During the September 7th Republican Presidential debate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas repeated an earlier assertion of his that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. Read that again: in the age of Bernie Madoff, Rick Perry called Social Security a Ponzi Scheme.
When the GOP nominating season was getting started a few months back, I told everyone that Newt Gingrich was a strong contender for the nomination – and was frequently jeered for it.
Now that Newt’s campaign has imploded, perhaps I deserved to be jeered, but I think I was right in the reason I gave for (what I believed to be) Gingrich’s strong odds: I could tell from his messaging he understood that in order to win the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012, that he would have to win two very different elections and win over two vastly different electorates.
Perhaps not since George McGovern’s annihilation at the hands of Richard Nixon in 1972 has a candidate’s Primary base been so alienated from the center of American political thought as the Tea Party is today. Make no mistake: no candidate who doesn’t convincingly throw the red meat to the Tea Party audiences will have a sliver of a chance of getting nominated.
That probably rules out Romney and Huntsman. Newt and Cain will run out of money. Ron Paul is Ron Paul. That leaves Perry and Bachmann, either of whom should negotiate the Tea hurdle with ease. Bachmann has no resume outside of her incredibly ironic former career as an IRS attorney, so Republicans will probably eventually close ranks behind Governor Perry.
I’m not going to go so far as to predict the result of a Presidential Election that is 14 months away, but I will posit that while “Change we can Believe in” might be a somewhat tired slogan by that point, it sure as hell beats “Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme”.