Is Rick Perry surging again?

As regular readers know, I’m supporting Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) for President. He’s smart, and he’s experienced, and he has led the state with the best economic and job creation record in the nation. He’s an economic conservative who can appeal to the TEA Party faction, and a social conservative who can appeal to the religious right.

Now, Governor Perry isn’t perfect, but, then again, no one is. I disagree with Governor Perry on a couple of issues — capital punishment would be the most obvious example — but there isn’t a candidate in the race with whom I would agree 100%, on every issue.

When he got into the race, Governor Perry was immediately anointed as the conservative alternative to former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA), and he drew a lot of money, fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the Governor’s early debate performances weren’t exactly sterling ones, and he started to drop in the Republican polls.

But it seems that Mr Perry has picked it up a notch on the debate circuit. From The Washington Post:

Republican debate: What we learned in Las Vegas

Posted by at 11:17 AM ET, 10/19/2011

In an attempt to stave off debate withdrawal — there won’t be another one until, gasp, November 9 — we spent the morning sifting through last night’s rock ‘em, sock ‘em affair in Las Vegas in search of lessons learned.

* Mitt and Rick, not BFF: Before last night’s debate, most of the skirmishing between the former Massachusetts governor and the Texas governor was at the staff level. No longer. Perry repeatedly got into Romney’s face and Romney repeatedly took umbrage.

Perry’s attack on Romney employing illegal immigrant lawn service workers was decidedly personal and aggressive, and, for the first time in these debates, Romney got visibly angry. The extended “let me finish, no let me talk” exchange over immigration rapidly escalated to the point where it was very uncomfortable (and yet strangely alluring) to watch.

The ill will between the men seems to set the stage for a very nasty next few months as the two best-funded candidates in the race (not to mention their super PACs) will soon take to the television airwaves to continue the argument begun last night.

* Perry — not dead yet : Perry’s performance was somewhat uneven — he was terrific in the earlier part of the debate and less so as it wore on — but overall it was by far his best showing. Perry actually seemed like he wanted to be there; he was energetic and feisty.

We’ve written before that Republican primary voters want to nominate a fighter, someone they believe can take the fight to President Obama on all fronts. Last night, Perry was that guy.

Much more at the link.

Debates are really no way to measure a presidential contender. We expect our President to take thoughtful decisions, with all of the information and advice he could ever want immediately available to him, usually in a calm and somewhat drawn out manner; debates put a premium on having memorized a lot of information at the level you could use in a debate setting, and take decisions immediately, without any help from advisors, hopefully in a way that zings your opponent(s), and do it all without breaking a sweat. Debates are really the antithesis of Presidential decision-taking, but that really doesn’t matter: they have gained cachet as a good way for the public to measure the candidates, and that seems very unlikely to change. If he expects to win, Governor Perry will have to become a good debater.

So, I’m pretty pleased to see that he was able to improve on his previous performances. But there’s even better news concerning Governor Perry, at least as far as I am concerned:

Rick Perry to announce flat tax as part of economic plan

By , Published: October 19

LAS VEGAS—The day after a combative debate performance that Rick Perry hopes will put new energy into his lethargic presidential campaign, the Texas governor offered up the outline of something else that has been missing thus far: a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate the economy.

In an arm-waving speech before the Western Republican Leadership Conference here, Perry previewed the broad outline of a plan that he said he will present in six days. Among its features, he promised, will be spending cuts, entitlement reform, and a flat tax.

“I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time,” Perry said, a reference to the embarrassment that complicated the Obama treasury secretary’s confirmation in 2009.

In his appearance before about 200 GOP activists in a showroom at the Venetian hotel and casino, Perry kept most of his criticism trained on President Obama, whose “Keynesian politics will hopefully never, ever be tried again,” he said. “We can’t grow the bureaucracy in order to grow the economy.”

Regular readers already know that I have supported a flat tax proposal, in an article that was so well-reasoned and well-written it didn’t draw any criticism at all. :) That’s a rarity on CSPT! I don’t know the details of the proposal Governor Perry will make — there have been several flat tax proposals made over the past two decades, and they all had some differences — so I can’t comment on any of the particular aspects of it, but the basic idea is right. The plan is to be made public next week.

