We’ve got Paul Krugman’s “Bernanke’s Perry Problem.”
Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.
O.K., I don’t mean that Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, is personally standing in the way of effective monetary policy. Not yet, anyway. Instead, I’m using Mr. Perry — who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election — as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery.
I’m not buying Mr. Krugman’s “intimidation” argument here, because I don’t think Bernanke’s paying any attention to Mr. Perry, because he’s not stupid.
The Wall Street Journal‘s got “Perry’s Popping Off Problem.” It’s fairly predictable for Peggy Noonan, who is not likely to be part of the Perry pack.
His primary flaw appears to be a chesty, quick-draw machismo that might be right for an angry base but wrong for an antsy country. Americans want a president who feels their anger without himself walking around enraged.
But then there is Jonah Goldberg’s “My Rick Perry Problem–and Ours,” which is at the foundation of what I believe will be Perry’s impediment to win the general election.
… But here’s my problem: I find the prospect of another four or eight years of defending these cultural distinctions to be intensely wearying.
My weariness is hardly a major consideration for anybody, but I think it reflects a larger problem. Conservatism is starting to have an identity-politics problem all its own. I think conservatism needs to spend less time defending candidates for who they are, and more time supporting candidates for what they intend to do.
Bush’s inability to articulate arguments had nothing to do with his Texan-ness or his Christianity, but a lot of folks on the right defended him as if that were the case. “He speaks American, don’t you get it?”
To which I’d reply: “No, he speaks badly.”
Perry’s not a bad speaker, and I’m trying to keep an open mind. I suspect I agree with him more than I did with Bush, whose compassionate conservatism I loathed.
Nor do I mind folksiness per se. Mississippi governor Haley Barbour can talk seriously and colorfully at the same time. But this time around, folksiness isn’t a substitute for seriousness, and I have very little patience for those who pretend otherwise.
Seriousness, indeed. Perry’s not got Palin’s gravitas problem, but there will always be a problem with letting Perry be Perry.
One interesting note is that he’s reportedly talking with Donald Trump. But guess what, so is Mitt Romney.
Trump, who announced he would not pursue the Republican nomination a few months ago, continues to hold open the possibility of running as an independent candidate in the general election if he does not like who the GOP nominates. Indeed, his team has explored how to get him on the ballot in all 50 states.
A Trump endorsement – or at least Trump’s acquiescence to who the Republicans nominate – could be significant. Public Policy Polling released national data yesterday afternoon about the potency of Trump in a three-way matchup against President Obama and a Republican. “Even though his birther shenanigans trashed his name with most voters, he would still pull 18% to Romney’s 30% and Obama’s 46%, meaning Romney would finish closer to third than first,” said Democratic pollster Dustin Ingalls.
Trump in the place of kingmaker? With economics the storyline, could be. If you don’t understand it, go back to David Brooks’s “Why Trump Soars.” You’ll get it.
Unlike Trump, Sarah Palin has lost her power, missed her window and ruined her prowess with stunts that don’t amount to much at a time when Republicans see hope for 2012 and know she can’t deliver the White House.
It’s way too soon to tell if Rick Perry can, but he’s certainly excited primary voters and Tea Party people, who still feel they’re in an arranged marriage with Mitt, as one Florida GOP strategist put it recently.
Right now Perry’s running on Texas myth fumes and Republican desperation for a brawl. His day of reckoning comes Sept. 7th at the Reagan Library when he’ll be in his first big debate and his opponents come gunnin’ for him.