Video: Rick Perry, still America's jobs governor

Right now, Rick Perry’s poll numbers are anything but pretty. Yet, to judge by the release of this little web video, his campaign is anything but daunted. Maybe his newly detailed jobs plan will, ahem, energize him in the debate tonight.

Perry is still strong on jobs like Michele Bachmann is still strong on healthcare. He needs to pound that home tonight. Yet, I can’t help but think that might not help him much. The real problem with Perry’s campaign has nothing to do with the views he advocates and everything to do with the way he advocates them. I don’t just mean that he’s performed poorly in debates. I mean the point Michelle Malkin raised about his handling of Gardasil early on: The question of whether he’ll barrel over whatever stands in his way — even legitimate obstacles — to achieve his end. His “heartless” comment hinted at how brashly he brands his opponents so as to sweep them aside.

Comparisons to Andrew Jackson are stunningly appropriate — and that concerns me. Jackson might have had the right ideas — limited government, debt reduction, a return to federalism — but, practically speaking, he ended up expanding the power of the executive. And while a robust executive branch might seem OK under a Jackson or a Reagan or a Perry, it’s been problematic under Obama, who, while not a leader, has nevertheless proved himself adept at powering his agenda through the one branch he completely controls when Congress fails to cooperate with him.

Still, would Old Rickory be more apt to abuse the presidency than Romney? And we have no record at all by which to judge Herman Cain’s respect for the separation of powers. Sometimes, I think the only candidate I feel really sure of — that is, the only candidate whose rhetoric matches her record (or lack thereof) — is Bachmann — but, after her quick rise and fall, nobody seems to consider her a realistic option. She’s done well in every single debate, too, but all anyone seems to remember are her campaign-trail gaffes and her “jump-the-shark” Gardasil moment.

Still, her story reminds me the campaign is far from over. No one has sealed the nomination yet — and, if conservatives are serious in their persistent preference for anyone-but-Romney, then Perry should surely still have a chance no less than Cain or Gingrich or Bachmann, all of whom have made mistakes that pundits claimed would effectively end their campaigns.

P.S. Slightly off-topic, but I also wonder why the candidates aren’t talking a little more about deficit reduction as a way to ultimately grow the economy to create jobs. That’s an advantage Republicans can uniquely press because the president has proved himself to be fundamentally unserious about reducing the deficit. I’d love to hear a candidate make the case tonight that reining in government spending is essential to long-term lower unemployment.