There is a difference between being dead and being on life support. Rick Perry is not dead. He has $15 million. He is the Governor of Texas. Donors cannot just ignore him.But he is on life support after last night. It is entirely recoverable. He’s still got something like 2.72 million more debates to suffer through. But wow. How he responds and recovers will tell us more about the man and his potential than his debate performances.The Jon Huntsman boomlet is over before it starts. His performance last night at the CNBC debate suggests he has no interest in reaching out to conservatives. Herman Cain did not act like and was not treated as the front runner.Mitt Romney ran as the nominee, which he will probably be. But there is a potential new frontrunner for the anti-Romney faction and one that could give Romney a run for his money in the debating game, if not the actual money game. His name? “Mr. Speaker.”We’ll get into it all in the Horserace.
With little money and no new ideas, Michele Bachmann’s time has come and gone I’m afraid. I love her. I like her husband. She’s passionate and fiery, but she is no longer catching on. She didn’t have a debate performance last night worthy of a top tier candidate and is constantly overshadowed these days.
Herman Cain could be the nominee, but he will not be the nominee.Herman Cain told us all along that even if he did not have the answers, he would surround himself with the smart people who did have the answers. Not only has his staff given off the impression they’re doing a Keystone Kops routine, but Cain has decided to stick with them. Loyalty is all well and good, but loyalty to this?!Herman Cain says he is a great manager. A great manager would stop the hemorrhaging of the company by either fixing the product or fixing the team. The product, Herman himself, does not need fixing. The team selling the product needs fixing. If he won’t fix it, he might as well go on and endorse Mitt Romney as he no doubt will eventually.Herman Cain would make a great President. But he’s not willing to do what it takes and shake up his campaign staff.
Newt Gingrich replaces Herman Cain as the most viable alternative to Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney’s team will now throw every ounce of dirt they can at Newt Gingrich. We will rehash his wives, his fall from grace, his alternative history books, etc.If he can withstand it — and I don’t know that he can — he could be a compelling alternative to Romney. But there is one problem. Newt Gingrich has a long time history of shooting himself in the foot and knocking others over as he falls. Maybe, just maybe he can withstand the tide of historic cycles in his life.
He was rather insulting last night. He wants to be the President of the 99%? Really? Who the hell thought that was a good line. How about being the President of all Americans instead of the crowd taking dumps on police cars?
If he wants to recover from his 53 seconds of infamy, something he can do, he needs to be humble, humorous, and have a good next debate.The odds are growing long against him. The money is coming in at a slower rate. But there is time. It’s just every time something like this happens, Perry plays to the image he’s developed as a bumbling campaigner. He needs to work extra hard to overcome the narrative he himself has written.It’s funny. Perry and Cain are polar opposites. Cain has a great product, but a team incapable of selling that product at a Presidential level. Perry has a great team and a terrible product. It’s harder to fix the product than the team, particularly when you are the product. But he’s never lost an election. We’ll see if he can keep the trend going. A David Letterman appearance, a Daily Show excursion, and some good natured self-poking could rehabilitate him.The one thing Perry really has going for him right now is that he is no worse without a teleprompter than Obama (h/t to Christina at the Boortz show):
Romney will probably be the nominee. Conservatives will be hurt. His debate performance last night was not as strong as his other performances. He gave some great answers, but he wasn’t nearly as consistent as he has been. And he still cannot answer the individual mandate question well. He just can’t. So Obama will get a free pass on Obamacare when they debate.