Perry: Slow on His Feet

September 13th, 2011 at 9:01 am David Frum | 89 Comments |

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Here’s a sharp observation at National Journal about last night’s GOP debate:

In the most pivotal moment of the debate, Romney laid a trap for Perry by asking if he was going to “retreat’’ from the idea that Social Security is an unconstitutional federal program that should be turned over to the states.

It was as if Romney had waved a red flag in front of the typically hard-charging Perry, who balked instead of lunging forward. First he mocked the idea that the New Deal was beyond reproach, but then he said “obviously we’re not going to take away’’ such an institution. “I think we ought to have a conversation.’’ Perry said.

Romney interrupted with perhaps his best line of the night. “We’re having that right now governor. We’re running for president.”

We learn things from these debates, and one of them is: how does a candidate respond under pressure? What we’ve seen from Perry in two debates is (1) he gets testy and (2) he makes stupid mistakes.

Perry was supposed to carry the message: “I will save our cherished national institution, Social Security.”

Romney pushed him to substitute the message: “I will save this unconstitutional program I hate.” Good luck with that.

It was not only Romney who outmaneuvered Perry. Michele Bachmann(!) pushed Perry to his funniest blooper of the night: his angry insistence that he cannot be bought for $5,000. That’s one of those denials that opens the way to more embarrassing questions: “How about $10,000?”

As a candidate, Perry’s unnimble mental reflexes are a merely personal handicap. Should Perry reach the presidency, his lack of intellectual resource will have consequences for the nation.

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89 Comments so far ↓

  • Bulldoglover100

    He would never reach the Presidency. IF he is the Republican candidate to go up against Obama? He will lose in every debate they hold.
    His school yard bully tactics will hand the election to Obama much as Palin’s did in 2008. People, Republicans and Democrats/Independents alike want a President that they feel is smart enough to lead this Nation and after 2 debates? if they have not figured out that Perry is not competent to do so? Then we will watch Obama win again in 2012.

    • overshoot

      “IF he is the Republican candidate to go up against Obama? He will lose in every debate they hold.”

      Or maybe not. Listen to the audio of the famous Nixon/Kennedy debate. Nixon walked all over Kennedy. Watch the video. As everyone knows, it wasn’t even close.

      People don’t watch debates to learn about the candidates’ positions or thoughts, they watch to get a “feel” for whether the candidate fits their emotional image of a leader they can trust. And Perry comes across as a straight-talkin’, straight-shootin’, no-nonsense no-brainer. Maybe not the sharpest pencil in the box, but that’s a GOOD thing — we don’t need another ivory-tower intellectual. Look at the mess that Woodrow Wilson got us into, and here we have another college professor in the White House!

      No, sir. The last thing we need is another New England intellectual in charge.

      • more5600

        I think you just described exactly how GW Bush was elected, don’t think that is a model that works moving forward.

        • overshoot

          On the contrary, that’s the ONLY model that works going forward.

          Do please bear in mind that GW Bush won two successive terms in the White House and accomplished all but one item on his agenda. None of his legislative legacy has been repealed, and none is likely to. Further, his appointments to the Supreme Court are in the process reshaping American law in ways that the Republican Party has been seeking for more than seventy years.

          Bush43 has to count as one of the most successful Republican Presidents EVER. And the party machers have not failed to notice.

      • mannie

        I love New England intellectuals.

      • valkayec

        My Dad and I sat in front of the radio listening to the Nixon – Kennedy debate. Nixon was the predicted winner, but the next day everyone said Kennedy won.

        I remember sitting at my father’s feet, listening to the two candidates. At the end of the broadcast, I looked up at my father and said Kennedy will win the election. My Republican Dad grinned at me and said “you think so?” I was 11 years old, and Kennedy did win the election.

        A lot of things have changed since 1959. People don’t trust their politicians to do what is right for the country or for the people. People believe big business and lobbyists control all politicians. We’ve just experienced the shock of the worst financially caused recession since the Great Depression. Rogoff and Reinhart compare it to the Great Depression. We’ve become a “me first and to heck with everyone else; I want it now” society. Cynicism and sarcasm have become the norm.

