On Twitter after the debate last night, there were a lot of people defending Rick Perry because he forgot his third department that he would abolish. I understand supporting your guy. I understand deflecting the problem by pointing out a bunch of Obama flubs in 2008. I understand that it doesn't disqualify his ideas. But I don't understand running down Cain on the allegations he faces as a way of deflecting criticism or just doing tit-for-tat.
What's worse, I don't understand how those who defend Rick Perry think that a bad debate performance doesn't matter.
It clearly does. Losing a debate in the primaries is one thing, but an absolute brain cramp against Obama in a debate is not something a GOP candidate can recover from. Consider;
- A lot of people won't pay attention to the race until the late 2012 debates. They will in large part decide on those debates.
- If they don't decide on the debates, they'll decide on the media reporting of the debates. Conservatives know what media spin will be before it happens. An Obama flub will be minor, a GOP flub is gotcha material. The press will once again be fully Obama-compliant.
- The 2012 election will be closer than conservatives like to think. The swing states are still the same and the math makes an Obama win quite possible.
- Obama will have a dollar advantage.
- There is therefore no room for error on the debate front.
- The GOP needs a candidate who can run circles around Obama in the debates and make him look silly. Winning the debates against Obama isn't enough, he has to be beaten badly in order to move the voter dial.
- Given that need, Perry is just not ready to face Obama in a debate.
Imagine a Perry flub like the one last night in an Obama debate? It would be game over GOP. That means 4 more years of liberal policy. It means at least two more liberal judicial appointments to the Supreme Court, it means far more debt, it means the entrenchment of Obamacare. It is just not the time to let Obama win.
I don't believe Perry is the guy who can beat Obama. That is not to say he could not govern effectively. Perry might make a great president. I can see him being very effective. But that doesn't matter if he can't win.