GOP Vs. the GOP Base

Since Thursday night’s Republican presidential candidate debate, what passes for the GOP “intelligentsia” has been really, really down on Rick Perry. In fact, I haven’t heard anyone on the Right say anything positive about him for a couple of days.

So does this spell the end of his front runner status? Perry is campaigning hard to win the Florida straw poll being held today, and if he pulls it out we might see a whole lot of backtracking.

Nate Silver writes,

Mr. Perry’s Intrade contract has been bid down substantially since Thursday night’s debate. Going into the evening, bettors gave him roughly a 36 percent chance of winning the Republican nomination. Now, his odds are all the way down to 26 percent.

I understand that Mr. Perry had a poor evening on Thursday night. But that seems like an awfully strong reaction to it — probably an overreaction.

Nate points out that only a small part of eventual Republican primary voters watched the Thursday night debate, and also that Perry’s standing in the polls hasn’t changed significantly in several weeks. But the most telling thing was that while most of the rightie pundits agreed that Perry bombed in the debate, there was no consensus among them about who won.

Mr. Kristol, for instance, was so dismayed by the performance of Mr. Perry and the other candidates that he called for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race. Mr. Erickson said he thought Herman Cain performed well. Byron York of the Washington Examiner declared Rick Santorum to be the winner.


Nate thinks that unless and until the bobbleheads reach a consensus on who the front runner should be, and fall in line to support the anointed one, their influence on public opinion will be minimal. And everyone but Perry and Romney are polling in single digits.

My question is, are rank-and-file Republican primary voters paying any more attention to what the likes of Kristol, Erickson or York are saying than they are to the content of the debates themselves? Today’s straw poll might tell us something. Although the straw poll by itself may not mean much, if Perry shows he’s still got some Big Mo with the rank-and-file, you might see some genuine panic set in among the bobbleheads. They might even be spooked enough to fall in behind someone else they seem to universally loathe — Mitt Romney.

6 thoughts on “GOP Vs. the GOP Base

  1. Krispy Kreme will have issues with the ignorati base.
    Sure, he’s ‘bully’ enough for them, but he’s insufficiently irrational or stupid. He doesn’t deny evolution or global warming.

    As for Perry, he knows he’s a lousy debater, and I wonder what, besides sheer hubris, made him and his advisors think this was the right time to join in the fray, instead of waiting until later?
    Or, if Perry decided to throw his hat in the ring now, he might have been better served doing just one debate this year.
    He could have gotten off a few carefully scripted one-liner’s, and taken a dig at the other candidates by saying, “Well, ya’ll can keep on yapping. I’ll see ya’ll next year, whoever’s left I mean, ’cause I’ve got things I gotta do, unlike ya’ll. I’ve got a state to run!”
    And, exit – stage right.

    Right now, he’s getting overexposed, and like a fish left out in the sun too long, he’s starting to stink.

    Oh, and how much does anyone want to bet that after their 157 debates with one another before their primary, they’ll try to either NOT debate Obama at all, or keep it down to 1 or 2 debates with him?
    Obama will wipe the floor with them! Mitt’s the only one with any chance against the President in a debate – and that ain’t sayin’ much!

    I still think Jeb is sitting by his phone, smiling, waiting for it to ring.

  2. Well, this is tangential, but related. I just heard a bit of “Marketplace Money” and they actually had someone take on the “job creators” meme/BS/lie. The speaker actually said there’s no proof that lowering taxes will let them create jobs, that they must be taking a break from job creation and that corporate taxes and taxes on the rich were historically low –so where are the jobs? This was “Marketplace Money” you know the only show available to condemned NPR listeners in the fourth circle of Hell. I’ll have to check out the archive to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.

    If “conservatives” (what are they conserving?) who actually have money to invest and the capacity for rational thought begin calling the loonies on this sort of thing, it could be significant.

    I guess the down side is that only a very small percentage seem to have the capacity for rational thought.

  3. I think it takes about five days to a week for poll numbers to catch up with reality. And so we should have a clearer idea of Perry’s status among the rabble in a few more.

  4. “I just heard a bit of “Marketplace Money” and they actually had someone take on the “job creators” meme/BS/lie. ”

    Great show, but it’s too reality-based for anyone in the GOP.

    When the Wall Street Journal starts to demonstrate an understanding of economics I’ll pinch myself to make sure I’m awake.

  5. I’ve been trying to put my finger on just exactly what the ‘theme’ of today’s Republican blather is and what crowds everything else out is that Republicans have a right to deny the rights of everyone (who doesn’t agree with them.) Pretty hard to mount an entire campaign on the right to deny the rights of others.

  6. In this LATimes story, Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio is quoted as saying:

    …Perry, in portraying his critics as heartless, is making Republican voters wonder whether he shares their values.

    Awwwwww, how sweet…a soft spot.

    That’s uncharacteristically frank and honest. Was it intentional? The first thing that came to my mind was “how heartless is heartless enough?” Maybe it will take a few more executions to raise Perry’s heartlessness polling and raise their confidence in him. Maybe hitting an immigrant while driving might help.

    On the other hand it’s hard to take one Republican’s statements about the GOP too seriously without asking “Which GOP?” With canididates trying to outmean one another they’re speaking the language of an extreme subgroup within the GOP.

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