        We’re no longer a society that believes in itself or believes we can overcome whatever challenges face us. We no believe in community or the “commonweal” or the commons. We’ve been told over and over again that it’s every person for him or herself until everyone believed it. That trust and sharing and caring are for suckers.

        Well, Perry and Paul are what you get with that kind of sustained propaganda. They’d gladly roll back the 20th Century either to assist their corporate sponsors or because they don’t believe in the progression of the human spirit.

        Their vision the nation or the world is not one I see as advancing the cause of humanity. It’s regressive and vulgar.

      • Rossg

        I suppose this refers to the fact that Wilson didn’t keep us out of war? In any event, he tried to bring the nations together in a precursor of the UN. For all its faults, still not a bad idea.

    • Smargalicious

      Odumbo is toast, and you Dims know it.

      It will be soooooo much fun repealing every socialist/reparations puke the Dims forced down the throats of the remaining taxpayers.


  • ottovbvs

    Was Perry really that bad? According to another thread he was cheered to the echo so whatever he was serving the audience (admittedy nuts) must have liked it. The what Perry could be bought for reminds one of the George Bernard Shaw story when he asked the actress if she’d sleep with him for a million pounds pounds. Well maybe. Would you sleep with me for 5 pounds. Certainly not, what do you take me for. Well we’ve already established what you are…now we’re just haggling about the price.

    • Banty

      +1 Good one on the GBS quote.

    • Banty

      The audience cheered for whatever accorded with a tea party talking point. Pretty darn predictable.

      It’s fun listening to Ron Paul on foreign affairs. He was booed on his statements regarding OBL’s motives to attack this country, but he is right. But the “they attacked us because we are the home of the free and the brave” is the tea party tenet they would cheer.

      They continually remind me of the B-side of the Vietnam protester era. Same unthinking recitation of political statements. Same unquestioning almost tribal allegiance. I still have a working thesis that this phenomenon is the old ‘Bircher’ type right wing having gotten its hooks into the same folks who protested in their ’20s, this time in their 50′s and 60′s.

      • balconesfault

        I have long wondered how many of the current Tea Partiers (“cut my taxes, and keep your hands off my Medicare!”) were marching on campuses 40 years ago chanting “hell no, we won’t go!”.

        Because I’ve really believed that a huge amount of the opposition to the war in Vietnam (and I suspect, some of the more violent opposition to the war) was born of a self-interest, a fear of getting drafted and sent to get shot at that radicalized many otherwise non-political sorts.

        The draft ended, they moved on into a comfortable suburban middle age, until late in their lives an “other” is elected to be President who their favorite media tells them 24-7 threatens to strip them of any privilege and affluence they deserve after playing the game for all these years. And they’re mad and fearful.

        It is limbic.

        • Rossg

          I am of that Vietnam-era age, and I sense that many of my brethren are willing to vote against their wishes, past and present. What a shame; it is as if the Pied Piper is alive and well in the U.S. of A.

      • ottovbvs

        “I still have a working thesis that this phenomenon is the old ‘Bircher’ type right wing having gotten its hooks into the same folks who protested in their ’20s, this time in their 50’s and 60’s.”

        They’re the latest incarnation of the Birchers alright. About a year ago I re-read Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Tendency and various other books and essays he wrote and nothing has changed a bit. Nothing. Believe me they are well worth reading even if 60 years old.

        • mannie

          Nice that you re-read Hofstader. A fantastically insightful mind he had.

        • rubbernecker

          Sean Wilentz had a good piece, “Confounding Fathers”, in The New Yorker about a year ago on the Tea Party’s Bircher pedigree.

  • Banty

    Perry has gotten his way in life through whatever combination of charm and intimidation served him at the moment.

    Romney has his number – just cut right through all that. The rest of the Republican field is catching on (except for the hopelessly self-impressed, Cain and Gingrich). Obama will eat him alive.

