September 15, 2011

Is Perry just a flavor of the week?

Remember that time when Donald Trump jumped into the GOP race as a slick promo for his TV show?  Remember how he was instantly catapulted into the top tier by his mere entry into the race.  This despite the fact that he seemed to have studied an executive summary on conservative positions written by someone at the DailyKos?  He remained at the top for a while until it became apparent that he understood the nuances and underpinnings of conservatism with the same precision as a rubber mallet being used to thread a needle.  Donald Trump was a flash in the pan, a flavor of the week (or perhaps month).  Ultimately he flamed out.  But he did seem like an appealing alternative to Romney there for a while.

With all of her groundwork in Iowa, her win in the straw poll, and her good showing at the first debate, Michele Bachmann took her turn as the not-Romney candidate.  She surged towards the top tier.  But then Perry got in the race and she too started to fade.

Could Rick Perry be the next flavor of the week?  He got hit a little harder at the last debate from all sides.  He's soft on immigration and he's got that mandatory vaccination, big government albatross around his neck.  While he's clearly moved well right since, there's that nagging endorsement of Al Gore back in 1988.  If it were someone like Zell Miller perhaps it wouldn't weigh so heavily in the back of some minds.  So there's room to wonder.  I'm not convinced this has already boiled down to a two person race.

Of course if Palin were to still jump in she might well be the next flavor of the week.  This rotating flavor of the week plays right into Mitt Romney's hands.  Mitt is playing the slow and steady wins the race game.  As people surge near or past him and then flame out, they attract the attention and he cruises along fairly unnoticed the whole time.  True, he's tacked rightward this cycle and is saying all the right conservative things, but how believable is that?  McCain tacked right in 2010 to win his primary.  Does anyone really think he's any more conservative than he was in 2008 or 2000?  If you don't believe McCain has shifted than can you believe Romney, outside of really, really wanting to believe?

Mitt Romney, RINO argument aside, just seems like an inauthentic but slightly enthusiastic car salesman.  I'm still getting that same vibe from Perry.  Maybe I'm wrong on both as far as style goes .  But on style, I'd rather have a Herman Cain president than a Powerpoint CEO president.  Enthusiasm trumps style in that role hands down.  The problem is, that's not true of the election cycle.  The other problem is that the two top tier candidates do have pretty solid resumes and have the electable factor working in their favors compared to all the other candidates.  And of the two, Perry seems to be the more solid conservative and preferred nominee.  A lot can happen over the next year - new entrants, new revelations, new events and reactions to them.  I guess the best way to sum it up is to say that I'm not completely sold on any candidate yet - declared or otherwise - and I think at this point in the game,  that's a healthy place to be.

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