Skip to comments.Getting close to game time
Posted on 09/04/2011 2:43:00 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
It's political preseason. Early predictions about performance, issues, swing votes, turnouts, independents, debates, states-in-play, etc., must be tempered by the political equivalent of "injuries" -- such as gaffes or scandals -- and "sleepers emerging." Wasn't President Barack Obama a sleeper just four years ago?
So any presidential punditry between now and the end of this year must be placed somewhere between fantasy league and fan forum status, with some experienced handicapping thrown in.
Still, certain trends, like training-camp patterns, are emerging with such strength that they need to be noted. The clearest such "preseason surprise" is the emergence of Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. He has seized a double-digit lead in national GOP primary polls after being in the race for only a couple of weeks.
Perry's lead doesn't appear to be a "third-string phantom" -- a great performance by a third-stringer in the fourth quarter against other third-stringers, none of whom has a chance to make the team. We've seen such performances in presidential primaries past, when an unexpected candidate will win a state's primary, be touted for a week, then in next primary fall hard into the also-rans.
Rather, Perry's strength seems solid and based on measurable, long-term reasons. A new Economist/YouGov poll is the third this preseason showing Perry leading the Republican presidential field. That's significant. Perry's support is not simply regional or based on large states like Texas. He's strong north of the Mason-Dixon and out West. A recent Gallup poll confirms this, and it also shows Perry leading.
What's happening? How did Perry vault over candidates who have been on the national scene longer, have more TV exposure and are apparently better organized? Two factors explain Perry's current strength, and the likelihood that he will remain a major player, if not win the nomination early: his positions and his opponents.
Perry has a strong conservative message. Appealing almost exclusively to the base is a tried-and-true Republican Party primary strategy. Richard Nixon famously said a candidate should run as far right as possible during the primaries and then rush back to the center for the general election. Only in Perry's case, it looks like he's not going anywhere. If I were handicapping the platforms, I'd say Perry's positions and speeches, if he gets the nomination, will barely move toward the center. I suspect the Republican base believes that as well, and that's a powerful part of his appeal.
Perry also has a very strong anti-Obama message: "I have executive experience coming in, which Obama didn't, and I can create jobs, which Obama hasn't." (How relevant the one and factual the other may not matter for the primaries.)
He also benefits from tacit tea party support. It's generally acknowledged, rightfully, that the tea party caucus controls the Republican Party. Michele Bachmann is its sentimental favorite. (Sarah Palin might have been her rival, but as of now she's not running.) But there are enough realists in the tea party camp to ask the fundamental question: Can she win the general election? So many are saying "no" that a candidate vacuum has been created. If not Bachmann, then who? Who has the consistent ultra-conservative credentials and national appeal?
His appearance has done much to expose Mitt Romney's inherent weakness as a candidate. It's a study in contrasts.
Of course, this doesn't mean Perry's already got the nomination locked. For one thing, the GOP establishment is uncomfortable with him. Some members of Team Bush, as has been well-documented, detest him. So the GOP may see yet another late entry.
Still, one thing remains clear: To survive the winter, Romney must attack Perry.
Although this is currently a typical training-camp fight for a roster spot, it does provide President Obama with a chance to observe and plan.
Realistically, as one of my colleagues stated, the president's window to pull himself and his team together is between now and December, for if the GOP race collapses and Perry gets anointed early, the general election might start as soon as early spring -- maybe in time for the Super Bowl. Geaux Saints!
-- Donna Brazile is a political commentator on CNN, ABC and NPR, and a contributing columnist to Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill.
I'm interested in reading comments on the content of this article vs opposition "drive-bys" from supporters of other candidates in the GOP primary.
I have doubts she's running but her supporters have defined her as a 2012 candidate just as Saturday Night Live had defined "I can see Russia from my house" as Sarah Palin's own words. Amazing that most Americans believe Palin actually said it. And I've been around long enough to know that in 2016 or 2020 Americans will also believe that Palin had run in 2012 and lost.
It's a shame because I really like Palin as a leader of the conservative movement and GOP but if those insisting that Palin is running even now at this moment, they will be responsible for her becoming the next Fred Thompson even though she never even announced she was running.
