GOP debate recap: Danger time for Rick Perry

If you are inclined to think someone other than Barack Obama should be president as night falls on the 20th of January 2013, and if you have seen the many opinion polls showing Rick Perry leading the Republican field, and if you watched Thursday night’s GOP debate, then some version of this scene has to be creeping in your head, and keeping you up at night:

It’s autumn 2012. The race between Obama and Perry is running neck and neck. Perry jumped out to a lead of several percentage points after finally defeating Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, in large part because the economy is still stagnant and the Republican base is energized. But Obama has climbed back into a statistical tie and is making his challenger earn the win, because that’s what incumbent presidents do.

The two candidates are appearing in their first head-to-head, televised debate. The great middle of the American public is tuning in, only now beginning to decide who to pick: the current guy, whose performance hasn’t really wowed them and might have even ticked them off a bit, or the other guy, about whom they’ve read a few headlines but not much of substance.

The debate begins, and it hardly matters what Perry is saying — because the way he’s saying it is demanding all attention. He has a slight smirk on his face as he prepares to deliver the one-liners written down for him…which he nevertheless proceeds to stumble over. He avoids eye contact with Obama. If he doesn’t play offense well, he sure doesn’t play defense well, either — and he’s even worse at trying to change the subject. Obama seems calm and reassuring.

The great middle of the American public squirms on their couches listening to Perry. They’re not even sure what he said once the debate is over. But they just have a hard time imagining him saying anything that sounds good standing on a stage next to Vladimir Putin, or what’s-his-name from China.

The debate ends, and even Frank Luntz can’t conjure a pro-Perry response from a Fox News focus group. Oh, the poll numbers tomorrow…

***

Seriously, folks, I thought it was that bad for Perry on Thursday night. This was his third debate in three weeks, and he doesn’t seem to have gotten much better. Debating is but one skill, and it arguably isn’t one of the 20 or even 50 most important skills a president should possess. But it’s definitely one of the top couple of skills a presidential candidate must possess.

The 2012 election is one that conservatives view as absolutely vital. And they can’t stomach the prospect of picking a nominee whom Obama — a man who has campaigned for just about every losing candidate in America the last two years, and whose speeches on behalf of any given policy tend to lessen popular support for that policy — could pick apart on stage like Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense playing against a high-school defense.

As I’ve already noted, it hardly even mattered what Perry was actually saying. However, I’d note that, on the answers he gave most articulately — about illegal immigration and the HPV vaccine — he was defending positions with which a great many Republican primary voters are not going to agree. (And, in the case of the HPV answer, offering a rationale that may not be true.) He was beaten up at times by Rick Santorum, last seen getting pummeled in his Senate re-election bid. He was consistently outmatched by Romney, even though Romney managed to make one of the dumbest statements anyone could make in a debate: “There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.” (Think that won’t end up in an advertisement or 20 in the coming months?)

At one point, he talked about wanting to “mate up” Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain (in response to a question about which other contender he’d like to have as a running mate).

It was a bad night for the Texan.

Can he still win? Yes, of course. Even against Obama? Yes.

But he’ll have to give some performances that put this one well into the recesses of the minds of voters and, especially, the Republican bigwigs who, before they trust him with their donations and endorsements, will need reassurance that they won’t end up watching the aforementioned scene on a stage next autumn.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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152 comments Add your comment

Rick in Grayson

September 23rd, 2011
5:54 am

81% of the jobs created in Texas since 2007 went to newly arrived immigrants, split about 50/50 between legal and illegal immigrants! Many of the legal immigrants had college degrees or some college.

How can we get out of our jobs “hole” when we can’t even keep up with population growth and our jobs our going to newly arrived immigrants?

We should reduce legal immigration by 90% and deny illegal aliens jobs by mandating the use of E-Verify.

Perry shouldn’t be touting his “JOBS” success when only 20% where filled by US citizens who need these jobs. He is also providing in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens. Those Texas Universities and Colleges also get federal funding, so we are all paying for decisions made in Texas to subsidize college educations for illegal aliens and their children. This is creating a jobs magnet drawing illegals to the US when their children can get taxpayer funded subsidized college educations. Many simply “visit” and overstay their visas (which we don’t track), so it’s not like they are treking through the desert to get into the US.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
6:43 am

Perrt= Busg without yje brains

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
6:44 am

Perry= Bush without the brains

Had my fingers on the wrong keys

Ronnie Raygun

September 23rd, 2011
6:46 am

Boss Hog or Gordon Gecko? Is that the best you got? LOL!

Get ready to enjoy 4 more years!

Joe The Plumber too.