    Michelle Bachmann had done nothing more than a little homework. There’s a lot more material out there for her on Perry.

    I predict he’ll start doing like Palin in 2008 and keep himself to friendly venues, and a minimum number of highly coached debate performances.

    In the meantime, the right wing PACs will do his work. Don’t write him off.

    • bdtex

      “keep himself to friendly venues, and a minimum number of highly coached debate performances.”

      That’s what he’s done his entire time as Governor. He’s worn Sharron Angle running shoes and dodged all but friendly media(Hannity types),given speeches at rallies and gatherings where nothing he says is challeged and dodged debates.

  • Graychin

    To his big fan Mr. Frum, Romney may have won the debate.

    But Perry clearly won with the people who count – the audience. They are the people who will be choosing the nominee.

    This is your party, Mr. Frum. To quote from a bad horror movie, “Where you gonna go, where you gonna run, where you gonna hide – when there’s nobody like you left?”

    Hey – what’s with the “moderate” Huntsman throwing “treasonous” at Perry? I thought irresponsible charges of “treason” were for nutjobs like Ann Coulter. And Rick Perry.

    • medinnus

      Maybe Huntsman takes Perry at his word – preaching sedition and secession is treason, really…

    • Bebe99

      I took it as a publicity stunt. Huntsman desperately needs some press.

      • Banty

        That completely wasn’t Huntsman’s venue, or audience. He had to show and do *something*, but I didn’t expect much headway from Huntsman last night, for no fault of his own.

  • willard landreth

    Slow on his feet!?

    He’s stupid, irrational and a street bully. Just what the tea party wants.
    With Bush we saw Cheney in charge; it’ll be interesting to see who’s in charge under a
    P(a)erry presidency.

    In comparison at least we know where and what he stands for, as for Romney we’ll have to wait a couple of years into his presidency to understand which side of the issue he favors for the moment

    P(a)erry/Palin 2012

    • Pattyman

      Yep. The man is willing to say he can be bought, but not for $5K. Did anyone see Perry speakng after the debate? He looked more like a preacher than anything, ready to call all around the alter to pray America’s sins away. The man is after a spiritaul change in America, and we better run in the other direction fast. For a small fee, larger than $5K, he will support your cause. To be in a counry where the pool of available leaders can consist of what we saw last night says much about why we are where we are.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I watched the debate and methinks David saw the debate he wanted to and not the debate that was. I don’t like Perry but on a few occasions I actually had sympathy for him…as when he had to defend providing vaccines to prevent cervical cancer in women providing a government service that assuredly benefits all of society (what is one vaccine compared to the tremendous cost of treating cancer) with the people having the right to opt out. The look on Santorum’s face as he railed against showed a truly ugly human being. I felt the same way with regard to tuition tax credits for illegals. Texas and Mexico share a huge border, there should be such programs along the frontera as it benefits both countries. If we had a vigorous e-verify program than these Mexicans would be nothing more than consumers, getting an education and then returning to Mexico.
    I think Perry is the only one who can get any Latino votes on his own, Romney now has no choice but to take Marco Rubio on his ticket, Perry doesn’t have to.

    As to social security, I think Perry won that part, Romney’s words above were lost since Perry was talking at the same time so I didn’t hear that what I did hear was Perry poining out how Romney called SS criminal himself, which I thought made Romney look bad because he criticized Perry for saying the same thing he himself had said.

    • IntelliWriter

      I wonder how the debate would have looked in a quiet setting without the cheering from the crowd. As if on cue, the debaters answered based on the responses from, what most consider, a radical crowd. As a Democrat, the only person I’d even consider voting for is Huntsman and he was relegated to the sidelines both on stage and in his responses. How sad that the one person up there who can actually speak to the entire country could not move the crowd.

      This was one of your most reasoned responses in this forum. However, I wonder if Frum saw the debate through the eyes of someone unmotivated by the rabid and more prurient forces in the Republican Party (even though they claim to be a separate entity…yeah right).