Governor Perry is the opponent the Democrats fear the most. He’s not as scintillating a speaker as Herman Cain, and he’s not as smooth as Mitt Romney, but he’s the Republican candidate who not only has the best record of success as a Governor, but who will also bring the conservative base out to vote far better than the more moderate Mr Romney, which will help the GOP immensely down the ticket.

24 Comments

  1. I agree, as much emphasis is put on debates, they really shouldn’t hold that much importance. They bring too much attention to whether the debater is smooth, and less on their substance. As we should all remember, Obama was, and is, a smooth speaker. If less attention had been paid to that and more to his substance, perhaps he wouldn’t have won the nomination, much less the Presidency….and we wouldn’t be in the current crisis we are,

    I didn’t watch or listen to the last debates, largely because I couldn’t, but I don’t know that I would have anyway. I caught up on bits and pieces, but I can also focus on the candidate themselves in settings in which they can discuss and expand on their position and plans.

    I find Perry less authoritarian and more thoughtful. He has his beliefs and he really hasn’t wavered from the core, but he is willing to consider alternative views, and will admit when he’s made a wrong move. Something I don’t see Romney or some of the others doing—ever. In my opinion, he’s still a very viable candidate. Quite frankly, Iowa and New Hampshire don’t set the standard as far as I’m considered. I consider neither one as having a higher bar or dibs on Presidential consideration.

  2. “I agree, as much emphasis is put on debates, they really shouldn’t hold that much importance.”

    I disagree, KLD. The debates, I’ve seen them all, make quite an obvious distinction between these candidates. Romney has demonstrated his knowledge and preparation, whereas Perry has demonstrated the opposite. Bachmann, certainly everyone now knows that she is not qualified. And Cain, though a winning personality, has shown that he has not thought out his positions very well. Newt, is both knowledgeable and a good debater, but his lack of integrity is a serious detraction. With Santorum and Paul, it is the same old same old. Which leaves Jon Huntsman, who did not participate in the last debate, who is the most articulate and best qualified candidate in the race. Let us see how he does in New Hampshire.

  3. Perry, we can already see your tactic: talk up the two least conservative Republican candidates, because either one of them, if nominated, would discourage some of the conservative base, causing some to stay at home, and maybe save the day for down-ticket Democratic candidates.

  4. I love when small-government conservatives who oppose the death penalty on religious grounds manage to turn enough somersaults that they can define supporting a guy who, under cloak of the state, oversees the execution of prisoners whose innocence is known as “a disagreement.” I look forward to Dana supporting a Republican candidate who personally performs a few abortions every day but is otherwise a swell guy because he believes in tax cuts.

  5. Pretty funny cbmc! Anyway:

    “Perry, we can already see your tactic: talk up the two least conservative Republican candidates, because either one of them, if nominated, would discourage some of the conservative base, causing some to stay at home, and maybe save the day for down-ticket Democratic candidates.”

    Hardly a tactic, Dana, just an expression of my opinion. Basically, should the Repubs win, I would like to see someone who has the ability to actually govern. Romney and Huntsman are the only two who fit that criterion, in my view.

    And speaking of tactics, what could Charles Krauthammer possibly have had in mind to have written this about Rick Perry in his most recent column?:

    “However, the principal drama was provided by Perry. His aggressive performance brought him back into the game, especially because he now has a few weeks before the next debate to deploy his major assets: a talent for retail politics and a ton of money.

    But the price of reentry was high. His awakening wasn’t very pretty. He showed he can draw blood, but it was a nasty schoolyard punch-up. In primary races, personal attacks often have the effect of diminishing both candidates. This happened in 2004 in Iowa when Democratic front-runners Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean savaged each other, allowing John Kerry and John Edwards to sneak past them.

    Nonetheless, because of his considerable resources, Perry, by merely stirring himself, is back. But he hasn’t solved his problem. It’s not just that, as he readily admits, he’s not very good at debating, although that in itself is a huge liability. It wasn’t before 1960. It is now. And based on Perry’s first five performances, Barack Obama would eat him alive in a one-on-one.

