Perry’s Very Telling Decision to Stay in the Race

Bookmark and Share    When it became clear that Rick Perry was going to come in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus, it seemed as though his hopes to recapture the lead that he once held in the G.O.P. nomination contest were dashed.  The only two good bits of news to come out of Iowa for Perry was the fact that he won two of the 99 counties, the only candidate to win any county aside from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, and that he did not have a totally embarrassing last place showing.  That distinction went to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose sixth place finish put her ahead of only Jon Huntsman, the one major candidate who did not do any campaigning in the Hawkeye State and who summed up his appreciation for Iowa by saying “who cares”.

Then the writing seemed to be on the wall when Governor Perry came out to address his supporters and told them that he was going back to Texas to reassess his campaign.

But a strange thing happened to Governor Perry on his way home.  Between the time he decided to reevaluate his campaign and the time he woke up the following morning, an infusion of optimism compelled him to type a Twitter feed that read;

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State,” Perry tweeted, “Here we come South Carolina!!!

The electronic announcement came as a pleasant surprise to his campaign staff and stunned the political world.  Few thought it possible for Perry to continue with his campaign after making an inference to how bad things were by stating the need to “reassess” his chances of winning the nomination.  Most experts agree that given the poor showing and all the time and money that he invested in Iowa,  no sincere evaluation of his campaign have  possibly found any promising reason for Perry to stay in the race.

From my vantage point, I can only assume that  Rick Perry believes that if doesn’t give up too early, the short history of this election which has created a new frontrunner every month, will repeat itself enough times to give him another opportunity to be in that position.  Perry probably assumes that Rick Santorum will not be able to sustain the attacks he is undoubtedly about to face and will not have the money to respond to those attacks effectively.  As a result, he is holding out hope for another opportunity to became the clear viable alternative to Romney.

But there may very well be another reason why Perry has found the strength to continue his fight.

Not long before the Governor tweeted his battle cry and aimed his campaign guns at South Carolina, it was revealed that a group of national evangelical leaders will gather in Texas for the second time in five months and determine who other Mitt Romney, they can all get behind.

Having a very good relationship with these religious and their associates, Perry may know something about what they are inclined to decide and it just might be responsible for his going from the need to take a close look at if and how his campaign could move beyond Iowa, to determining that he still has a chance to make a last stand in  South Carolina.

No matter what was exactly responsible for Perry’s change of heart, it is mainly a leap of faith.  Especially since Rick Santorum’s surprise strength in Iowa makes him the more likely candidate for movement conservatives to get behind.

Iowa Faith and Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats, a leading voice among evangelicals, had already issued a personal endorsement  of Rick Santorum before the Iowa Caucus but now, in its wake, he called on Newt Gingrich to reassess his candidacy, in hopes of mobilizing conservatives to rally behind Santorum.  Gingrich came in ahead of Perry but Vander Plaats’ plea to Gingrich came before Perry surprised everyone by his decision to stay in the race.  Had it been known that he intended to remain in the race, Vander Plaats would have certainly requested the same of Perry that he requested of Newt Gingrich.

So it would be hard to imaging that evangelicals leaders would choose to get behind Perry instead of Santorum, but either way, it would seem that Rick Perry is counting on some kind of divine intervention to turn things around for him.  And as for those evangelical leaders, I have a word of advice.  It took God seven days to create the earth but with less time than that remaining before New Hampshire, if their main goal is stop to Mitt Romney, they better get moving fast.

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How Others Have Tried To Make the Case Against Rick Perry

   Bookmark and Share  Rick Perry is currently the longest serving Governor in the nation.  He is also the only person to have ever been elected Governor of Texas three times. Such distinguishing accomplishments are not achieved by luck.  He has to be doing something right.  At the same time you can’t spend over a quarter of a decade in politics and half of that time as the Governor of a state, without making some enemies and some mistakes and no enemies.  However in Perry’s case, it is quite obvious that he still has more friends than enemies in Texas .

When George W. Bush stepped down as Governor to assume the presidency of the United States, Lt. Governor Rick Perry took his place and in 2002 he ran for Governor in his own right. Perry proceeded to handily beat millionaire South Texas businessman Tony Sanchez by a margin of 58% to 40% and that was even after Sanchez spent $75 million of his own money in the race.

By 2006,  Perry was plagued by budget woes, embroiled in battles over school financing reform, and on the receiving end of a controversial and contentious redistricting battle. His approval rating had dropped to 38% during the latter part of the 2005 legislative session and by September of 2006 it had improved but still found Perry in the red with 44% of Texans approving of him compared to 51% disapproving of him.