    • nuser

      You need to do some research on Perry’s forced vaccine. You will find the recipients were
      school girls 11-12 years old and would have had no choice. Even Palin was shocked at
      the lack of rights.

  • kuri3460

    Rick Perry is as far right of center as Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are left of center, and the fact that Sharpton and Kucinich ran for president with virtually no fanfare but Rick Perry leads the GOP race tells you all that you need to know about the state of today’s Republican Party.

    Democrats have their flaws, too, but remember their 2004 and 2008 debates centering on social programs, the war in Iraq, etc. – you know, actual real issues. Criticize them for pandering and being idealistic and I’ll agree with you, but I’ll take that over petty ideological debates over whether or not Social Secuirty is a Ponzi scheme, or whether the government can ever mandate anyone to do anything.

    • ottovbvs

      “Rick Perry is as far right of center as Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are left of center, and the fact that Sharpton and Kucinich ran for president with virtually no fanfare but Rick Perry leads the GOP race tells you all that you need to know about the state of today’s Republican Party.”

      Fundamentally you are absolutely right. Sharpton/Kucinich are nut jobs or charlatans on the fringe of the Democratic party who no Democrat takes seriously whereas Perry, Bachmann et al are Republican mainstream. It’s an incredible commentary on where Republican are today. Expressed in FF terms Smarg, Willy P, Carney, NH Thinker, Churl, jquintana, Sinz, et al ARE THE mainstream. As I’ve always said Frum, Rove and co let the morlocks out of basement when they were electorally convenient and now they’ve taken over the house. Interestingly there is a piece in today’s NYT about the increasing anxiety in establishment Republican circles (aka Frum) about the Perry candidacy but they just reaping what they have sown.

      • MSheridan

        I don’t think it’s fair to lump all those posters in the same boat. First of all, Smarg is a troll. The others are not. Second, I’ve seen occasions in which Carney and nhthinker have shown that they put their morals before their politics. Third, both of them and sinz are capable of noncircular debate, at least on some subjects.

        • ottovbvs

          “Second, I’ve seen occasions in which Carney and nhthinker have shown that they put their morals before their politics.”

          I can’t say I have but I’ll take your word for it. You perhaps didn’t catch up with Carney’s most recent fulminations about the intellectual inferiority of the non white races, or Sinz’s desire to model himself on General Pinochet. But then all you are saying is that certain crazy people have moments of lucidity. However they remain crazy and imho well merit a place in the ship of fools.

        • MSheridan


          Re Carney, yes, I did miss that. Was it recent enough to be on one of the posts on the front page? If so, could you tell me where, as I’d like to weigh in on that issue.

          Re: sinz, I was just saying he’s (she’s?) an intellectual step up from sdspringy, Churl, or ProfNickD. It may be a low bar, but there are posters here to whom it’s generally not worth responding (unless the response illustrates an important point that might be useful to others) and then there are posters (like torourke) with whom a conversation can be had. I come here in part for the writers but in part because I like to talk politics with people with whom I disagree. I generally disagree with sinz and think his politics are largely amoral and devoid of empathy, but I don’t consider him stupid.

        • ottovbvs

          I didn’t say Sinz was stupid, just angry, irrational and rather unpleasant. How else do you categorise someone who identifies with a mass murderer and torturer? I can’t remember the thread in which Carney’s diatribes appeared, it was a couple of days ago, but it was off the charts.

  • Oldskool

    If Romney gets the nod and then wins next year, he’ll have the same battle with the far right as Obama has now except that his party proved from 2000-2008 that they really don’t care to govern in the traditional sense.

    That’s the problem. Romney wouldn’t suddenly govern like Nixon and for sure the Teanuts wouldn’t let him if he wanted to. It’s better for us all to have Obama fighting the larger battle of political philosophies.

  • StreetSign

    None of these amateurs have yet dissected Ponzi Perry’s claims on jobs growth in Texas–except for Paul, whose comments are generally disregarded, imo.