September 23rd, 2011
6:54 am

Bad night for Perry- agreed! Johnson, who cares, too little too late. Santorum stating we need to stay in Afganistan & Iraq won’t help him. Professor Newt will make a good advisor. Agreed, Romney made a blunder and a half with his statement, Bachmann is fading fast and is trying to line up the number 2 gig. Cain had a great night but again too little too late. The moonbat dialed it down a bit but he is still loopy as they come. Huntsman may be our next Treasury Sec. All in all, I’d score it Romney win followed by Cain with everyone else looking like also rans.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
7:11 am

Here is a poll that proves Paul won the debate

http://kfyo.com/who-won-last-nights-gop-debate-poll/

Ol' Timer

September 23rd, 2011
7:12 am

The brilliance of the “Texas Miracle” had far less to do with Rich Perry than it did with the confluence of circumstances that made him look smarter than he is: an energy rich state with a decade of increasing energy prices; 14,700 defense contractors who received $370 billion in government contracts to support The Ten Years Wars; 15 military bases; and, state laws that prevented the subprime mortgage crisis to name just a few of the components of the miracle.

However, none of that matters.

The oligarchs will have to reject Romney because he’s too bright, even though he makes gaffes. He’s too independent and would be hard to control.

Perry is the only logical candidate. He is as ambitious as Lucifer and knows how to win. There’s a real question about his ability to govern; but the oligarchs will tell him what to do and how to do it. They don’t want to occupy the Oval Office. They want to own it and Perry is the candidate who will be the recipient of their largess —- tens of millions of dollars.

It’ll be a tight race costing each candidate at least a billion dollars, but Perry will step on his scrotum if led away from his talking points and Obama will emerge as the “known quantity” as opposed to another dim-witted cowboy from Texas. Geehaw!

West Indian Charlie

September 23rd, 2011
7:17 am

Another George Bush? The similarities are striking. And this guy is the front runner. Heavens help us if he is elected President.

dcb

September 23rd, 2011
7:21 am

How about that! Even Kyle already adding to the media-blitz that will eventually decide who the winner of the November ‘12 presidential election will be. I still say let’s simply let the news media folk do the voting for all of us. It would save all of us the misery of listening to this election dribble for almost two years, put all the money it costs to better use, and give the country the advantage of freeing up the incumbents to do the job they were elected to do. After all, it is the news media rhetoric and writings that shape American minds to vote the way the media wants anyway.

Ayn Rant

September 23rd, 2011
7:23 am

Bush II Redux! Kyle is right, Perry’s swaggering demeanor and ol’boy affectations will turn off even shallow-thinking Republicans outside Texas and the South. Romney has a smoother delivery and a better accent.

The Republican banner-bearer in 2012 will need superb guile and deceit, and all the campaign money that Big Business and the right wing asset-plunderers can muster, to sell from that wagon of crap that is the Republican platform.

Jack

September 23rd, 2011
7:33 am

I’ll vote for the GOP nominee, whoever it may be. However, I wish it were Giuliani.

Donna P.

September 23rd, 2011
7:34 am

Very disappointing that Perry called people “heartless” for not supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrates. I’m glad Romney explained that equates to nearly $100,000 in tax dollars for each of these illegal immigrates to attend state colleges for FREE.

Donna P.

September 23rd, 2011
7:35 am

Sorry I meant immigrants. It’s early.

JDW

September 23rd, 2011
7:41 am

I think you got the headline wrong Kyle, the danger is to the US not to Perry. Our country can’t take a “dumbed down” version of Duhbya.

I know you like to nash your teeth about the “damage” Obama has done to the economy so riddle me this, exactly what is worse now than it was in January 2009?

Jack

September 23rd, 2011
7:42 am

The Presidency is there for the taking by the republicans but, I swear, they are going to blow this thing by nominating Perry.

The business of America is big business, the economic train that drives America. The republicans have the businessman (Romney) to drive the train.

Republicans/tea party voters need to get over this silly romance with the big Texan, concentrate on economic issues and employment and give just enough “lip service” to social issues to satisfy that wing of the republican voter.

Romney is not perfect but, then again, if you are waiting for the perfect candidate, your wait will be lengthy.

IF watched the debate last night and are not concerned/embarassed by Perry’s performance, you are not helping to elect a republican president in 2012.

mike

September 23rd, 2011
7:47 am

Maybe Perry can show up as Yosemite Sam at the debate. That should really help his image and his conversation and ideas should go over big with the goobers out there.

KyleKyleGoAway

September 23rd, 2011
7:47 am

Oh, the cliches. “…could pick apart on stage like Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense playing against a high-school defense.” And the wanton ignorance, as in “what’s-his-name from China.” Much like Perry, Kyle,it “hardly even matter[s] what [you are] actually saying.”

GOP debate: Winners and losers – CBS News

September 23rd, 2011
7:51 am

[...] Johnson and some dogsLos Angeles TimesWashington Post (blog) -San Francisco Chronicle -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 5,176 news [...]

