New Shiny Things

Gov. Rick Perry definitely is the new shiny thing for Republicans. Rasmussen (yeah, I know, it’s Rasmussen) has him surging way ahead of Romney and Bachmann among likely primary voters. And let’s remember that last May, Nate Silver wrote that Perry had a good shot at the nomination if he decided to run.

Conventional wisdom says that the fight for the nomination will be between Romney and Perry, and barring an unforeseen shakeup of some sort I’m inclined to agree. I’m also predicting that Bachmann will fade in New Hampshire and South Carolina — Perry will go all out for South Carolina — and that will be the end of her campaign.

I also think that Perry will be completely unsalable outside the Tea Party. More moderate Republicans might be persuaded to hold their noses and vote for him — he’s not Obama, after all — but Independents will run, screaming — it’s another Bush!

People who know Perry well say he’s nothing like Dubya, although it seems to me he’s just like Dubya in every way that might affect how he would “govern” as POTUS. However, those associated with the Bush family and their administrations apparently really, really, really do not like Perry. Why they do not like him I do not know. Part of the aversion may be that the Bushies (for all of Dubya’s affected folksiness) are genuine aristocrats, while Perry’s background is about as low as class gets in America. A Perry family reunion must be something like “Deliverance on the Prairie.” Believe me, for genuine bluebloods whiteness alone doesn’t make one respectable.

But while it’s very possible Perry will self-destruct, he might not do it soon enough to save the GOP from having to put him on the ticket.

And might the ticket be Romney-Perry? That would be a true mashup of the worst of everything the GOP has to offer. But it’s a logical choice, in many ways. It’s a ticket that could pose a real challenge to Obama, depending on whether Romney stops trying to be one of the guys — painful to watch — and Perry stops channeling Yosemite Sam.

Stuff to Read:

Harold Meyerson, “The Sad Facts Behind Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle

Rick Perry’s Texas is Ross Perot’s Mexico come north. Through a range of enticements we more commonly associate with Third World nations — low wages, no benefits, high rates of poverty, scant taxes, few regulations and generous corporate subsidies — the state has produced its own “giant sucking sound,” attracting businesses from other states to a place where workers come cheap.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes some great commentary on Civil War history, along with his great commentary on current events. Today he quotes from a book by prominent historian James McPherson (and if you really want to understand the late unpleasantness, you must read McPherson) that suggests some things don’t change —

“The conflict between slavery and non-slavery is a conflict for life and death,” a South Carolina commissioner told Virginians in February 1861. “The South cannot exist without African slavery.” Mississippi’s commissioner to Maryland insisted that “slavery was ordained by God and sanctioned by humanity.” If slave states remained in a Union ruled by Lincoln and his party, “the safety of the rights of the South will be entirely gone.”

If these warnings were not sufficient to frighten hesitating Southerners into secession, commissioners played the race card. A Mississippi commissioner told Georgians that Republicans intended not only to abolish slavery but also to “substitute in its stead their new theory of the universal equality of the black and white races.”

Georgia’s commissioner to Virginia dutifully assured his listeners that if Southern states stayed in the Union, “we will have black governors, black legislatures, black juries, black everything.”

An Alabamian born in Kentucky tried to persuade his native state to secede by portraying Lincoln’s election as “nothing less than an open declaration of war” by Yankee fanatics who intended to force the “sons and daughters” of the South to associate “with free negroes upon terms of political and social equality,” thus “consigning her [the South’s] citizens to assassinations and her wives and daughters to pollution and violation to gratify the lust of half-civilized Africans…”

This argument appealed as powerfully to nonslaveholders as to slaveholders. Whites of both classes considered the bondage of blacks to be the basis of liberty for whites. Slavery, they declared, elevated all whites to an equality of status by confining menial labor and caste subordination to blacks. “If slaves are freed,” maintained proslavery spokesmen, whites “will become menials. We will lose every right and liberty which belongs to the name of freemen.”

Substitute the issue of slavery with “Obamacare,” and this almost could have been written about the Tea Party. See also “Hiding in Plain Sight: Racism’s Role in the Party GOP’s Effort to Destroy President Barack Obama and the U.S. Economy.”

Update: Nate Silver ponders Perry’s electability.

