I noticed recently that Mike Flynn, editor of BigGovernment.com (where I am a contributor) wrote a piece endorsing Gov. Rick Perry for President. The next day, Ben Domenech pointed out in the must-read Transom that more than one blogger has broken for Perry, including Dan McLaughlin at Red State, and the peerless Ace of Spades.
On my radio show, a caller recently commented on the “inevitability” of Gov. Mitt Romney with an astute observation – who’s getting all the endorsements? He had a point. Former Senator and Presidential candidate Bob Dole (R-KS), Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), former Vice President Dan Quayle and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), amongst others, have endorsed Romney’s candidacy, not Perry.
It begs a question – why would three prominent bloggers be going the other way? In the most recent Gallup poll, Romney was at 24% (just behind Newt Gingrich at 26%) while Perry was tied with Rep. Michele Bachmann at 7%. At Public Policy Polling, Romney is at 22%, Perry is at 6%. The most recent Rasmussen poll in Iowa has Romney in the lead at 23%, with Perry at 10%.
Certainly, Flynn, McLaughlin and Ace can read polls. And certainly, Flynn, McLaughlin and Ace know the story on Perry – great at retail politics, but those debate performances can not be over looked. Perry took it on the chin regarding his decision to “force” HPV inoculations on young girls. His line about not having a “heart” regarding immigration still has conservatives in a state of apoplectic shock. His fading in the latter parts of debates brought fear to the base, and his 53 seconds of torture was quite literally torture for those watching, and fodder for the Obama camp in a general.
But when BigGovenment.com, RedState and Ace Of Spades HQ speak, people listen. Flynn, McLaughlin and Ace are not reactionary men, which can not be said for those politicos who back expediency and opportunity over conviction and substance. On BigGovernment.com, Flynn accepts the flubs of Perry, but comes back to what he views as most important – his record:
Rick Perry is the only candidate with a successful record of governing. That and, more importantly, what he has accomplished in governing make him the clear choice for President
Flynn is also clear to point out that his endorsement isn’t anti- Romney/Gingrich, it’s pro-Perry:
This isn’t simply an endorsement against Gingrich and Romney; it is an endorsement FOR Rick Perry. Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history, a state with a long-standing tradition of voting incumbents out of office…. He has cut taxes by billions. He has rejected federal dollars when he thought the feds where overstepping their authority….he spearheaded a landmark medical malpractice reform which reversed the exodus of doctors out of the state and is steadily improving the health care market in Texas.
At RedState, McLaughlin has a more direct approach in his article, “Don’t Settle: Rick Perry for President.” While not a site endorsement, McLaughlin’s article is undersigned by a slew of Red State.com contributors. His case is simple; if you are a conservative, you are voting for Rick Perry:
Perry is the most reliable conservative in the race. He has made his share of missteps over 25 years in public life, as have all the candidates, but…Perry hasn’t zigzagged or flip-flopped his way through his career, and he’s not overtaken by a new enthusiasm every week. Neither flights of fancy nor bipartisan consensus for its own sake are in his nature. His long record in office, and his base of support, place him well to the right of Mitt Romney and – on the great issues of the day – to the right of Newt Gingrich as well. Judging the men just by their records, Perry can be counted on to govern to the right of either.
McLaughlin also takes on the obvious fault in a Perry campaign to date – ‘poor’ debate skills:
…debating skill takes on outsize importance in the primaries, when candidates have to stand out on a stage crowded with 7 or 8 people who all agree with each other 80-90% of the time. All Rick Perry needs to do is step onstage and everyone will know how he’s different from Barack Obama.
While one can argue the importance of debate performance in a Presidential contest, (just ask Nixon about Kennedy) we’re not talking about flop sweat and shifty eyes with Perry. And I would say with conviction that McLaughlin is not making a race analysis here. Rather, the demeanor, attitude and general principles of Perry will be understood. And that understanding will, in the view of McLaughlin and his other RedState contributors, lead to votes and victory.
Ace gives a compelling endorsement, focused first on the issue of character:
First, biographical and character details….a certain type of candidate tends to prevail in elections, and that type of candidate tends to have a positive narrative in biographical and characterological traits….Rick Perry did not marry his high school sweetheart. He married his gradeschool sweetheart. He has never been divorced…Those who discount the importance of that, especially to women voters, are making an error, I think.
Then, focusing on actual experience:
America, and especially the Republican party, has long favored elevating governors to the presidency. Governors are, after all, the presidents of single states. They have nearly the exact same duties and functions (including even maintaining and controlling the state national guards). They have similar executive powers and set the agendas for their respective legislatures. In the case of border states such as Texas, they even require some foreign policy making duties….So Rick Perry cannot handle high executive office? Then how is it he’s been doing just that for 11 years?
Ace ends by using the leftist characterization of Perry against them, and reminding all of us – in a tongue-in-cheek way – that, in government, less is more:
I do know Perry’s Core Four…Keep taxes as low as possible…Keep the regulatory climate “fair and predictable”…Start producing energy here in America…Make Washington, D.C. as “inconsequential to your lives as possible,”…
Those are the four things Perry seems committed too. Those are the four ideas he has. Perhaps he’s not smart enough to have more ideas than that. Which is fine with me. I don’t want a President with many more ideas than that.
That’s how we got here, after all.
Flynn, McLaughlin and Ace are making the case for winning. They are saying that Conservatism wins elections, and Perry is the best choice for those who believe in the better America. The politicos are saying that winning elections wins elections, and Romney is the best choice to win against Obama.
As the race moves forward, with the Iowa Caucuses only two weeks away, a true divide has taken place. In its camps are the old and new guard – the elected officials and entrenched politicians with millions of dollars and high-level connections, and the new faces of new media with millions of followers and a high trust factor.
Who will win sway with the voters?