he was “still” polling mid-, single digits. But the endorsements from evangelical and political leaders in Iowa, together with the solid organization of political groups (i.e., Harris twins) gave internals early indicator of Santorum’s rise.

My Iowa predictions:

Rick Santorum – 24%
Mitt Romney – 23%
Ron Paul – 20%
Perry – 13%
Gingrich – 11%
Bachmann – 4%
Huntsman – 2%
Other – 3%

South Carolina poll numbers are going to show drastic changes and similar trends, although now as pronounced as Iowa’s. Santorum will get moderate bump in NH and even bigger in SC in next 7-10 days.

Deep Timber on December 31, 2011 at 8:58 PM

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM
Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Maybe I’m biased but it seems that Perry supporters tend to make the more substantive arguments on these boards.

ZGMF_Freedom on December 31, 2011 at 8:58 PM

I don’t think Perry’s losing because people expect big-government rhetoric. I think he’s losing because this year, Republicans want a candidate who can really make a smart, almost wonkish argument for his policies.

Caiwyn on December 31, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Smart, almost wonkish arguments for policies ARE big-government rhetoric. You have just described it to a T.

When you have to make wonkish arguments for your policies, it’s because you have signed on to government doing a lot and being big. For small government, you don’t need wonkish arguments. You don’t need “smart,” you need “wise” and “large-minded.”

The more wonkish the argument, the more that argument is predicated on envisioning control of your fellow man.

If you meant, rather, that people are looking for principled arguments about the scope of government — that’s a separate issue, and in my view, no candidate has really made such arguments. Gingrich and Romney say a lot of things that tacitly assume certain principles about the scope of government, but neither has articulated the principles themselves. (The principles behind their statements are almost uniformly favorable to larger government.) Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry have generally spoken in terms consistent with the Reagan-conservative consensus, but none of them have articulated principles point by point.

Reagan didn’t do that himself with a lot of variety or detail, but what made his name for him was that he did do it. There isn’t anyone doing the same thing in this campaign season.

As for Ron Paul, I really wouldn’t compare him to Perry, even in terms of their economic policies. Paul has a hard-core cadre of supporters who are not, by and large, mainstream. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the point is that Perry’s appeal is as a mainstream conservative candidate. The fact that Ron Paul appeals to libertarian Paul supporters in, say, Virginia, doesn’t mean that Virginia Republicans are predisposed to find a Texas-style conservative like Rick Perry appealing.

I think — and I believe I see other commenters here who see it this way as well — that anyone who is looking for a political savior in this year’s Republican candidate has already bought into an idea of government that is much bigger than it ought to be. Government has no power to save us from what we have let it — and in some ways, ourselves — become. I see from Perry’s record and policies that he views government more the way I do than anyone else seeking the nomination, but I have no illusions that he is about to inscribe political principles for the ages on a stone tablet. Neither are any of the rest of them.

The fact that our minds run to this idea of political salvation is evidence of the hold big-governmentism has on us. I don’t expect salvation to come from a political candidate, because government is just a lot of overhead, like the electric bill. It’s not an expression of my highest hopes and dreams. It’s a utility. Liberty, America herself, her people, the life one can have here — those are the great prizes. Government is not, in the end, very interesting — unless we expect more of it than is good for us.

I have my objections to each of the candidates, but will vote for whoever is selected. I hope it’s Perry, but if it’s Romney, I’ll vote for him and hope a GOP Congress will hold his feet to the fire. The point is to replace Obama. Government can’t save us, but it can destroy us.

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Life is great here in Texas. I’m sitting here in 70 degree weather, grilling a big salmon fillet over mesquite with huge fireworks going off right in the neighborhood. We are all about freedom here, and it WORKS! Perry gets that.

Have an awesome New Year and God bless, everybody!

kg598301 on December 31, 2011 at 10:33 PM

Texas v Massachusetts job growth Jan. 2003 – Nov. 2006

(The mostly flat red line is MA)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a5fMY2cK6NM/TmjbFUnHtLI/AAAAAAAAANk/Pl7cQqJQUpQ/s1600/tx%2Bmass%2Bus.jpg

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:30 PM

workingclass artist, I am so glad you are on Perry’s team. I love your data.

tmontgomery on December 31, 2011 at 11:02 PM

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 9:13 PM

+ 100..Your posst are as always..are spot on..:)

Dire Straits on January 1, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Santorum is way far too right, especially in religion to be able to carry independents which is what we have to have to win. Some just don’t get that; if conservatives are 51 per cent of the voting public, then it doesn’t matter. Santorum doesn’t even believe in contraception, ye gods, how narrow and radical can you be? I don’t believe in using them as a teaching tool in elementary schools, but if we want to maintain a healthy planet, we must control the population somehow. He says its a personal belief; but sometimes it is hard to separate personal and public when you are in office. He just doesn’t have the broad appeal that it is going to take to win. Please be forwarned…it is going to be a close and hard fought election and dirty, too!

