As reported before the first debate, Gov. Rick Perry is a poor debater. Politico, Sept. 6:
“In 2006, most people agreed that he showed up prepared and did fine,” Bell told POLITICO. “Then you fast forward to the Republican primary debate in 2010, and most people thought that was a really poor performance. If that Rick Perry shows up, he could be in a lot of trouble and do a lot of damage to his campaign.”Prophetic words. I couldn't watch the debate last night but after reading analysis from Michelle Malkin (here and here) and Philip Klein ("Perry is blowing it") I'm a bit discouraged. Because if Rick Perry, my 70% solution, can't rise to the occasion, what we're left with is Mitt Romney. He may be a great family man and a very able businessman, but I can't believe he's a true conservative. I have trouble believing him, period.
His positions are tailored to whichever office he's currently running for. His horrible stance on abortion as a candidate for governor in 2002 -- "I don't accept either label, pro-life or pro-choice. Instead, I make it clear that I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose." (conveniently jettisoned when he ran for president last time) -- is a disqualifier for me. Toss in Romneycare (a sufficient disqualifier all by itself), his granny-scaring tactics on Social Security, his accusations that Perry is too conservative, and his general all-round RINO-ness, and he drops below 20%. Smooth debate performances can't change any of that.
Perry has his glaring negatives, too: charges of crony capitalism, his weak stand on illegal immigration (which he defends with lame, insulting rhetoric about "compassion" and "last names" taken directly from the left), and his disturbing mandate on Gardasil. But I have hopes that Perry possesses the three most important qualifications needed in the next president: He sees the extreme urgency of the mess we're in; he sincerely believes that monster government is the problem, not the solution; and he's willing to engage in the fight to beat it back.
Romney has never been a courageous politician. Philip Klein on that:
Some of Romney's many policy reversals have been overlooked in this campaign as old news, so I'll just provide a brief refresher. Romney ran for statewide office in the Massachusetts twice, in 1994 and 2002, as a pro-choice candidate, only to become publicly pro-life in 2005, just as he was gearing up to seek the GOP presidential nomination instead of seeking a second term as governor of the liberal state. During the 2008 campaign he attacked various opponents for being for gun control, amnesty and campaign finance reform. Yet at earlier points in his career, Romney supported the federal "assault weapons" ban (and signed a state ban as governor in 2004), called the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform "reasonable" and "quite different from amnesty" and supported campaign finance reform measures far more draconian than anything in McCain-Feingold. During this campaign, he's spent the last few weeks attacking his opponent Texas Gov. Rick Perry for criticizing Social Security too harshly, because he says it's politically damaging to do so.Read the whole thing.
Romney, in short, has displayed zero political courage during his career. He has held opposite positions on nearly every issue, with one obvious exception. He still hasn't disavowed the health care law he designed, campaigned for, and signed with a smiling Ted Kennedy at his side. And it happens to be the forerunner to Obamacare. There's no reason to believe as cautious and calculating of a figure as Mitt Romney would stake the crucial first months of his presidency getting into a bruising political battle to repeal a law, when he still clings to its underlying policy ideas.
And remember, New Deal era programs weren't firmly enshrined in this country by Democrats, but becuase Republicans, once in power, stopped making the case against them and their leader, President Eisenhower, did nothing to unravel them. Thus, the damage that a President Romney could do to the cause of limited government simply by inaction on Obamacare is incalculable.
Bluntness, obstinacy, and fearlessness can be political liabilities. They can make it hard to get elected. But they're assets our next president will need if he's going to swim against the tide of big government. Does anyone really see Mitt Romney as a man who will enthusiastically take on the status quo? He accuses Perry of being too radical. But we need a radical, in the sense of someone who's willing to deal with our problems at root level. Who is more likely to do that, Romney or Perry?
Many thanks to Michelle Malkin for the Buzzworthy link.
On Romney, husband noted: "When he attacks, he instinctively attacks from the left." He did it in 2002 and he's doing it with Perry. That should worry genuine conservatives.
Most recent posts here. Twitter feed here. Amazon store here.