Sometimes your supporters can be your worst enemy.
It's a shame. I really like Palin as a leader in our movement.
Do you see a 3rd Party entry for anyone?
Donna Brazille’s memorable line back in 2000 - We can’t let the white guys win.
Yes. Brazille’s a doosey.
I don't. It could happen from "our side" I put that in quotes because I actually mean a Ron Paul type. But I hope not. Palin would not run 3rd party. Most on our side dislike Obama too much to risk him getting another 4 years of this.
We could have afforded the risk back in 92... the nation was not in the shape it's in now.
On the otherside, I see more of a chance for a 3rd party. I would not be surprised to see Dennis Kusinicz(sp) run as 3rd party. Someone on the left must think they have a good chance a beating Obama.
There's always the possibility for it to happen on either side. Let's hope it does not happen on ours. Let the liberal vote get split. :)
In retort, I find it telling that you find one of the lefts biggest blowhards interesting and regard contrarians to your flavor of the week as the enemy. Very telling.
Perry’s campaign “guru” Dave Carney.
................A lot of his skill has to do with his being able to take a wealth of information and break it down into simple terms, whether it’s polling data, history, resources, whatever, Wilbanks said. He helps his candidate speak the language that the American people understand.
The New Englander came back to Texas in 1997, when Austin-based GOP consultant Rove dropped his other clients, including a relatively obscure state agriculture commissioner named Perry, to concentrate on Gov. George W. Bush’s 1998 re-election effort and subsequent presidential campaign. Carney picked up Perry, and the two have been together ever since.
Carney and Rove found themselves at odds a year later, when Bush was breezing toward re-election, and Perry was in a tough lieutenant governor’s race with Democrat John Sharp, the state comptroller.
Carney insisted Perry go negative, despite Rove’s insistence that negative campaigning would depress voter turnout and undercut the Bush portrait he was crafting of a compassionate conservative.
Carney got his way and Perry won, barely, but the Carney-Rove working relationship didn’t. The estrangement has only gotten worse. Carney never endorsed Bush during the 2000 GOP primary and 10 years later dismissed Hutchison and her Bush-family supporters as country-club Republicans.
In the early days of Perry’s presidential campaign, Rove has been one of the governor’s most outspoken critics.
Years ago, former White House chief of staff Andrew Card good-naturedly described Carney as temperamental and a bit nuts, but those who know both Carney and Rove say Carney is more secure with himself than Rove.
Reporters find Carney terse and to the point, although he can flash a self-deprecating sense of humor and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge...........
I find your comment baffling.
Why is it impossible to discuss a column written by the Left.
Do you think they only right for us?
And btw, I never called anyone an “enemy” - why do you?
I was asking for comments on the article (anyone can comment about anyone) rather than “drive bys” which you can’t seem to resist.
You have illustrated my point.
I want discussion, but you want to attack.
Barack Obama has managed to accomplish one thing since he took office..he has dragged the Democrat party further to the left than anytime since the New Deal....that’s what Ms Brazile misses....the “right” that she disdains is now much closer to the political center of the nation..
She’s very careful to avoid commenting on Obama’s policies and his dropping support. Brazille likes the game of campaigning (and winning for the Left) and she’s suggesting that the Democrat Machine needs to start swinging hard at Perry.
I rest my case.
His group, NO LABELS, has put something on all the ballots where you write in your DREAM TEAM!!
You have no case, you have an agenda.
I thought we were on the same side.
My question was, "Will the UNIONS stop contributing?"
And I'll add, Will Soros stop contributing?
You led with a supposition, so tell me who has an agenda.
If we are to get the very best possible candidate not only to beat the current “Last Responder” but also to serve notice to the permanent political class, you cannot lead an arguement with suppositions. It is exactly what “they” want so to keep us at each others throats and not theirs.
Just like Officer Joe Friday would say; “Just the facts ma’am.”
No because the UNIONS’S money and the MEDIA’S LYING are what keeps DEMOCRATS in office.
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