AReadyRepub on January 1, 2012 at 1:50 AM

workingclass artist on December 31, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Texas had 8% unemployment and needed all those jobs. And it still took four years to get even close to MA’s rate.

csdeven on January 1, 2012 at 2:45 AM

After watching Rick Perry stumble and bumble through numerous interviews, I’m shocked that he even managed to graduate from high school. He seems to be a “special needs” (I mean no offense to anyone with learning disabilities) type of person. The job of TX Governor must not be a particularly demanding one if someone like Rick Perry has been able to perform the necessary duties. I imagine he relies heavily on his staff? Maybe he’s just the guy who gets up at the podium, smiles and reads speeches written by other people.

To you people who say it doesn’t matter whether we nominate someone who is “smart,” I say: are you nuts?! If Rick Perry is the nominee, he will become a bigger joke than Sarah Palin. I know that Palin was treated very unfairly by the MSM, but the reality is that some of the criticism she received was valid, since she rarely discussed issues in-depth and often came off as if she was winging it. I wanted to love Palin and generally still have good feelings about her, but she never seemed to raise her game beyond shallow, cutesy answers delivered in a folksy style. As unimpressive as Palin was at times, Perry would be 10 times worse. So much focus leading up to the 2012 election day would be on what an embarrassing joke Rick Perry is, at the expense of spending time on Obama’s economic record. Maybe a few of you want a candidate who runs around like a bozo calling a Obama a bunch of inflammatory names and demanding Obama’s college transcripts, but that’s not going to win us the general election. Particularly after GW Bush and Sarah Palin, I would love a Republican candidate who is dignified, sharp, competent, articulate and who conveys a reassuring sense of having things under control. That’s one of the big reasons why I support Romney. He’s a Center-Right candidate perfectly positioned to beat Obama, repeal Obamacare, nominate conservative Supreme Court Justices, create a more sane energy policy and resist the demands for higher taxes.

bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

workingclass artist, I am so glad you are on Perry’s team. I love your data.

tmontgomery on December 31, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Hope you have a Lucky New Year!

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 7:29 AM

Texas had 8% unemployment and needed all those jobs. And it still took four years to get even close to MA’s rate.

csdeven on January 1, 2012 at 2:45 AM

I think you have forgotten what a robust economy looks like…but cling to your stifled MA model. Let me know when MA breaks into world class economics, Texas is the 13th largest economy in the world & under Perry’s tenure has diversified it’s economy & led the nation in exports for 9 years in a row. Most of this in small manufacturing production and exports.

Funny but I don’t recall Californian politicians coming to ask Mitt Romney for a lesson in American Conservative Economics…But they came to Texas to chat with Governor Perry & ask him about the Texas Model.

I don’t think I’ve seen a quote from another state governor about Romney’s MA model being a driving force behind his policy platform but Florida’s governor said
“I wake up every morning to see how I can bring more jobs to Florida then Rick Perry brings to Texas”

4 simple principles that drive the Texas Model.

Fair & Predictable Regulatory Climate
Low Taxes that promote Business Growth
Commonsense Budget Constraint (Texas BBA & Don’t Spend all the Money)
Tort Reform

Down here in Texas we call that Leadership.

Gig Em’
Perry 2012

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Particularly after GW Bush and Sarah Palin, I would love a Republican candidate who is dignified, sharp, competent, articulate and who conveys a reassuring sense of having things under control. bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

Well I want someone who can actually Govern with a good record…not a polished TV performer.

Romney was a laydown who was a tool for Swimcoach Teddy Kennedy and Mitt has a Daddy complex…no thanks.

I want a fighter like Perry. He has the record to back it up

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 7:53 AM

If Rick Perry is the nominee, he will become a bigger joke than Sarah Palin.
bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

Palin had a glass jaw due to inexperience.

Perry’s been put through the media ringer in Texas for decades in Texas ever since he switched sides. He has a granite jaw & a sense of humor.

Perry is very different from W. He comes from solid & tough West Texas stock. In that toughness he’s more like Harry Truman & he won’t try to be something he’s not.
He is plain spoken & smart in enough to beat the Bush Machine & an Axelrod campaign. Voters like him when they meet him and his ideas are accessible and make sense.

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Interesting take, by all the authors and pundits, Ed.
Here’s hoping that Gov. Perry can bone-up on his messaging.
I truly believe that he’s the man for the job. I just wish he were better prepared, well-traveled, and informed.
After all, Rick Perry is the only conservative who can beat Ø’Bumbler: The fourth best of the worst?

America needs a competent straight-talker with values, a “bitter clinger” as it were.
(Santorum is far too anal-retentive for me. He’d never win)

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 1, 2012 at 8:46 AM

New ad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=726AV2dexM4

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 9:37 AM

I myself think Perry’s plunge in the polls is partly due to America no longer being the kind of place much of Texas still is. Rick Perry’s beliefs, agenda, and persona play well in Texas…

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 8:24 PM

I think the reasons for Perry’s plunge is a little less complicated than that. He was oversold as The Super-Electable Savior Of The GOP and he underdelivered. He came in like a house on fire and then sat on the lead and did nothing, putting himself into a situation in which everything hung on how well he did in those debates.

ddrintn on January 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM

* ARE a little less complicated, that should be

ddrintn on January 1, 2012 at 10:01 AM

If Rick Perry is the nominee, he will become a bigger joke than Sarah Palin.

bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

It’s OK. Plastic Man’s on his way to being a bigger joke than all of them put together.

ddrintn on January 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

If Rick Perry is the nominee, he will become a bigger joke than Sarah Palin.

bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

It’s OK. Plastic Man’s on his way to being a bigger joke than all of them put together.

ddrintn on January 1, 2012 at 10:04 AM

But the Plastic Mitt is a joke with more nuance while he loses gracefully. That is important to some people. The ones most like the people in the mediocre middle, often called Losers.

