Republican primary voters need to make up their minds. When it comes to Rick Perry, they’ve been completely schizophrenic so far.
Are Perry’s view so extreme right-wing that he’s un-electable, as some first claimed, or is Perry too liberal for Republicans, as some pundits declared only a week later, after his debate performance in which he defended his support for in-state tuition for immigrants?
And speaking of those immigrants, is Perry too racially insensitive for Americans because of the former name of his family’s hunting camp, or is he not racially insensitive enough to suit Republicans, because of the aforementioned immigrants and their aforementioned in-state tuition?
Neither conservative pundits nor conservative voters know what to do with Rick Perry. More notable, Rick Perry doesn’t seem to know what to do with Rick Perry.
His opponents’ efforts to attack him on every perceived slight has left Perry continually on the defensive, which has gotten him off his core message of job growth in Texas – ironically, the issue responsible for getting Perry to the top of the heap, and the one issue over which his opponents have yet to lay a hand on him. Wasn’t this election supposed to be about the economy and jobs?
To the extent that Republican voters are now confused about Perry, his opponents’ attacks have been successful. And if Perry continues to stay on defense, it may be fatal to his campaign.
I’m completely puzzled as to why Perry hasn’t more aggressively tried to get back to his jobs narrative. Where’s his jobs plan? What’s his proposal to get the economy back on track, and translate his perceived “Texas miracle” nation-wide? When is his major keynote speech on the economy, which goes beyond his usual sound bytes and lays out serious proposals and explains his economic plan, and contrasts it with President Obama’s performance?
Could it be – horror of horrors – that since Perry didn’t really create those jobs (Texas businesses are to credit, not our aloof Governor), that he has no clue how to replicate Texas’ success nation-wide? Did somebody finally inform Governor Perry that Republican Governor George Bush before him was equally successful in creating jobs, and Democratic Governor Ann Richards before Bush had astounding job numbers as well?
Could it be that somebody has finally informed Perry that Texas was a conservative pro-business state long before Rick Perry arrived on the scene, and just because Perry became the rooster who crowed about it, he’s not the one who made the sun come up?
Could it be that Rick Perry has no vision, has no plan, and is the candidate who is a mile wide, but only an inch deep?
Every day, a new round of charges against Perry made by his opponents, or dug up by reporters, comes to light. Every day, somebody asks me if this is the end for Perry’s campaign. And so far, every day I have said that I don’t believe it is.
But sooner or later, it will be, if Perry stays on defense. Rick Perry can’t be the “what the hell do you mean by that?” candidate, and maintain hope that voters will know anything about what he’ll do about their greatest concerns.
Republican primary voters are going to have to decide what their priorities are, and Rick Perry’s going to have to decide what his campaign is about. Otherwise, Perry will fade away.
Meanwhile, Texans cringe. Sheesh, back in the day, the Texan in the race would at least get himself elected President before completely embarrassing us. So far, Perry is way ahead of schedule.