19 thoughts on “New Shiny Things

  1. Rick’s not ready to be a prime time player.
    Even as he was getting ready to run, Little Boots already had the full support of the Republican Party.
    He already had Rove, and then Daddies team gave him all of the other PR and Marketing people to polish the turd that Daddy knew was a turd – he had the run for Presidency set aside for Jeb, the non-prodigal son. And sure to win, he thought.
    But when it became George Jr., well, Senior gave it his all. Maybe if he sorrounded him with experienced people, he couldn’t do much damage, he figured – except that most of the people watching over and helping him turned out to be damaged in their own ways.
    Right now, Perry’s on his own.
    As are Romney and Bachmann – but Mitt, less so.
    All three of them are cringe-worthy gaff-machines.
    And I think, unless he corrects himself fast, or have someone comes in and do it for him, that Perry will soon go spiralling down in a blaze of ego, hubris, and macho. It may take more than 30 days, but I think this boy’s going down.
    And besides, he kind of reminds me more of Bush impersonators, than Bush himself. The only thing worse than a Bush-clone is a Bush-clown.
    Bachmann will never get the support of the money boys (Perry possibly could), so her run is doomed. Oh, she’ll do well with the loons, but they’re not the people with the power and cash.
    Right now, Romney’s the classic Republican candidate. So it’s his turn, and he’s got fairly solid business credentials.
    But Romney IS weird – having absolutely nothing to do with his Mormonism. He’s kind of reminds me of Hymie the Robot from the great “Get Smart” show. He just looks a little stiff, takes things literaly, and you have no ideas of what’s going to come out of his mouth.
    It’s just that Romney’s their best shot at beating Obama. But if his weirdness gets to be too much of a burdon, watch out!

    It’s early yet, and I’m still waiting for Christie, Walker, or Ryan to start to exploratory committee’s.
    And, can Jeb be far behind?
    He’s still the twinkle in his Dad’s eye. And Senior may beg for a “Mulligan.”

  2. Why do the Bushies not like Perry? I think your Texas Monthly link said why–he didn’t play nice with them.

    Also, I heard on a progressive radio station that the right-wing is dropping its use of Obamacare because Obama said it doesn’t bother him, because he’s fine by the idea of people thinking he cares. Of course, the people are on the comical end, so I’m not sure if they were being sarcastic or not.

    Just curious if you’ve noticed less use of the term on right wing sites.

    • he didn’t play nice with them.

      That too. But not playing nice might be that he didn’t show them proper deference. IMO, by itself, his not running the kind of race he’d been ordered to run in 1989 by itself doesn’t explain the vehemence with which the Bushies don’t like him. There’s more to it we’re not seeing.

  3. I think a Romney-Perry ticket is about the best the GOP can do at this point. I thought about Romney-Bachmann, but she’s too crazy, and it would be a weird reprise of McPalin, which I suspect most in the GOP would want to avoid.

    Along the lines of slavery/ObamaCare, there was another word game posted at DailyKos the other night. Simply take Tea Party rhetoric, and substitute “government” with “corporations”, en voila, you have progressive rhetoric:

    The threat to our way of life comes from government, and the solution is to shrink government while freeing corporations from government control.


    The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.

    Both Romney (“Corporations are people”) and Perry – who is trying to sell the modern day southern plantation, Texas style, to the rest of the country – should provide plenty of ammunition for the Democrats, if they’re capable enough to use it. Really, the fruit is lying all over the ground this time.

    I was impressed with the Texas Monthly article. It portrayed Perry ostensibly as a doof, but one with an uncanny gift for politics, and a great deal of luck. He’d be a good VP choice for Romney. The question in my mind is how well Romney is going to show in the next few races – will he acquire the aura of inevitability?

  4. Just curious if you’ve noticed less use of the term on right wing sites.

    I wonder if “Obamacare” is the new “Mormon”– as in, it’s being co-opted by the pro-reformers themselves, to blunt the edge. I was shocked a couple weeks ago when a friend, a very wise progressive university professor, used the term casually and without irony. I scolded him a little, then felt embarrassed, because he’s someone who usually knows a lot more about everything than I do.

    But I avoid right-wing sites, so I’m unaware if they’ve now substituted something much uglier.

  5. And I can’t help remembering the comments of more than one person after visiting Texas, specifically Houston. “It’s the ugliest city in America.”

  6. The person they’re going to be grooming for the future is Marco Rubio. He’d be an ideal VP for Romney in that he’s from FL, he’s Hispanic, and he’s closely tied in with the Teabaggers. He’s also young, good-looking, telegenic, and staunchly Conservative.

    The Republicans long term goal is 16 years of executive rule. If Romney/Rubio wins next year, they’ll be on their way.
    And if not, the flood gates will open in 2016, with Christie, Walker, Ryan, Thune, and everyone who’s even thinking of running anytime in the near future going for the prize.
    I still think that they may be looking for Rubio for one of the top slots, with maybe for another VP run alongside Jeb Bush. Or maybe a Rubio/Chrisite ticket in 2016 – if Staypuff’s ego will let him be 2nd on the ticket. Either way, I think Rubio, unless he does something remarkably stupid, has a huge future in the Republican Party.

    • The person they’re going to be grooming for the future is Marco Rubio. He’d be an ideal VP for Romney in that he’s from FL, he’s Hispanic, and he’s closely tied in with the Teabaggers. He’s also young, good-looking, telegenic, and staunchly Conservative.