    But apart from the importance of debating itself, Perry’s often clueless responses betray an even deeper problem: He simply hasn’t thought through the issues on a national scale. He is still Texas. And Texas simply isn’t enough. That was most glaringly evident during the Dartmouth debate when, in response to questions about China and then about health care, Perry sought immediate refuge by talking instead about his energy plan. Interesting, but unrelated.”

    Governor Perry is hardly ready to take the big step, to the point where it is pure hubris and ego that keeps him going. He should be self-honest and honorable enough to drop out of the race.

    As Krauthammer goes on to say, Conservatives “await the coalescence of anti-Romney sentiment around one challenger”. Problem is, there isn’t one around which to coalesce!

    So no, contrary to your wish, Rick Perry is not surging again!

  6. Governor Perry is hardly ready to take the big step, to the point where it is pure hubris and ego that keeps him going. He should be self-honest and honorable enough to drop out of the race.

    Sounds like a certain Illinois senator from 3-4 years ago, that’s for sure …

  7. cbmc tries the old Democratic lie:

    I love when small-government conservatives who oppose the death penalty on religious grounds manage to turn enough somersaults that they can define supporting a guy who, under cloak of the state, oversees the execution of prisoners whose innocence is known as “a disagreement.” I look forward to Dana supporting a Republican candidate who personally performs a few abortions every day but is otherwise a swell guy because he believes in tax cuts.

    The Governor of Texas does not oversee executions; he has no authority in the area. He cannot grant any pardons without the prior recommendations of the state Board of Pardons and Parole, and death warrants in texas are signed by the appropriate judge, not the Governor.

    Mr Willingham’s case went through the courts, went through numerous appeals, and, at the end, neither the Texas supreme court for criminal appeals nor the Board of Pardons and Parole nor the federal courts saw sufficient evidence to stop the execution.

    Every last one of the Republican candidates supports capital punishment, so there’s really no difference there. President Obama also supports capital punishment, so he’s not an option. There’s nowhere for me to go, other than throwing away my vote for a minor candidate, which would enable me to support a candidate who opposes capital punishment.

  8. Perry wrote:

    Governor Perry is hardly ready to take the big step, to the point where it is pure hubris and ego that keeps him going. He should be self-honest and honorable enough to drop out of the race.

    Translation: Once again, our Perry wants a candidate who would more probably energize conservatives and get them to come out to vote to drop out, while he pushes those candidates who would do the opposite.

    Perry, if your concern is “someone who has the ability to actually govern,” you would stop supporting President Obama, who has proved that he does not.

  9. “Perry, if your concern is “someone who has the ability to actually govern,” you would stop supporting President Obama, who has proved that he does not.”

    Actually, I will be voting for a candidate who has demonstrated that he can govern in the midst of an inherited great recession, two ongoing costly wars, and an opposition party who would rather work to kick him out of office rather than to help create jobs and improve our economy. And those are all solid facts with which we can all agree, except for the vote choice!

  10. And those are all solid facts

    There are two lies, as Dana has repeatedly pointed out.

    with which we can all agree

    That is a third lie, which every Conservative and Libertarian on this site has repeatedly pointed out.

  11. Perry wrote:

    Actually, I will be voting for a candidate who has demonstrated that he can govern in the midst of an inherited great recession, two ongoing costly wars, and an opposition party who would rather work to kick him out of office rather than to help create jobs and improve our economy

    Oh, so you did vote for President Bush in 2004! :)

    However, what you wrote certainly doesn’t seem true of President Obama. The unemployment rate is higher than when he took office, GDP growth is just barely above flat, and now we see that the official inflation rate is now 3.9%. By the measures that most people will use in deciding their votes, President Obama has been a failure.

  12. “However, what you wrote certainly doesn’t seem true of President Obama. The unemployment rate is higher than when he took office, GDP growth is just barely above flat, and now we see that the official inflation rate is now 3.9%. By the measures that most people will use in deciding their votes, President Obama has been a failure.”

    The facts are that President Obama reduced the unemployment rate by 10%, actually 20% in DE, and increased the GDP from contraction to growth. Reasonable people would not call that a failure.

