When you’ve got a record of economic achievement as solid as The One’s, why care who your opponent is?

The Texas governor, a social and fiscal conservative, is seen by Obama’s top election campaigners and fundraisers as easier to beat than the more moderate Mitt Romney in the presidential election.

“I was praying Perry would get in the race,” said a former White House aide closely linked to Obama’s campaign.

While Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago will not talk on the record about possible election rivals, fundraisers, senior activists and influential Chicagoans close to the president say Perry’s more polarizing views make him a bigger target for the Democrat in a general election…

Michele Bachmann, a senior Tea Party figure, is the Republican contender the Obama campaigners would most like to take on in 2012, although she seems unlikely to win the nomination, according to several sources close to the Obama campaign.

Reverse psychology! But wait — they really would prefer to face Bachmann, no? And not just because she’s the furthest to the right of the big three in the field. She has no executive experience, her campaign isn’t as focused on jobs as Romney’s and Perry’s are, and colorful oppo-research material about her keeps popping up. Yesterday it was her security staffers being oddly aggressive with the press; today it’s the claim that she used to refer to herself as “Dr. Michele Bachmann.” None of that matters in isolation, but the point of oppo is to create a total picture, piece by piece, of a candidate being too risky for the presidency. So they’re using regular psychology in saying they want to face Bachmann — but reverse psychology in saying they want to face Perry so that Republicans won’t nominate him? Or are they using reverse-reverse psychology, knowing that Republicans will assume they’re using reverse psychology and will therefore want to nominate Perry, who really is the candidate the White House secretly wants to face? It is odd that they’d go public with this knowing how conservatives will react unless they’re deliberately trying to elevate Perry. Easily the best primary endorsement he’s gotten by far.

The Cold War generation had Kremlinology, we have this. Exit question: What’s it all about, Alfie?