Interesting that he went after Trump for what he said about Mexicans on the same day that he criticized the GOP more broadly for having given up on the black vote. Everyone expected him to run this time on his jobs record but yesterday’s comments were the biggest splash he’s made as a candidate so far.
I don’t mean to be cynical about it — these are his heartfelt positions, I’m sure, and good for him — but his choice of topic is probably at least partly a function of his standing in the race. The top-tier candidates like Bush, Rubio, and Walker no doubt have been sternly warned by their advisors to avoid getting into spats with Trump at all costs. No matter how nasty he gets, just laugh it off and get back on message. The more they fire back at him, the less serious they’ll appear by association. For someone like Perry, though, who’s at two percent in the polls, pulling a Sistah Souljah on Trump might be the easiest way to get Republicans’ attention. That’s deeply sad: A guy who spent 15 years presiding over a sustained economic boom in Texas needs to pick a fight with the MC of “The Apprentice” to improve his chances at the presidency? But yeah, that’s about the size of it. And really, Perry’s got no one to blame but himself. If he had passed on the race in 2012, if he had never had an “oops” moment or scolded righties for being heartless in not backing in-state tuition for illegals, he’d be right there with Bush et al. in the top tier this time. As it is, this may be his fastest route back onto voters’ radar screen. Makes me wonder how many other struggling Republican candidates will soon start throwing roundhouses at Trump too in hopes of bathing in the reflected spotlight. Hopefully someday we’ll ask each other, “Where were you when the Trump/Christie war broke out?”