    The best salvo against Perry was not in the giddy CNN debate but embedded in the speech Richard Fisher gave yesterday to the NABE conference in Dallas. Turns out Texas has had a forty year record of a 1.1% positive jobs growth premium over the country as a whole–essentially the difference in Texas during the recent recovery. Perry expertise? Not so much.

  • Rob_654

    I think Perry is probably pretty slow sitting as well as standing and I figure even laying down he probably isn’t very sharp.

    Bachmann looks like a Rhodes scholar next to Perry.

    And, Romney is having to simultaneously be thinking “How can I dumb this down enough for Perry and his followers to understand” while at the same time having to answer the questions and responses.

    • ottovbvs

      “And, Romney is having to simultaneously be thinking”

      You mean a bit like Gore must have been thinking….I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.

      • more5600

        Gore didn’ t lose to Bush in 2000, Bush was selected not elected.

        • Wordly Traveller

          Did anyone see Gore on the Colbert Report last night? That was the only time I have ever seen a guest leave Stephen speechless.

      • BustedBoomer

        That was Dukakis on SNL. But yeah, Gore. Heck, most Dems the way its going.

  • jakester

    What did everyone think of that round of boos Ron Paul said that we were attacked on 9/11 not for our freedoms?

    • Banty

      Totally expected. The approved meme on that is that we *were* attacked because of our freedoms.

      In a round about sense, there is some truth to that. But Ron Paul was absolutely correct on the proximate motivation bin Laden had.

  • sdspringy

    I know its frustrating for the Lefty/Libs here to see individuals they portray as intellectually inferior to the Messiah as beating him six ways from Sunday in any poll.

    But this tendency to portray Republicans as inferior, to demean what you don’t understand actually shows the Lefty/Libs to be the true bigots of American society.

    As we now know during every Bush campaign the Lefty/Libs and the Lame Stream media repeated the talking points that Gore/Kerry were so intellectually superior, so academically superior to the Republican. Yet when the actual college transcripts were released, in Kerry’s case accidently, this proved false.

    Not only do the Dems continually try hide their lack of academic achievement, aka Obama, the Lefty/Lib always bite on intellectual superiority sound bite and then are left wondering how an idiot beats their candidate.

    This current campaign season is for Republicans, red meat time for conservatives. You won’t be able to understand or comprehend but don’t beat yourself up for being stupid. Just remember you will lose the election in 2012 just like you lost in 2010, just like you lost in Wisconsin, just like you lost Weiner’s seat, just like you lost Kennedy’s seat, it doesn’t mean your stupid just incompetent.

    • Oldskool

      Your brilliance would really shine if you could master the whole “your” and “you’re” difference.

    • Banty

      “Lefty/libs”? “Lame stream media”?

      Are you a programmed bot?

      • sdspringy

        Thanks for proving my point, haters. Don’t want to talk about all those losses though do ya.

        Is that how ya spell “YA”??

        • Banty

          Not sure what you expected. You posted a diatribe, peppered, not only with grammatical mistakes and Rush/Palin catch phrases, but also with factual errors (as in, two Wisconsin state seats did turn over to the Dems in recalls; challenged Dems did keep their seats; Weiner’s seat isn’t lost *yet* so maybe you want to not use the past tense). Most of all, most of us here are not ‘lefty/libs”, we’re non-Tea Party Republicans and independents.

          On what possible basis did you expect a respectful reaction? Bees, honey, and all that.

        • ottovbvs

          Springy gives us another of his thoughtful, accurate and persuasive rants. Thus demonstrating the appropriateness of my comment @ 11.38

        • sdspringy

          Ow I feel soo bad you don’t like my grammer. But facts matter don’t they?? Well the Dems lost in WI. Dems lost when the ACT 10 passed. Dems lost when Prosser kept his seat.
          Dems lost when the WI Supreme Court didn’t block implementation. Dems lost when they didn’t take back control of the WI Senate. Thats alot of losses. You may not appreciate my grammer, my presentation but you have a serious problem with facts.

        • medinnus

          Only a fool brags about their victory before its achieved.