In that election, Democrat Chris Bell ran an aggressive campaign that relied on uniting Democrats into a coalition that would win a plurality by seeing a divided Republican vote splinter itself among Perry, the G.O.P. nominee and several Independent candidates who were mounting strong campaigns.  One of which included the  State Comptroller of Public Accounts, Republican Carole Keeton Strayhorn.  The strategy did not work.  In the end Perry won but with only less than 40% of the total vote.  A result that made Rick Perry the first person elected to the Lone Star state’s executive office with less than 40% since 1861.

Then in 2010, Perry faced a significant challenge for the Republican gubernatorial nomination from incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  Despite many powerful negatives to campaign against Perry with, Hutchison didn’t even leave much of mark on Perry and lost the primary with 30.03 % of the vote to Perry’s 51.1%.  He won the primary handily and went on to defeat his Democrat opponent, former Houston mayor Bill White.  But that race did not always look like it would be very easy for Perry.    At one point the highly respected Charlie Cook of the Cook Report moved the Texas governor’s race from the “leaning Republican” column and placed it in the “toss up” side of the ledger.  But Perry wound up besting White with 54.97% of the vote to White’s 42.28%.

So how did Perry do it?

Well in 2010, Perry successfully shut out Kay Bailey Hutchison with a, “if you think I’m bad, wait till you see her” strategy that painted Hutchison, a three term incumbent in the U.S. Senate, as the ultimate Washington insider.  And in the general election, Perry ran as the ultimate conservative in one of the most ultimately conservative states in the nation.  In his 2010 victory speech, Perry stated that Texans were tired of big government raising taxes and added  “I am genuinely optimistic that we’re one day closer to seeing fiscal conservative approaches applied at the national level as well,”  and then he told the audience who earlier that same evening saw nearly 80 new Republicans get elected to Congress that he wanted to “challenge those new faces in Washington to press for change sooner than later”.  He added “I want them to go in there and really go to work.”  Now, a year later, and Rick Perry is trying to go Washington to make sure that they do just that.

But the question still remains if he is the right person for the job.

While Rick Perry’s natural Texas swagger helps to emphasize his conservative language, there are plenty of potent arguments to challenge the authenticity of his conservatism.  They are questions which although they did not keep him  from getting elected in Texas, could help create quite a negative and damaging impression of Perry among conservatives in places like Iowa, South Carolina, Utah Montana, Wyoming, and Florida.

Here is just a brief look at how Rick Perry’s opponents shaped the case against Perry in the recent past.  We will see how effectively people like Cain, Romney, Bachmann and others may be able to do it in the near future.

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Rick Perry’s Attack Ad Ties Romney to Obama. But Does it Help Rick Perry Any?

Bookmark and Share   With some polls showing Rick Perry in fourth place behind Herman Cain and even the doomed candidacy of Ron Paul, the Governor, is at least for the moment, on the ropes.  His immediate strategy is to attack the man  who many polls currently have in first place, Mitt Romney.

The ad is produced by the same young, creative wiz kid that produced Tim Pawlenty’s ads and it ties Romney to President Obama through the  healthcare plans Romney created for Massachusetts and that Obama created for the nation.  The problem is, the ad may not work as well as Perry hopes.  First of all, the comparison between RomneyCare in Massachusetts and ObamaCare in the nation, is not new.  The secret about the similarities with the two plans is out.  Secondly, like Tim Pawlenty, the attack is probably not going to help Perry very much.  When he was running for President, Pawlenty was the one candidate who attacked Romney the most on the issue.  Who can forget the waves he made when he coined the phrase “ObamneyCare”

While Mitt Romney’s healthcare plan in Massachusetts certainly raises enough questions about Romney’s limited government credentials and is perhaps what is most responsible for making him a flawed candidate, it has not been enough to derail his candidacy and as we saw with Tim Pawlenty, it is not enough to help others move ahead of the pack.  Furthermore; Obama’s Massachusetts healthcare plan has nothing to do with Perry’s own precipitous drop in the polls.  On the flip-side, it is not likely to be the cause of an equal precipitous rise in the polls for Perry.

Going negative this early is a sign of desperation.  Perry’s slipping popularity apparently has him trying to find a rung on the ladder that he can grab on to and lift himself up.  But this approach to focus on Mitt Romney.  Besides, at the moment, Perry has to go through Ron Paul and Herman Cain before he can realistically challenge Romney.

In the meantime, Mitt Romney is essentially running a general election type of campaign and building his own candidacy up without having to tear down anyone elses candidacy.  All that the new Perry attack ad does is show that while Romney is gaining ground, Rick Perry is trying hard to compensate for ground he lost.  This is not the way for him to do that.  And by the way, despite all his opposition to “ObamneyCare”, who did Tim Pawlenty endorse for President?  It wasn’t Rick Perry.

