Really? The Republican nomination this year might turn on whether Iowans hold a grudge against a strong candidate because he stole a bit of buzz from one of the most ridiculous spectacles in electoral politics?
Just for that, I’m kind of hoping now that Ron Paul wins the straw poll. Maximum relevance!
Stealing some of the media attention away from the Straw Poll and the candidates that are participating on Saturday may seem like a savvy thing to do, but it comes at a high price. Perry now risks alienating the very people he needs to support him in order to win the nomination. It also seems arrogant to think that he can steal the some of the spotlight from Ames. National members of the media are already in Iowa to cover the lead up to the straw poll and Thursday night’s Fox News Debate. Perry is basically going to attempt inject himself in to the national news story, but his speech and entrance into the race will not match the excitement of Ames.
The RedState gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, takes place from Friday through Sunday. Perry could have arranged his schedule to announce either before or after the Straw Poll. Iowans won’t forget this…
To win the caucuses and ultimately win the Republican nomination, Perry needs Iowa. Perry has found a way make Iowa more difficult than it needs to be. Ironically, Perry has done a better job of insulting Iowa Republicans than Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have done by just avoided the state.
I have always said that Iowans will take seriously those candidates who take us seriously. It appears that Governor Perry doesn’t even respect us, let alone take us seriously.
He respects Iowa enough that he’ll be in Waterloo, on Bachmann’s home turf, the day after the poll to speak at the Black Hawk County Republicans’ fundraising dinner. His supporters on the ground in Iowa are also urging straw-poll participants to write him in, hoping that a surprisingly strong showing will be a second body blow to Bachmann and T-Paw on Saturday. Good enough for Iowans to feel the warm fuzzies of fealty? Maybe not: Perry’s supporters are sufficiently worried about a parochial backlash that the finance chief of Americans for Perry (an independent group) told Byron York that he’s not formally announcing on Saturday because he respects the straw poll so darned much. Think anyone will buy it, especially since he could have held his informal announcement back a day and done it in Waterloo instead?
Read Alana Goodman’s post on this at Commentary. She’s right that the reaction has less to do with Perry than with Iowans feeling jittery that the state won’t matter as much in the future, especially after neither the straw-poll winner last time (Romney) nor the caucus winner (Huckabee) ended up on the ticket. If Bachmann or Paul duplicate that feat this year, it’ll change some strategies in 2016.