    • balconesfault

      I know its frustrating for the Lefty/Libs here to see individuals they portray as intellectually inferior to the Messiah as beating him six ways from Sunday in any poll.

      a) There are “lefty/libs” who believe Jesus is the Messiah, there are those who don’t believe the Messiah has come, there are those of denominations who believe in the whole “Messiah” concept. But the consensus would be that it’s either heretical or just plain idiotic to refer to our President as the “Messiah”.


      c) You’re ignorant. But proudly so, it seems. Another embodiment of the modern GOP.

      • laingirl

        Thanks for putting out that link; I was just about to do it.

      • SpartacusIsNotDead

        Please don’t be a bigot by attacking me with facts.

        — SdSpringy

      • sdspringy

        Public Policy Polling, maybe you could post DNC polling, ow wait that is PPP. Nice objectivity, ow wait your a Looney Lib

    • dante

      Care to link to all these polls you mentioned?

    • more5600

      The election results for Weiner’s seat aren’t even in yet, how do you claim it as a Republican victory?

    • mannie

      I have been enjoying myself here at Frum’s, reassuring myself that not everyone on the right had turned in to an anti-intellectual rube or redneck…and then you popped in. What’s wrong, FOX gone to a commercial?

  • Banty

    My favorite part – Romney’s comeback not allowing Perry to hide behind the “we need to have a conversation” statement.

    Because, not just in this debate, it’s become a cover for “we need to change and do it my way, and our conversation will be about exactly what I want to happen, but I don’t want to spell it out in front of the electorate now”.

  • Holmes

    Frum’s endless attacks on Perry are a form of penance for the harm done by the Bushies. All the weaknesses that Frum finds in Perry were plainly obvious in Bush.

    Note to Frum: you cannot atone for your sins by crucifying another, the merits of your prosecution notwithstanding.

    • overshoot

      “Frum’s endless attacks on Perry are a form of penance for the harm done by the Bushies.”

      I think of them more as struggling with the internal conflict that arises from asking the question, “how bad does a Republican have to be before he gets so bad that my conscience forces me to support a Democrat?”

  • SpartacusIsNotDead

    SdSpringy: “But this tendency to portray Republicans as inferior, to demean what you don’t understand actually shows the Lefty/Libs to be the true bigots of American society.”

    By and large, conservative Republicans today believe a large number of things that are empirically false. They fervently advocate policy positions that are patently incoherent. And, they want things that we know from experience are harmful to the country. Thus, they are either evil, indifferent to the consequences of their actions or ignorant about the likely consequences.

    By what standard would a gourp like this not be considered inferior either intellectually or morally?

    • drdredel

      Well, at least Jesus loves them… I’m not sure what else you need to be superior in life, other than to know that Jesus loves YOU (and can’t stand those empirical folks, who can’t even be bothered to believe in him!).

  • vishnu

    only in America can this radical freak, this delusional religious fanatic, who thinks of himself as a “prophet”, who thinks praying to his god will solve the country’s complex problems, who has said he wants his state to secede from the Union, be taken seriously by a serious number of people.. ONLY IN AMERICA.. if we ever elect this guy for president we would truly become the laughing stock of the world…

    • drdredel

      Have you seen “the world” lately? I’m not disagreeing with you about the quality of our current/pending politicians, but the world’s quite busy being completely awestruck by the incompetence/corruptness of their own leaders to care too much about who we elect, I think. I mean… they spent 8 years looking at Bush with wide eyed disbelief. At this point, they’re ready for just about anything.

  • lizerdmonk

    Perry is dangerous for America he represents every short cut anyone can take and even though I am not that into Romney we cannot allow Perry to take this or we all lose. I am hoping that there still enough real Republicans who care about this country to come out and go against this guy and the Tea Party if they win it would be the end of America.