Get on with it

September 23rd, 2011
7:58 am

Perry supports illegals over americans. Havent we had enough of being put on the back shelf. I am looking at Romney who has said his health care plan is fare and away different then Obama care and he will remove that. We need jobs here and we need the fair tax. We need someone who will actualy work and make real changes. Because if they dont, the americans will trust nobody and put a third party in the White House. Its now or never for the Republicans to stand up and be counted.

Joe the Plutocrat

September 23rd, 2011
7:58 am

Joe the Plumber Too, your reference to Johnson says it all; too little, too late? for what? for whom? what is “little” about a record of (not predictions of) shrinking government, balancing budgets, private sector job growth, and vetoing over 700 spending bills as Chief Executive? and how is he too late? the American public’s (left and right) penchant for simultaneously complaining about and endorsing an unacceptable status quo (and replacing 6 inches of defective pipe with 1/2 dozen inches of defective pipe) is depressing. ‘Ol Timer speaks the truth, but I disagree with his comment about Romney. as the son of a plutocrat, and having been an oligarch himself; Romney is as smart as he needs to be.

kayaker 71

September 23rd, 2011
8:02 am

Perry’s gaffs take a definite backseat to the debacle that now occupies the WH. His comments on educating illegals won’t wash with the majority of conservatives. Cain or Santorum would be a much better candidate and could win, especially Cain. Not so sure that someone who five years out from Stage 4 colorectal cancer is qualified to occupy the WH, however. Newt is the smartest and best qualified to be president but the GOP will never stand for it. Paul is a bit nutty, like most libertarians. Really liked that dude’s comments about his neighbor’s dogs. Very appropriate. It’s early yet. Anything can happen…. and probably will.

common sense

September 23rd, 2011
8:20 am

Ron Paul look more like a presidential Candidate than Perry did last night.

Stonethrower

September 23rd, 2011
8:28 am

Perry will win because he looks the part. He is what started this country. The current occupant is just an experiment gone wrong.

Bo Duke

September 23rd, 2011
8:30 am

Kyle,
Hate to break the news to you but Obama is going to lose to whomever the GOP nomonates.
I wonder what it would be like for the AJC to print the opinion of someone that is not the typical lib d-bag!! guess i will never know……..

ByteMe

September 23rd, 2011
8:33 am

exactly what is worse now than it was in January 2009?

Kyle’s ability to sell GOP turds to the ignorant masses. Oh, wait, that was mostly blown before that point.

interested observer

September 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

The GOP primary season works to Obama’s advantage. As the contenders try to move as far to the right as they can to suck up to the tea party, they alienate the independents they’ll need to win next November. Once the “winner” emerges and people see the two choices, Obama is going to look a lot better than he does now.

carlosgvv

September 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

West Indian Charlie

Bush got elected twice and it’s going to be many years, if ever, before America recovers from all the damage he did. So, don’t appeal to heaven as it’s clear that won’t help.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
8:35 am

common sense

September 23rd, 2011
8:20 am

It’s good to have another real CONSERVATIVE poster here.

brad

September 23rd, 2011
8:36 am

Well, Fanboy, maybe you can draft Rubio.

Bart Abel

September 23rd, 2011
8:38 am

I don’t understand Republican primary voters. They claimed that Obama lacked patriotism, in part, because he didn’t wear a flag pin on his lapel 100 percent of the time. Now these same “patriots” are strongly considering nominating a person for president who recently flirted with the idea of having his state secede from the union (Perry now falsely claims that this isn’t true).

This is only one in a series of double standards. A reasonable person might get the impression that most of the things that they choose to criticize Obama for is what they call “manufactured outrage”.

Bart Abel

September 23rd, 2011
8:49 am

Speaking of patriotism, or lack thereof, the debate audience last night booed a U.S. Army soldier fighting in Iraq. Stay classy, guys.

Joe the Plutocrat

September 23rd, 2011
8:51 am

kayaker71, stonethrower, and other Perry worshippers; if you “strategy” is to complain about, or cite the incompetence and ineffectiveness of the current POTUS, as opposed to dismissing the incompetence and ineffectiveness of your candidate; as Ronnie Raygun noted; you’re basically endorsing four more years of Obama. we all know what is wrong with Obama; let’s not spend time telling each other how GOP candidates are similar to Obama; let’s establish how they are different (beyond having GOP candidate after their name(s)). Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are the only two true fiscal conservative and Constitutional conservatives in the GOP pool. perhaps we need to form a Constitutional Party, but given the two-party dog and pony show (and the nature of the Electorial College) this is a pipe dream; so it’s up to you “cons” you can change the status quo or you can accept the exact same “change” we got in 2008.

jt

September 23rd, 2011
8:53 am

To all of you frightened people out there who have no confidence and look to Uncle Sugar for comfort and protection.
.
Ron Paul believes in free commerce and individual liberty. He does NOT believe in Coercion.
.
After Ron Paul becomes president…………you may still give Washington your money for managing.You may still let Washington manage your retirement and healthcare.And you may still rely on Washington to protect you from rotten peanuts, bad drugs, and weird beards.
.
He only advocates letting the smarter people “opt out”.