WhatNot on January 1, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Perry is my candidate. . Perry has now recovered and is proving to be the excellent retail campaigner he was reputed to be. It’s time to put the “stupid” and “can’t debate” labels aside and realize he’s the best alternative to Romney of those we have to choose from, and after all, that’s what this is really all about.

nancysabet on January 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Romney is a LOSER. He has never won an election except one term gov. of a tiney state. Perry never lost an election and he is 3 term successful gov. of a huge state, created 40% of jobs in the US. Do I need to say more?

nancysabet on January 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Perry’s problem isn’t Romney(at least not yet). His problem is the
other conservatives in the field who are kicking his butt. Until he gets past them Romney is an afterthought.

gerrym51 on January 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Romney is a LOSER. He has never won an election except one term gov. of a tiney state. Perry never lost an election and he is 3 term successful gov. of a huge state, created 40% of jobs in the US. Do I need to say more?

nancysabet on January 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

You’re overrating him.

ebrown2 on January 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM

I think the reasons for Perry’s plunge is a little less complicated than that. He was oversold as The Super-Electable Savior Of The GOP and he underdelivered. He came in like a house on fire and then sat on the lead and did nothing, putting himself into a situation in which everything hung on how well he did in those debates.

ddrintn on January 1, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Exactly. This business about the rest of America “no longer being like TX” as a way to explain Perry’s crashing and burning is a bunch of bunk. Perry had the world in his hands at the end of summer, but he showed that he wasn’t up to the task. After being oversold and promoted with that stunning, powerful “Proven Leadership” ad, Perry revealed an inability to speak coherently or display even a minimum level of competence to be president. The moment people started hearing Perry speak and attempt to make his case, jaws were dropping all over the country. I honestly felt embarrassed for the man. Oh, and his pro-illegal alien amnesty and anti-border fence positions didn’t help, either.

J.E. Dyer on December 31, 2011 at 9:13 PM

Do you REALLY want Perry to win the nomination? Or are you just saying that so you can maintain some “true conservative” cred on here? I think most of us know that Perry is going nowhere fast and could never beat Obama. With all due respect, I can’t see how anyone following this closely could seriously support Perry at this point. That’s why I’m skeptical. What more does the man need to do to prove that he is not up to the job?

nancysabet on January 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Actually, Romney gave Ted Kennedy a big scare in 1994 and forced Kennedy to spend a lot more than he wanted to. Romney ran an excellent campaign in ’94 (his first), and is a much better campaigner today. The fortunate thing about having Romney as our nominee is that he runs VERY well against liberals. I look forward to Romney wrapping this thing up sooner rather than later.

Here is Romney debating Kennedy in 1994:

Romney Against Government Takeover of Health Care

Romney on Immigration

Romney on Spending

bluegill on January 1, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Perry looked and sounded like a dumb Texan. That doesn’t fly outside of Texas. Not after W it doesn’t. Nothing else needs to be said.

ZippyZ on January 1, 2012 at 7:20 PM

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Texas….8%. MA….4.7%.

csdeven on January 1, 2012 at 11:54 PM

workingclass artist on January 1, 2012 at 8:04 AM

I predict, you, just like unseen, will disappear when you have to admit that Perry is the most epically failed GOP candidate in 2011.

csdeven on January 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

J.E. Dyer:

But looking at Perry’s record, his positions, his economic and energy plan, and the success of Texas under his governorship, he’s the one I’m going to vote for. I believe, if he got a Republican Congress, that he would repeal Obamacare. He would reduce regulation, not add to it. He would attack the entitlements problem from the supply/jobs/revenue side, rather than merely assuming that projected revenues are static and the economy can’t improve enough to offset a significant portion of the entitlements burden.

You betcha.
Until the next generation is ready: the Rubios, the Ryans, etc., Rick Perry will certainly fill the bill. A man’s man and a Veteran.
And no, all of the country is not like Texas, BUT some lead by example, others lead from behind (like King Barack the Growth Slayer). Some “Blue States” are already becoming purple at least, including here in Michigan, which is all “red” except for the urban and college realms.
Governor Perry still has time to polish his skills.
If I have to, I’ll hold my nose (again) and vote for Newton.
ABR (anyone but romney)

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I predict, you, just like unseen, will disappear when you have to admit that Perry is the most epically failed GOP candidate in 2011.

csdeven on January 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM

You will be crying in your corn flakes alongside Mittens…yep!

workingclass artist on January 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

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