Big Rick Perry round-up this morning.
* Best headline: Wall Street Journal’s “Bachmann-Perry Overdrive.” Pure gold.
* John Podhoretz is right, I think, when he claims that in a few months Democrats and the left will convince themselves that Perry is the Most Dangerous Ideologue/Theocrat/Fascist in World History. I’m already looking forward to lines like
“Even [Ronald Reagan/George W. Bush] never subscribed to Rick Perry’s brand of . . .”
“A principled moderate like Mitt Romney never stood a chance in the New Republican party that values . . .”
“A Christianist, xenophobe, and know-nothing of the first-rate, Rick Perry makes Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin look like . . .”
That–and worse–is coming soon to a theater near you. I’m sure you can come up with your own eschatological descriptions of Perry before the left gets around to it. Leave them in the comments.
* Texas Monthly has a bunch of pull quotes from people Perry has beaten over the years. Some of them are quite contradictory in their analysis, but it’s all still worth putting into the hopper. All the added emphasis is mine:
Some telling tidbits from people who ran against Perry. First, from lefty radio host Jim Hightower, whom Perry challenged and beat in 1990 for the position of Texas agriculture commissioner:
There was a debate on Channel 13 in Dallas. Just the usual stuff. He tried to use some of the Rove negative things, including the flag-burning stuff, I think. Off the cuff, he was nondescript. He hadn’t really developed any political chops at the time. Obviously he has since. I think he’s a good campaigner. I think that’s the one thing he actually does well, as opposed to actually governing or having actual ideas or principles.
Next, this is a guy who ran against Perry for ag commissioner in 1994 (and will now support him for president):
He hasn’t changed that much since I first met him. He doesn’t make a lot of loose talk. He doesn’t say things that you would use against him later on. He’s not his own enemy, is what I would say. If you look at our president today, he’ll say one thing one week, next week he says something else. So there’s always room to go back and say, “Well, you said this then. What’s the difference now?” And you never hear that much from the governor.
From the guy Perry beat for lieutenant governor in 1998:
He’s a relentless campaigner. I was up at five every morning just to match his schedule. Our money was about even, until an extra million dollars miraculously came to him at the last minute.
From the guy who challenged Perry for the governorship in 2002:
I knew he had a disciplined team around him, that he shouldn’t be underestimated, that they were coaching him very well and that he would follow instructions very well. And he also had the benefit of watching George W. Bush do just that: run very disciplined campaigns, repeat the same message over and over, and minimize mistakes…. I would tell whoever goes up against him, Don’t underestimate his ability to perform on the stump. He doesn’t make mistakes. He follows instructions. He’s not going to have a “macaca” moment.
From a lady — not Kay Bailey Hutchison, but somebody else — who challenged Perry for the GOP primary for the governorship in 2010:
But I won both of the debates hands down. Perry’s demeanor when he initially came onto the stage the night of the first debate—it wasn’t serious. It was jovial, like “Great to be here!” It was almost comedic, you know? It was kind of a Three Stooge-y feeling. And that’s what was reported—that his answers were not good, he didn’t take the debate seriously, he may be a little arrogant. He was very confident in his place as the governor, and he got shown up. In fact, they both did. And I think that’s really the thing—that we had two people who spent almost their entire adult lives in service to our state who knew less about what was going on in our state than a nurse from Wharton, Texas.
His demeanor in the second debate was much more serious. But I still think I beat him.
After the primary election, I think, we initiated a call to Perry, and he agreed to take it, and we set up a time to talk. And I remember getting off the call and thinking, “I know why he wins campaigns; he’s a really smart guy.”
And finally, from the Democrat Perry defeated in 2010:
Rick Perry has a justifiable reputation as somebody who lives and breathes politics and has a fierce determination to stay in office. … He very rarely campaigned in person. When he did, he chose public appearances, where questions from the press would be limited. If his handlers had exposed him to more questioning, then he might have responded in a way that hurt him. One of the few—perhaps the last—impromptu sessions he had with a journalist occurred about six months before the election: After a meeting with BP executives he said that the oil spill might have been caused by an act of God. After that there weren’t many impromptu sessions with journalists.
* Galley Friend X sends along this observation from the weekend in re. Perry and Bachmann:
An interesting contrast w/ Bachmann at a side-by-side event in Iowa on Sunday. Bachmann has gotten better at almost every aspect of politicking as the campaign has gone on (witness, for instance, her deft sidestepping of reporters’ traps on the Sunday morning shows). But Perry is a natural. Think about the perfect pitch of what is already the best line of his embryonic campaign: Don’t spend all the money. Short, phrasing that could hit the ear either as folksy or hip, and an instant, obvious contrast w/ the president.
I’d agree about the money line. He’s already boiling the election down to the bullets that are exactly on point: “It is time to get America working again.” “I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.”
Toss in Perry’s biography (Paint Creek and Eagle Scouts vs. Indonesian Basuki schools) and you have very, very high contrast between the candidates in terms of both background and ideas; maybe the greatest contrast we’ve had since 1984.
* Kevin Drum lists ten factors that should make Perry a hard sell. It’s a good, sensible piece of analysis. But the fact that there are pretty simple political answers to each one of the problems Drum raises serves more to highlight how formidable Perry is, I think.
* Updated: One last thing–it’s going to be awesome when the media decides that the way to spin the uneasiness of the Team Perry and Team W camps is by painting George W. Bush as the thoughtful, sensible guy who just wasn’t comfortable with the brash, extremist Perry. You’ve never seen Strange New Respect like this!
Btw, www.perrypocalypse.com is still free if someone wants to grab it. Someone on the left will pay good money for that URL in a few weeks.