      Yeah, that sounds plausible. It’s likely Perry will flame out in a few weeks, but not after sucking a lot of air out of the Republican presidential politics.

  7. I don’t know if I (we) can stand 15 more months of the politics of enmity – hatred, hostility, antagonism, animosity, malevolence, acrimony, spite, bitterness, loathing, venom, malice. There’s not a synonym in the bunch that we’re not being subjected to, daily, by politicians clawing their way to the top job in the country.

    Other than doing a bang-up job of killing our spirit as a nation, young voters I’ve talked to are so thoroughly disgusted by the present political scene that they’ve turned it all off, tuned out if you will, yet, will probably vote in the 2012 election. The election results will be interesting, given that a large bloc of the voters will be uninformed voters. An uninformed populace can spell the end of a democracy.

  8. I always thought of Bush as a transplant Texan. A blueblood easterner who went west and then adopted the western cowboy, southern drawl, Bush whacker. Which made me think he was a phony. Perry’s the real deal. I thought a lot of what Bush did was put on him by Rove and Cheney and Rumsfeld and…. and that his inclinations were more moderate, which I thought he did in Texas, some, anyway. Hell, I think Bush stole Perry’s accent, they sound exactly the same, spooky in an oh-shit-here-comes-another-tornado kind of way. I would like to think that Perry is unelectable, but with the economy and the crazy people who will vote for anything with an R by their name, and he’s not that black guy, I just don’t feel that confident. Also with the liklihood that R’s take the senate, I think our national experiment in democracy may be coming to an end.

  9. Rasmussen (yeah, I know, it’s Rasmussen) has him surging way ahead of Romney and Bachmann among likely primary voters.

    As Dave Weigel points out, a Rasmussen poll at just about this point in the 2008 electoral cycle (i.e., September 2007) had almost exactly the same results — except the new guy who’d shot into the GOP lead by a big margin was Fred Thompson. How’d that work out?

    • How’d that work out?

      Fred Thompson must have been a new shiny thing at the time, although I admit “new” and “shiny” don’t generally describe Fred Thompson.

  10. I always thought of Bush as a transplant Texan.

    I always thought it funny that as soon as he left office, he ditched the ranch in Crawford and moved to, I believe Dallas. Someone apparently had the idea he should act like Reagan, and so he needed the ranch as a prop.

  11. I am not sure Romney will try to team up with a Teabagger in the BP slot. That would be the reverse of the Bush/Cheney scenario I used to joke about. Anyone who might have wanted to assassinate Bush would be deterred by the fact that would make Cheney president.

    First let me say, the press is understating the animosity between Romney and the Tea Party. The evangelical wing doesn’t accept Mormonism as a Christian religion. I suspect Romney resents that. Romney is an establishment republican which is mostly croney politics. Using power to get rich or make your buddies rich. But he’s not opposed to Medicare, Social Security or the Constitution (until a poll shows 51% are opposed). And he will compromise. My guess is that Bachmann and Perry will make a truce until the day Romney is out.

    In the proposed scenario,… if the Tea Party can’t win in the primaries, if Romney selects a Teabagger as BP, the only path to power for the Tea Party is if Romney dies.

  12. they’ve turned it all off, tuned out if you will, yet, will probably vote in the 2012 election.

    That may be the only sane way to deal with an insane process. There is no reason why every presidential election should be a two-year-long media goatfuck, other than the corporate media’s self-interest in flogging every jot and tittle of the race in a pathetic spectacle to drum up ratings. And the amount of coverage that could be described as “informative” by a voter trying to make an intelligent decision, could be measured with an eyedropper.

  13. Perry is a stylistic hairs-breadth from Bush that maybe Bush could even be polished up. Oh, wait…he can run again. Whew, I’m almost relieved. The last thing we need is another who speaks utter nonsense with an air of absolute certainty and feisty grit and determination. Didn’t we already fall for that a few times within the alst 12 years? Look where is got us. Common sense would compel one to seek someone grounded…possibly even polling favorably with former constituents.

  14. Does it really matter what the Bushes think of Perry? Bush got elected because he was a (phony) “folksy, down-to-earth, tough guy”, not because he was a blueblood. The Bushes may look down their noses at Perry, but half the American electorate won’t – the same half that voted Bush into office.

  15. Kyle – I completely agree. And you’ve got the corporate media right. The mass media make a killing off of political advertising by candidates running for office – the longer the campaign, the bigger the bucks, obviously. And, the more dystopian atmosphere the media can conjure up, the more people will tune in.

    It’s definitely a win-win situation for the media, and a loss-loss situation for the country. Apparently, we the people ‘own’ the air waves in name only.

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