  • lilmanny

    Mr Frum mirrors the quiet panic that has plagued the GOP Establishment for months. They knocked Palin out of consideration for 2012, only to give rise to Trump. When he burned to a crisp, up rose the PTA Avenger Michele Bachmann. Struggling to seal her ample muzzle, they turn to see Rick Perry stride to the lead and whip the base into a frenzy. The Establishment, men like me who just want to be free to make a lot of money, nice Jewish boys who can debate economics but really don’t care who you sleep with, Easterners who want low taxes but were a bit uncomfortable with W, all overestimated their ability to control the elevation of Stupid Sarah as their Joan of Arc. The Birchers have taken over the wheel of the bus and David, along with many other respectable Republicans, are struggling to clear the way for Romney. The Birchers are not giving up, and they certainly don’t come to Frum Forum or National Review. They listen to Rush and Hannity and go to Newsmax and Newsbusters.

    You tell me who they say won the debate and that tells you your answer, who will be the nominee. When they turn on Perry, then and only then is Romney safe.

    • overshoot

      “The Birchers have taken over the wheel of the bus and David, along with many other respectable Republicans, are struggling to clear the way for Romney.”

      But when November 2012 comes, those “respectable Republicans” will vote for the Perry/Bachmann ticket anyway. And much more to the point once the nomination is actually sewn up they’ll vote with their checkbooks.

    • ottovbvs

      The sort of sophisticated and sharp edged summation I like lilmanny. And overshoot is probably correct although I’m bound to say a Perry/Bachmann ticket would almost certainly make a lot of trad Republicans jump ship or simply not show up.

      • overshoot

        Not show up. That’s the way elections run lately: you either cheer for your team or don’t go to the game, but you never, EVER cheer for the other team.

        That’s what all of Perry’s talk about “treason” and Bernanke is about: doing anything to help the economy would help Obama get a second term, and that would be treason. Once 2013 comes around and Perry is in the WH, the Fed doing everything possible to spool up the economy (as the Greenspan Fed did for the Bush Administration) is just patriotism.

        Tribal loyalty is all that matters.

        • ottovbvs

          “Tribal loyalty is all that matters.”

          Absolutely. I always remember that in 1936 something like 36% of the electorate voted for Alf Landon. My grandpa was one of them. Which is why presidential elections are all about turnout when the country is as narrowly divided as it is today. That said I do think many moderate Republicans or Republican leaners (the same thing really) would hesitate before pulling the lever for Perry. There’s no doubt Palin hurt McCain amongst trad Republicans. I observed it myself. There’s obviously a long way to go but Perry certainly can’t be dismissed. If he has some mojo going into super Tuesday, he’s probably going to pull it off. This could well cause serious ructions among the Republican supporting chattering classes who by withdrawing their support run some risks but equally they could be contributing to a Perry debacle that enables them to say afterwards “see we told you so.”

        • BustedBoomer

          Tribal Loyalty: agreed, that is all it is now.

          Treason: The GOP Platform of 1956.

    • Oldskool

      Perry or Bachman are legit candidates if a nominee is supposed to represent a party as it is, in their case by obstructionism and an unwillingness to govern. Which makes Romney the hope candidate for the traditional faction of the party. And it’s hard to imagine him inspiring enough unity to win the general election. I’d prefer to see Perry with the nomination because I think we deserve to have the Obama/Bush election that never was.

      • overshoot

        “Which makes Romney the hope candidate for the traditional faction of the party.”

        Which controls, what? 25% of the Party’s votes at this point?

        This is the payoff for the Southern Strategy: the “traditional faction” always had the money but not the feet on the street. By courting the Southern “Yellow Dog” vote, the Party got a large number of straight-party-line voters who are passionate about their issues: abortion, prayer in schools, social order, and the military.

        That realignment (plus some serious media engineering) has completely reversed the momentum that the Democratic party had up until 1968. From 1932 to 1968, Democrats held the White House for 28 out of 36 years. From 1980 t0 2012, Republicans will have held the White House for 20 out of 32 years, with a good chance in 2012 to make that total 24 out of 36 — almost as good a record as the one FDR started.

        It’s hardly surprising that the majority of the party — the ones who bought into the Party on the promise of reversing Roe v. Wade, O’Hair, and Lemon — are demanding the influence on the top of the ticket that their numbers entitle them to exercise.