  13. The facts are that President Obama reduced the unemployment rate by 10%, actually 20% in DE, and increased the GDP from contraction to growth. Reasonable people would not call that a failure.

    Citation please!!

  14. So, the unemployment rate rises during President Obama’s term, from less than 8% to 10.1%, then falls to 9.1%, and thus Perry claims that President Obama “reduced the unemployment rate by 10%.” :) And if the unemployment rate is 8.1% 13½ months from now, which would still be higher than it was when he took office, Perry will claim that President Obama “reduced the unemployment rate by 20%.”

    Now I see how that works! :)

  15. Here is how it really works: Governor/Candidate Perry doesn’t want you to know this:

    “Texas employment has grown 11.3 percent since Perry took office, but the private sector grew by 10 percent. The difference came from 17.6 percent growth in government jobs.

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/23/128049/texas-public-sector-jobs-may-fuel.html#ixzz1bimZ8l9b

    It’s kind of like Romney who doesn’t want to hire illegal immigrants to cut his lawn, because he is running for POTUS, you know!

    Among Republicans, hypocrisy abounds!!!

  16. It’s kind of like Romney who doesn’t want to hire illegal immigrants to cut his lawn, because he is running for POTUS, you know!

    Why’s that matter? You “progressives” should applaud Romney for hiring a key voting constituency of yours!

  17. Perry wrote:

    Here is how it really works: Governor/Candidate Perry doesn’t want you to know this:

    “Texas employment has grown 11.3 percent since Perry took office, but the private sector grew by 10 percent. The difference came from 17.6 percent growth in government jobs.

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/10/23/128049/texas-public-sector-jobs-may-fuel.html#ixzz1bimZ8l9b

    It’s kind of like Romney who doesn’t want to hire illegal immigrants to cut his lawn, because he is running for POTUS, you know!

    What a problem our friends on the left have: they have to make excuses for their President’s failures, telling us how their failures just aren’t so, and concomitantly tell us how the Republican candidates’ successes aren’t really successes at all, but failures.

    Really successful people don’t have to explain their records; their successes are simple, and obvious. Failures, on the other hand, try very hard to explain away their failures, but, being failures, they aren’t very often successful at it.

    The public really have very little patience for excuses.

  18. Really successful people don’t have to explain their records; their successes are simple, and obvious

    Tell us again about how the invasion of Iraq was totally worth it…

  19. It’s simple: Saddam Hussein is stone-cold graveyard dead and the Iraqis are free.

    Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps

    What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera. There are police-issue handcuffs still attached to one wrist, from which he was hanged long enough to cause his hands and wrists to swell. There are burn marks on his chest, as if someone has placed something very hot near his right nipple and moved it around.

    A little lower are a series of horizontal welts, wrapping around his body and breaking the skin as they turn around his chest, as if he had been beaten with something flexible, perhaps a cable. There are other injuries: a broken nose and smaller wounds that look like cigarette burns.

    An arm appears to have been broken and one of the higher vertebrae is pushed inwards. There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee. At some stage an-Ni’ami seems to have been efficiently knee-capped. It was not done with a gun – the exit wounds are identical in size to the entry wounds, which would not happen with a bullet. Instead it appears to have been done with something like a drill.

    What actually killed him however were the bullets fired into his chest at close range, probably by someone standing over him as he lay on the ground. The last two hit him in the head.

    The gruesome detail is important. Hanging by the arms in cuffs, scorching of the body with something like an iron and knee-capping are claimed to be increasingly prevalent in the new Iraq. Now evidence is emerging that appears to substantiate those claims. Not only Iraqis make the allegations. International officials describe the methods in disgusted but hushed tones, laying them at the door of the increasingly unaccountable forces attached to Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior.

    Only a w1ngnut could describe a regime that tortures people to death as “freedom”.

  20. cbmc says:
    4 November 2011 at 14:46 (Edit)

    you guys ready to bite the bullet & vote Romney yet? ’cause he’s who you’re gonna get.

    Do you mean the Republican version of Dukakis, no.

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