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New Poll Shows Perry Has Lots of Work To Do

Bookmark and Share    A new poll of New Hampshire Republicans by Suffolk University has begun to raise doubt about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s electability outside of the South. According to the poll, Romney leads Perry by 33 points. Even more depressing for the Perry camp is that not only is the gap between him and Romney so wide, but he also trails behind Texas Congressman Ron Paul and even former Ambassador and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. According to the results, Romney takes 41 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul garners 14 percent. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman finishes third with 10 percent, followed by Perry with eight percent, Sarah Palin who is not even an official candidate at 6%; Michele Bachmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer at or around 1%.

Perry’s fourth place showing in New Hampshire according to one poll which is not among any of the four that are typically used to gauge how a candidate is doing, is certainly not a sign that things are over for Perry, not even in New Hampshire. But it does suggest that Perry has a lot of work to do outside of the delegate rich South.

Between January and April 24th of 2012, 351 delegates are up for grabs from within the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states alone. In that same time period, Midwest and upper-Midwest states will have 238 delegates in play. This means that unless Perry locks up the nomination with substantial early wins in at least South Carolina and Florida, followed by substantial victories in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota which are scheduled to hold their contests on the same day in February, than Mitt Romney can assure Rick Perry a long and drawn out battle that Romney could easily win.

Currently, while Perry’s strength lies in the South, Southwest and possibly even places like Iowa, Romney has a leg up on Perry in the Northeast, upper Midwest and West. For Mitt, states, like Michigan, which he won in 2008, and Wisconsin and Minnesota are strong territory for him. In the Northeast, states like new York, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and others, make it the region that is strongest for him.

And then there is of course California, which is a winner-take-all contest that is closed to only registered Republicans. A win there in early February will earn the victor 172 delegates. That is equal to the number of delegates in play in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida combined.

What this means is that Rick Perry will need to quickly show some strength outside of Iowa and the South. New Hampshire would be the perfect place for him to do that. But asking Perry to win New Hampshire over Mitt Romney is like expecting Mitt Romney to defeat Rick Perry in Texas……..it ain’t gonna happen.

Still, coming in behind both Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman is embarrassing for a so-called frontrunner. So Perry is going to have to work at New Hampshire. Even though a Southern strategy that would have him win the early states of South Carolina and then Florida can work, being blown out in New Hampshire will not allow Mitt Romney to stay in the game and survive until the states favorable to him allocate their delegates. At the same time, it must be realized that the earlier we decide who the Republican nominee is, the better it will be for the Party.

Until we have a nominee, the contenders will be beating up on each other. A protracted nomination contest will therefore only help to weaken the nominee up for President Obama to beat on. But a contest that wraps up the nomination decisively and early will allow everyone to focus on beating up on President Obama. As such, having a frontrunner for the Republican nomination blown out in New Hampshire, does not help anyone…..accept for Mitt Romney. Therefore if Perry wants to have any chance of securing the nomination early on in the process, he is going to have to do better in New Hampshire and demonstrate to voters that he can get votes outside of the South.

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Perry Calls Obama “President Zero” and Romney Calls Perry “Governor Sub-Zero” in Response

Bookmark and Share    Ahead of Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Florida and the second debate appearance for Rick Perry, the Texas Governor has released a new a ad entitled “Rick Perry – Proven Leadership”[see ad below this post]. In it Governor Perry hammers President Obama on his economic record.

With depictions of barren land, boarded up homes, empty factories, and desolate scenes of decrepit urban ruin, Perry’s ad tags Obama as “President Zero”, a reference to his creating “zero“ jobs since he has been in office. But after the first half of the ad, a more optimistic tone is set with images of a happier, more pleasant America that include horses galloping through the surf , sun drenched cities, American flags, the statue of liberty, and happy factory workers shaking Perry’s hands. Perry’s point is driven home as you hear him describe the type of leadership that will lead to a thriving America as opposed to the ailing America that President Obama’s leadership has created.

The ad is somewhat reminiscent of the dramatic, quick cutting imagery, and shaky shots done at angles, with jagged audio cuts, and a booming motion picture-like soundtrack that became a staple of Tim Pawlenty’s web ads that he ran during his short-lived presidential campaign. And that is for good reason. It was produced by Lucas Baiano, a 23-year-old video prodigy who was once the director of visual media and film for The Republican Party.  Baino also did ads for the Republican Governors Association and in 2008 he  cut some spots for Hillary Clinton.

When Tim Pawlenty closed shop, Bainao was scooped up by Perry’s campaign earlier this month.

