Is Rick Perry a real front-runner, or the next Michele Bachmann?(Read article summary)
Rick Perry took a beating at the CNN/Tea Party debate in Tampa, Fla., on Monday night. But is it enough to dethrone him as front-runner of the GOP primary race? Don't bet the ranch on it.
By that we mean, is he a solid contender for the GOP nomination who will maintain his front-runner status into the primaries next year, or is he the latest in a series of hopefuls, such as Representative Bachmann (R) of Minnesota, who have had a turn at the top of the polls and then regressed?
We ask that question in part because the Texas governor is set to meet another one of those short-time wonders, Donald Trump, Wednesday in New York, according to ABC News.
It turned out his energy policy was based on the US simply seizing Iraqâ€™s oil for its own. The poll numbers deflated, and Trump decided to not throw his hair into the ring, disappointing comedians across the nation.
Sorry â€“ weâ€™ll get back to an actual politician now.
Governor Perry took a beating at the CNN/Tea Party debate in Tampa, Fla., on Monday night. Might Mitt Romneyâ€™s attack on his position on Social Security, and Bachmannâ€™s and Rick Santorumâ€™s attacks on his effort to require Texas girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease, combine to reduce Perryâ€™s popularity?
Donâ€™t bet the ranch on it.
â€śThere is something muscular, tough, almost animalistic about Perry that seems to be resonating among Republicans â€“ at least for the moment,â€ť writes David Gergen Wednesday in an opinion piece for CNN. Mr. Gergan has been an adviser to four presidents.
Reagan didnâ€™t know policy details like Bush did, but he knew how to lead, according to Gergen.
â€śThe tendency to write off Perry â€“ especially among the Eastern elite â€“ is a mistake,â€ť writes Gergen.
A Gallup survey released Tuesday backs up this assertion, as it shows that GOP voters remain enthusiastic about Perryâ€™s candidacy. His Positive Intensity Score, at 24, is about as high as itâ€™s been in recent months.
(Gallup creates this measure by subtracting the percentage of voters with unfavorable views of a candidate from the percentage with a highly favorable view. The most recent poll was largely taken prior to Mondayâ€™s debate.)
â€śWith just under five months remaining before Republican primary voters start casting ballots for the 2012 Republican nomination, Perry continues to generate more positive intensity from Republicans who know him than any other announced or potential candidate Gallup tracks,â€ť writes analyst Lydia Saad.
Yes, Perry is taking a lot of flak at the moment, but think of it this way: The criticism is a bit contradictory. On Social Security, Romney is attacking Perry for being too far right. On other issues, Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas are attacking Perry for being too far left.
Bachmann asserted in the debate Monday that Perry used the power of his office to order the controversial vaccinations.
â€śWe are in danger of sending a candidate who does not adhere to our shared values to face Barack Obama,â€ť she said.
Mr. Paul and others have pointed out that Perry was a Democrat until 1989 and ran the 1988 presidential campaign of Al Gore in Texas.
â€śIt is time that Governor Perry is known for what he really is: not a longtime conservative governor, but a big-government moderate who has made a career of supporting harmful policies during his tenure as governor,â€ť said former Pennsylvania Senator Santorum on Tuesday.
For his part, Perry was skating above the criticism on Wednesday. He addressed students at Liberty University in Virginia, a conservative Christian institution, telling them that they need to raise their voices to ensure that Washington politicians donâ€™t tell them how to run their lives.