Well, it’s official. Rick Perry’s a pretty awful debater. Maybe. I think he’s trying the “Texas Nice” approach and it’s coming off like he’s a buffoon. Either that or he’s just not great at thinking on his feet. But Perry should take comfort in the conclusion that he’s the only high-firepower candidate with a proven track record, and that says a lot. His big advantage is that his competition is an eclectic mix of personalities, none of whom smack Tea Party Hero.
I think one reason people are giving up on Perry is that he hasn’t been the guy to land blows on Mitt. Between the debate moderation and Mitt’s ability to talk for long periods without saying anything, and Perry using “Texas nice” to hit Romney with questions, really hasn’t had the desired impact from the audience. His ads, however, are really cutting into Romney’s health care support, which is smart. It’s Romney’s biggest weakness, and debate viewers want that red meat.
Mitt is the easiest to dismantle. He’s been having his cake and eating it too with the Massachusetts Health Care plan. Mitt says he’s quite proud of his plan, and he’d do it again if he was governor again. But it looks as though the people in charge of the Massachusetts health care law had helped the Obama team and the Democrats with Obamacare. Given the outrage Obamacare ignited in 2010, it’s no surprise Mitt’s coy on the issue. But several debates have come and gone and none of the moderators have really challenged him on the centerpiece of his governorship. Additionally, his 59-point Economic Plan is complicated, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. In fact, he hit Perry on scaring senior citizens but he has plans to reform Social Security in his own plan. Knowing Romney, that’s not unexpected.
Cain is the biggest enigma, but his weakness is his greatest strength. His 9/9/9 plan has a huge flaw in its 9% National Sales Tax. Cain’s also made several errors, such as stating Greenspan would be the best head of the Fed in the debate last night. However, none of the errors have been monumental. Cain has a real shot, and he’s certainly behaved like a seasoned candidate.
Ron Paul has actually made a pretty good game of it this election, but his isolationist foreign policy stances are enough to alienate most people.
Newt Gingrich is preforming well, but he brings with him a large amount of baggage, such as divorces, infidelity, and posing with Nancy Pelosi in an infamous pro-AGW spot. It’s unfortunate because Newt’s forgotten more about American Government than all the knowledge the other candidates have of it.
Rick Santorum has never made much of splash. He keeps talking about his experience, but unfortunately, he’s not had much experience beyond the Senate. His policies have never gained much traction with people, and he doesn’t have much TEA party cred. Why hasn’t Santorum taken Pawlenty’s lead and dropped out?
Huntsman. The Orange RINO. There’s still some people who believe that Obama will drop Biden and select Huntsman to generate a Bipartisan ticket. That should tell you just how much Republicans believe in Huntsman. But for someone with 1% of the vote, he gets a lot of Media attention. Which is strange, because the other ex-governor, Gary Johnson, polls the same but doesn’t even get invited to debates.
Bachmann. Michelle Bachmann certainly has a lot of TEA Party credibility, forming the TEA Party caucus in the House. But she doesn’t have much in the way of accomplishments. Also, her attacks on Perry on Gardisil turned into an anti-vaccine pogrom. Perry’s entrance also sucked off a lot of her support, and she’s unlikely to get it back.
When you take all of these candidates in hand, Perry still looks good. Right now, he needs to not collapse completely at the next debate and press the video campaign. Most importantly, he needs a message. He needs a plan that’s more than “Texas”. His ad campaign has already launched some effective broadsides against Romney, but he needs to get Romney rattled in a debate that’s actually viewed by people (sorry, Bloomberg!). And he really needs to ride the anti-Obamacare issue.
In essence, Perry has a good shot at winning this thing, and as Bachmann fades and more people get turned off by Romney, he’ll have the opportunity to do well. But he needs to successfully confront and battle Cain to get some of his support back. And an endorsement from Palin would go a long ways in the Primary.