Aug 15, 2011

Reading the Tea Leaves: Rick Perry's Run Bad News for Obama.

We all know that Obama is very vulnerable and increasingly seems like an one-termer. His biggest enemy is himself, but since he's going to have to face a Republican in the general election next year, the announcement of Rick Perry--the dimwit Texas gov--as a prez candidate creates a very credible threat to BO.

The GOP is not very comfortable with any other candidate, despite the high ratings Bachman, Paul, and Romney get. Paul is not mainstream conservative. He's a libertarian who sides with the GOP because of economic issues. Romney is a flip-flopper--he had to be in order to compete in this extreme party--and a Mormon. The Mornons aren't even considered Xtians by the other faithful, especially the Southern conservatives. Bachman, well, she's crazy and the majority of the conservatives already know this, despite the very conservative Iowans supporting her. She's the "local" candidate who'll probably win the Iowa caucuses early next year. But this won't be enough. 

Even if Romney wins the New Hampshire primary, the election schedule is favorable to Perry. If, and I think it's very likely, he sticks to close second or third finishes, then he can sweep the Southern states where the political base of the conservatives lies.

Perry's move to start his campaign with holding a mass prayer with fundies was to sent the message that he's not a Mormon, and that he's in line with the hardcore religious right. He can tout his gubernatorial credentials [even though he's been a terrible gov in a state with the weakest chief exec], as a pro-business, tax-cutter, job-creator, gun-totting, religious nut.  This will go extremely well in the GOP primary selection race. Unless a scandal befalls him, I see him as the Repub nominee next year. He could also be the next president of the US.

The credibility of a candidate nowadays--even before the public gets to know him/her--rests on the size of their bank account and the ability to raise a mountain of money. Perry excels in this, therefore, he'll be able to spend, spend, and outspend all the rest of the GOP hopefuls. Romney is rich, but I expect once the rich conservatives settle on a favorite horse, most of their money will flow to Perry.

The conservatives (in this GOP) have never accepted the legitimacy of the Clinton and Obama presidencies. I can't emphasize this enough. From day one, they didn't just oppose the ideology and policies but the person in the high office himself. They hated Clinton and they hate Obama. It's a visceral reaction, which will make the cons coalesce around the strongest candidate who can beat Obama.

The only puzzle piece in the presidential ticket will be whom Perry will select as his VP. He may go for ..crazy as he'll want to keep the loons engaged and excited. He understands that he'll have to make a hard turn to the center during the general campaign and, thus, will stop talking the loon dialect of the right. Instead he'll focus on the economy, (blame Obama for all of the troubles of the economy), and jobs, while constantly highlighting O's weak style of leadership. Perry is polished enough [lots of sizzle not enough beef.... though often Americans pay attention mostly to the sizzle] to project a strong presidential leadership and portray himself as a person who can get the economy going.

There will be an interesting difference in style that will obscure the substance between the two men. If Obama remains the detached and analytical intellectual, he'll lose. He'll lose because, even though most Americans agree with his policies (as expressed not as compromised), he won't be a strong leader. Americans prefer a strong leader who's wrong to a weak one who's right. 

Change we could believe in (2008) may turn into change we don't believe in (2012) but will get it, one way or another.
A bad economy always plays a huge role in the elections. Many voters have short memories; most don't understand how our political system works. The "floaters" (low info, impressionable voters) move from party to party and they decide elections. The other important factor is an energetic base. You can make your own assessment whether Obama has satisfied his political base.

The so-called independents and even some Dems may find acceptable a ..centrist Perry next year.  It's not all doom-and-gloom for the progressives yet, but there isn't much this president has shown us to be excited and hopeful as I'm writing this. Yes, We Can sounds far removed today. 

UPDATE (8/16):
"So where does the notion of a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from widespread misunderstanding of the economic effects of population growth."

Paul Krugman points out some more scathing truths about the "The Texas Unmiracle". 
"So when Mr. Perry presents himself as the candidate who knows how to create jobs, don’t believe him. His prescriptions for job creation would work about as well in practice as his prayer-based attempt to end Texas’s crippling drought."

UPDATE 2: Want to think about something really intriguing? Imagine if Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, jumps into the race as an Independent.... He won't have to go through the primaries either.  This may have the effect of splitting the Democratic vote in the end, though if Obama is seem as an eventual loser, most will abandon him for Bloomberg. The latter is very acceptable to Dems, Inds, and moderate Repubs, and I believe he can handily beat any of the GOP fields against him. 

Another scenario would be that MB challenges BO in the Dem primaries. I would very much favor this, because it would produce a stronger candidate and a unified party behind him--no matter who it is (either). I like the idea of primaring Obama more and more. I'm with Bernie Sanders on this. We can dream, can't we?.. 


Anonymous said...

Perry is a lunatic and I hope people pay attention to his rhetoric.

George said...

There will be many opportunities to point out his extremism, but I'm not sure if he maintains this kind of rhetoric that's so far to the right of most Americans.

He prays for taxes to go away, prays the gay away, and pray to God to end the drought in Texas (it failed). And, end all regulations because they kill jobs... Whatever, but these messages may be obscured by a bad economy and an irrelevant president Obama.