        It’s called “democracy.” If you don’t like it, go somewhere more to your taste.

  • DanL

    Perry may be slow on his feet, but he sure does have an obsequious smirk ready for all occasions.

  • WillyP

    this practically writes itself…

    We learn things from these debates, and one of them is: how does a RINO respond under pressure? What we’ve seen from Frum is (1) he gets testy and (2) he makes stupid mistakes.

    See here:

    • ottovbvs

      Two nice Jewish boys have at it. Well maybe not so nice.

      • drdredel

        How do people listen to this? I mean… even if I was the sort of buffoon that agreed with Levin, I’d still be desperate to call him and say “dude… shut UP and let your guest speak! If you disagree, do so after he’s finished.” I mean, all substance aside, who speaks this way? And who has patience to listen to someone speaking this way? Unreal.

        • ottovbvs

          I listened to half of it. Awful. Levin’s constant interruptions and that nasal twang. He comes across as a total shit.

        • drdredel

          It really reminds me of dealing with ADD children, who can’t sit still for 2 seconds, can’t focus, can’t organize their thoughts with thought A preceding thought B, and adding hysterical outbursts to it all. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to have a “conversation” with this guy. It’s not as though it’s possible.

  • jjack

    It is hard to take much of Frum’s criticisms of Perry seriously. Is Perry unable to keep up with towering intellects like George W. Bush? It seems like David wrote a whole book about how brilliant and “right” that incurious mental midget was.

    • Grace

      I can’t believe it took this many comments to get to your glaringly obvious observation about Mr. Frum’s assessments!

      Should Perry reach the presidency, his lack of intellectual resource will have consequences for the nation.

      This is a howler of a line, coming from a person who lionized Bush and his trainwreck of an administration. I probably shouldn’t laugh too hard at the line, because it’s entirely possible that a Perry administration could outpace the incompetence and malfeasance of Bush’s, but he’ll have to put the pedal to the metal to do it.

      Perry got where he is without benefit of having a presidential daddy to clear his path and clean up his mistakes over lo, those many years. Is he less bright than Bush? I don’t see the evidence.

      • balconesfault

        The key is that the “smart kids” like Frum all thought they could remake Bush in their own image once he got into the White House. And to an extent they were right – they just couldn’t control Cheney, and Cheney dominated White House decisions for the first 4 years. But then that was ok since Cheney wanted to kill as many Muslims as possible, and that sat well with the Frum crowd.

        I think the intellectual elite in the GOP fears that with Perry they’ll have no influence at all. And it’s scaring them.

      • ottovbvs

        “This is a howler of a line, coming from a person who lionized Bush and his trainwreck of an administration.”

        Have to agree. Bush Jr was without question the lightest weight guy elected to the presidency in my lifetime. Even where their admins were unsuccessful or had problems (Carter, Nixon) these were not lightweight people. I’d even rate Ford slightly higher. Think about it. FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and then Dubya. It’s a quantum shift downward.

  • nwahs

    He can’t win. The Social Security stuff makes him unelectable.

    • balconesfault

      Again … the current question is does it make him un-nominateable?

      That might take Rush turning against him in a big way. I don’t think Rush can attack him for saying the wrong things about Social Security, being unelectable, etc – because that would expose the fraud that what Rush wants is not what America really wants.

      So instead we’ll need to see some attack from voices the GOP really listens to over Perry’s corruption. I think that’s the only way he doesn’t end up heading the ticket next fall.

  • abc123

    Perry was still charismatic, and that wins republican primaries more than debating skills do. In the general election though it will hurt him a lot if the weakness remains.

  • Rossg

    Here is what I don’t get about Social Security. How long have smart people known that the system, as originally constructed, was headed for disaster? I say it had to have been known by about 1965, for this is when forward-thinkers knew how many people had been born, starting from 1946. We knew we had a bubble of births, and we knew when their Social Security claims would come due. Why has it taken so long to deal with this “known” event?