Lucas Baino

For his part, Mitt Romney, the man who is seen as Perry’s biggest rival (or vise versa depending on which side you’re on) issued a press release entitled “Governor Sub-Zero,”in response to Perry’s “President Zero”. In the release, Romney’s campaign alleges that that while the US economy produced zero net jobs in August, Texas produced even less. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul added

In his campaign’s latest video, Governor Perry criticizes President Obama for an economy that added zero jobs in August, yet Texas added even fewer and has over a million people unemployed,”

While Romney’s distortion is less accurate than the exaggerations of Perry’s ad, attacking Perry’s record right now is a political necessity. Perry’s three terms as Governor of Texas have outshined the accomplishments of Romney’s one term as Governor of Massachusetts. However, the better strategy for Romney might be to play Perry up as the career politician and himself up as a successful entrepreneur who understands how government works, or in most cases, doesn’t work. But in order for such a strategy to fly, Romney needs to exhibit anti-establishment positions and make bold proposals that don’t just tinker with out arcane tax code, but instead scrap it and do things like create a flat tax. In order for Romney.

Meanwhile, Perry’s ad effectively sets a tone and while it says more about President Obama than himself, it is a good indication that Perry’s campaign does know the issue that can get him votes.

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal Set to Endorse Rick Perry for President

Bookmark and Share   On a day that began with what seemed to be big news about Tim Pawlenty endorsing Mitt Romney for President, Texas Governor Rick Perryquickly moved to bury that story by allowing sources to leak the pending endorsement of him by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

Sources state that the announcement will be made before this evenings TEA Party/CNN Republican presidential debate in Florida. The same sources state that Jindal will be attending the debate as a guest of Governor Perry.

The news quickly stepped allover Tim Pawlenty’s  endorsement of Mitt Romney. Romney had been getting some mileage out of having a formal rival for the nomination who was a popular Governor, suddenly throw his support behind him. But the news that Jindal, a popular incumbent Governor was throwing his considerable clout behind Perry quickly changed the story of the day. But beyond today, Jindal’s endorsement will still have much more weight than does Pawlenty’s.

While Pawlenty dropped out of the Republican presidential nomination contest because of a lack of popular support, Bobby Jindal turned down a run for President that did have popular support. Instead, Jindal is seeking reelection to his second term as Governor of Louisiana. More important still is the fact that as a sitting Governor, Jindal has the influence and control over the state Party apparatus that can help sway the outcome of a statewide Republican primary. This is especially the case when it comes to the all important Get Out the Vote Operation.

Jindal’s endorsement also could be a signal of a solid South that lines up behind Perry.

While Pawlenty’s endorsement of Romney does little for any regional strength to the Romney camp, Jindal’s endorsement of Perry has a great deal of influence in the South. Particularly with neighboring states such as Mississippi and Arkansas. It will even have a positive effect on the all important nearby state of Florida.

The Jindal endorsement should not come as a surprise. In the past, the Louisiana Governor has had nothing but praise for his neighboring Governor. Jindal has particularly commended him for always being a friend for Louisiana to count on during the slew of natural disasters that Louisianans has had to deal with. The real surprise would have been if Bobby Jindal didn’t endorse Perry. But as with al things, timing is critical and in this case, Perry’s timing was impeccable.

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Can Perry Win by Describing Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme? Ron Johnson Did? What Do You Think? Take the White House 2012 Poll

Since last week’s G.O.P. presidentia debatem the first one which Texas Governor Rick perry participated in, there has been

consternation about his calling Social Security as a “Ponzi Scheme”. The description even compelled Mitt Romney to declare victory in the debate and to suggest that Parry all but lost the presidential nomination.

The truth though is that an important part of Perry’s Ponzi Scheme description seems to be constantly left out by his critics. That part is where Rick Perry states that is a Ponzi Scheme for future generations. On that he is right. Furthermore; Perry points out that his desire to reform Social Security does not change it for those who are already being funded and for whom the funds exists. The same goes for those who expect to be on it in the relatively near future. His changes are directed for future generations for which the money will not be there to fund under the current system.

Nonetheless, the truth Perry speaks about the “future” of Social Security has been controversial. Fir that reason, this week, White House 2012 asks readers if it is possible for Governor Perry to win the nomination with his opinion of Social Security. To participate in the poll click here or just vote in the poll question box in the top portion of the column to the right of this blog.

As to the question itself, whether Perry’s view of Social Security is risky or not, it should be understood that despite the issue being a political third rail that the left electrifies with propaganda designed to scare senior citizens, it is possible to address the issue of Social Security reform in a campaign and still get elected.

In the recent 2010 midterm elections, underdog Republican businessman Ron Johnson successfully defeated once heavily favored liberal Senator Russ Feingold.

After a hard fought campaign in which the issue of Social Security was often raised, Johnson and the left once again tried to use their Social security scare tactics. Johnson, who like Rick Perry had once referred to Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme, put out the following ad.

Ron Johnson a, is now Senator Johnson and Russ Feingold is now a shocked and angry former Senator.

So don’t write off Rick Perry.  If he plays his cards right and deals with the issue of Social Security reform properly, his Ponzi Scheme definition could help him.

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