Friday, December 9, 2011

Rick Perry 2.0

Leaving aside for now the "Curious History of Republicanism," let's assess the current status of our conservative potential Presidential candidates.

As the Iowa Caucus date of January 3, 2012 draws near, Rick Perry has attempted to reboot his Presidential campaign with a media blitz.

When he first announced his campaign, he jumped to the head of the Republican slate of candidates. As a successful governor of a large state, Perry seemed to possess the skills, experience, and the record that other candidates lacked. The only reservations voiced by skeptics was how his so-called "Texas swagger" would play outside the South. (I do not recall anyone asking how Mitt Romney's "New England Prissiness" would play outside the Northeast).

Dismal debate performances and a series of  "shoot-from-the-hip" (Texas swagger?) comments, however, sent him plummeting in the polls. Whether he is a bad debater or simply uninformed about national and international issues, voters quickly lost confidence in him.

Perry first attempts to revitalize his Christian core support with this ad:

This ad will play well among his core evangelical supporters, but among few others. It is difficult to discern the alleged war on Christianity after last week's lighting of the White House Christmas tree and Christmas greetings from the first family .  Perhaps Obama's incompetence as a chief executive is exceeded only by his incompetence as the commander-in-chief of the war on Christianity.

Then Perry adopts the strategy that has worked so well for Newt Gingrich--attack Obama.

Whether or not  well-crafted commercials can overcome the debate failures and  the conviction of voters that Perry lacks preparedness for the Presidency, time will tell. Right now other Republican candidates can safely ignore him. This might be enough for his continued  marginalization. If he does begin to surge in the polls, those debate clips will no doubt receive extensive replay.

Probably only strong debate performances in the future can insure his reemergence as the "Not-Romney."


CW said...

I don’t think Rick Perry has a prayer of being a contender again in this race. His original head start out of the gate was driven by republicans desperately latching on to what they thought was the non-Romney/non-Newt candidate. The debates exposed him to be a man surprisingly lacking in depth, substance and vision. The resulting drop in his poll numbers has been one of the few rays of hope for me in this campaign. It means people are paying attention and they won’t be duped by good ol’ boy slogans and nice hair.

V.L.Ewell said...

I was one of those "desperate republicans," even though I know from growing up in Texas some 20 years ago that claiming credit for positive developments in that state must be taken with a grain of salt. Texas is a low-service, low-tax state. The state legislature meets only every OTHER year to tweek things. (The drafters of the state constitution apparently felt that the fewer times the legislature met, the fewer opportunities would arise for screwing things up.) The Texas governor does not do much either. Perry proved to be a big disappointment.

CW said...

Well I live in Texas and I voted for Perry in the last election for Governor, but that was a whole different game. There wasn’t nearly as much scrutiny and the competition wasn’t too impressive.

What surprised and dismayed me about Perry’s initial climb in the polls was that he should have been relatively unknown at that point compared to people like Romney, Gingrich and the others, yet he came out as if he was a superstar. Why? It gave me a bit of George W. Bush déjà vu and it worried me that we still hadn’t learned our lesson about promoting a candidate based on substance.

I don’t mean to be too harsh on Perry. He’s been okay as a governor but his performance in the debates has been a real eye opener. I think he has convictions but I think he’s largely motivated by a desire to get the next big prize – the title of POTUS. That’s why he has so much trouble debating. He’s spent more time envisioning himself in the oval office than reflecting on how to deal with the issues.
But as I said, his falling star bodes well for republicans. It means we are at actually paying attention and looking for someone with the right answers. Who knows if we’ll find that person.

V.L.Ewell said...

Glad to hear from someone who actually has some familiarity with Perry as a resident of Texas. I spend ten years in Houston and ten years in Austin. Where are you located?

One of Perry's attractions to me was that he was not part of the Bush team. I understand he offered up some stern criticism that Bush was not a true conservative.

I found Bush a disappointment, too. I voted for him the first go round. I completed a write-in ballot in 2004.

CW said...

I live in Keller, just north of Fort Worth.