The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Perry Boomlet Already Fading?

Posted on | September 21, 2011 | 53 Comments

In a comment on my own post Aug. 9, I wrote:

There have been a few little things . . . that lead me to think Perry is a lot less certain ultimately to win the nomination than some people seem to think. What I fear will happen is that Perry will spend several months sucking up media oxygen and burning through GOP donor cash, only to collapse early next year. This will have the effect of suffocating other conservative candidates, and thereby lead to … Romney 2012.

And now we learn that, after Rick Perry’s first two debates, polls show his early popularity waning:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary voters shows Perry with 28% support and Romney capturing 24%. Before Perry entered his first debate, the Texan held an eleven point advantage over Romney, 29% to 18%.

That’s a seven-point shift in Romney’s favor in the span of five weeks, and I know: It’s just one poll and it’s still early. But six of the first eight polls taken after Rick Perry’s Aug. 13 announcement showed Perry with a double-digit lead over Romney, whereas the past five polls show Romney within single digits. If Perry doesn’t shine in tomorrow night’s debate . . .

Well, don’t say you weren’t warned. And if Perry can’t go the distance as the “Anybody But Romney” candidate, what then?

What will the bandwagon jumpers do, if the bandwagon on which they’ve jumped ends up in the ditch? I sincerely wish conservatives would take a second (or perhaps third) look at Herman Cain, who keeps chugging along. I also feel that more attention is due for Rick Santorum, whose fourth-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll would have been heralded as a newsworthy miracle, but was overshadowed by Perry’s entrance into the 2012 field and Tim Pawlenty’s exit the next day.

Whenever I mention Cain or Santorum, the response is always the same circular “can’t win” arguments, but if Perry can’t put Romney away, why not take a chance on a long shot? Because I think whoever gets the GOP nomination is going to get a huge boost next summer in Tampa when the Republican ticket becomes “[BLANK]-RUBIO.” With Marco Rubio as a running mate, I’d say any Republican would be at least an even bet against Obama.

And now it’s time to take notice of another fact: Last night on Sean Hannity’s show, Sarah Palin — having previously specified September as the deadline for her to enter the 2012 field — appeared to extend her timeline to November. That alone is enough to make all the pundits groan at the prospect of another two months of will-she-or-won’t-she drama, but what do you make of this?

“This is going to be such an unconventional election cycle. … Mark my word, it is going to be an unconventional type of election process.”

Is Palin hinting at a possible third-party campaign? I strongly doubt it, but neither would I rule it out, and I’m also thinking about the possibility that the changes to the delegate apportionment rules — no “winner-take-all” primaries in March — could lead to a brokered convention at Tampa. Whatever the tea-leaf readers see in Palin’s comments, I think she’s absolutely right: 2012 has already been an unconventional election cycle, and people should be skeptical about bandwagon organizers who think they can predict events many months in advance.

UPDATE: On Twitter, Jerry Wilson reacted to this story by saying “@AceOfSpadesHQ hardest hit,” which is perhaps a bit unfair. Yes, Ace jumped on the Perry bandwagon, but he’s honest enough to admit: “The Perry erosion I believe a little more — it’s been a not-terrific two weeks for him.”

Ace keeps bashing Bachmann over the Gardasil thing (and more) as if destroying Bachmann will help Perry, which I think is mistaken. Perhaps this is the best place to point out something I think has been under-appreciated: Bachmann’s claims last week about Gardasil have exposed her to much criticism, but she had less to lose than Perry did.

Bachmann’s highest national poll rating — by Rasmussen, in the immediate wake of Bachmann’s strong performance in the June debate in New Hampshire — was 19 percent. Her highest RCP average was 14% on July 20, and as soon as Perry got in, Bachmann’s support dropped rapidly, so that her current RCP number is 7.7 percent. And here’s the lead of my American Spectator column last week about the Tampa debate:

Rick Perry came into last night’s debate here with a target on his back, leading in the polls only a month after his late entry into the Republican presidential campaign. His fellow GOP candidates fired at the Texas governor all night, but it wasn’t until Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said the phrase “innocent little 12-year-old girls” that he suffered any serious wound. . . .

Without regard to whether Bachmann helped herself, she hurt Perry with that phrase. It hurt him with the Traditionalist Mom (and Grandma) Vote, who are an important segment of GOP primary voters. You can say Bachmann hurt Perry unfairly, and suffered damage herself as a consequence, but you cannot deny that she hurt him. So if Ace wants to get some payback on Bachmann, that’s his choice, but I don’t think hurting Bachmann will help Perry.


53 Responses to “Perry Boomlet Already Fading?”

  1. JD777
    September 22nd, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    I like Rick Perry. He is a good Governor of Texas. I have seen video of Rick Perry where I said to myself goddamn there is a natural born politician the like of which you don’t see too often.

    But does the Republican Party really want to nominate a go along get along pay for play politician now? The Democrat Party is almost going down for the count, but if the GOP repeats the K Street Project, crony capitalist, porkfest once again the Dems will get get up off the dirt and gain a new life so fast it will take your breath away.

  2. The Underground Conservative
    September 23rd, 2011 @ 6:21 am

    Jon Huntsman is a RINO’s RINO. As El Rushbo said, if Huntsman were a Democrat, he’d be primaried by Ned Lamont. And Mitch Daniels can to go hell (along with Maxine Waters) for telling conservatives they had to sit in the back of the bus in 2012. Them’s RINO fighting words.

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    September 23rd, 2011 @ 8:51 am

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