.
As far as the perpetual wars……….there might be a problem there.You might have to actually fight them yourself instead of chest beating from your armchair……..Like Americans did against Franco.

jt

September 23rd, 2011
8:54 am

I hope my above post helped quell some knee-shaking.

Give me a break

September 23rd, 2011
8:55 am

The Republicans have two parties. The first party are the social conservatives. The second party are the super rich and corporations who only want to gain more financial assets. These folks use social issues to control the country by receiving government contracts, reduced taxes/regulations, etc.

The rich Republicans can’t stand these social conservatives but need their votes. They couldn’t stand Bush because he was too country and too dumb but Bush followed their orders. And, these Rich Republicans accumulated a lot of financial power during the Bush years.

The Rich Republicans can’t stand Perry not because he is dumber than Bush but because Perry will be more difficult to control. And, because he is an embarrassment. Can you imagine inviting Perry to give a speech to the Super Rich Republican private clubs in New York?

Cosby

September 23rd, 2011
9:02 am

Who is Perry…he looks and acts smug, does not, at least in the debates, seem to have a handle on anything, from the economy and domestic problems to the international scene. Mitt is just another lifer politician who thinks The Government should be in control, Michelle only attribute is she will repeal Obama care, after that who knows, damn, they are all making Ron Paul look like a real knowledgeable person. Once again ,no real statesman is stepping up to the plate, except perhaps Herman Cain, but his weakness is the american public is having trouble understanding his programs and solutions. Now, we fully understand why the founding fathers realized the citizens did not or were not capable of selecting a president and established the electorial college. Time for the electorial college to ignore the votes and select a real statesman that will put the country first and the lobbyest 99th. After all, look what has happened when the electorial ignored their duty..just look at what we got!! Thanks to dumb voters!!

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
9:02 am

Politico has the nest headline ever:

“Texas toast? Perry worries GOP”

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
9:05 am

I have to start reading these before posting

Politico has the Best headline ever:

“Texas toast? Perry worries GOP”

Joe the Plutocrat

September 23rd, 2011
9:11 am

jt, my knees have been shaking; not due to fear of the unknown (Paul, Johnson), but rather the fear that our two choices in 2012 will be Bush ver 2.0 (Obama) or Bush ver 3.0 (Perry). Cosby, the other candidates are not “making Ron Paul look like a real knowledgeable person”. Ron Paul is making the other candidate look dumb, but sadly enough, Americans prefer dumb because, well, most Americans are dumb. As far as Herman Cain goes; and I have said this before; he is a politician in private sector clothing and nothing more. his much ballyhooed success at Pepsico and Godfather’s pizza was due in part to the “entitlement programs” he vilifies (EBT, social security, etc.). and the fact that he has Federal Reserve Bank on his resume suggests that he has destroyed more jobs than he could ever profess to create. in essence; he’s Romney, which means he’s an oligarch/plutocrat at his core.

Aurelius

September 23rd, 2011
9:25 am

Kyle, you pretty well nailed Perry.

Perry is a male version of Palin and Bachmann.

First, there are enough dumb remarks in his book to guarantee his defeat in a general election. The rule is that is you are going to run for president, write a book that says nothing and paints you as the underdog. Perry wrote a book to sell to the 25% of the right wing of American politics.

If you are running for president make speeches that sound wonderful but say nothing substantive. See Reagan. See Clinton. See Bush. See Obama.

With your advisors carefully craft a script. Then stay on message.

theTruth

September 23rd, 2011
9:25 am

Reagan closed the mental hospitals and the Tea Party pick some of it previous members to lead their party. Why?

LtCol Razorback,

September 23rd, 2011
9:30 am

For Rick on Grayson. — Your immigrant ancestors should have been among those denied to immigrate to the U.S. because legal immigration quotas were reduced by 90 percent!

I’m tired of hearing you, and others, from complaining about how immigrants are taking away all of the available jobs!

There is only one area where that argument is valid…they are taking away the jobs that Americans don’t want and won’t do. Such jobs include harvesting food from the fields, putting new roofs on houses while working in 90+ degree heat and skin burning sunlight, mowing grass, raking up leaves, cutting down dead trees, busing restaurant tables, cleaning motel rooms and bathrooms, and about a hundred other low paying jobs without any kind of benefits.

Until you have one of those types of jobs and it is taken away by an immigrant (legal or illegal), it is better for you to keep YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT!!!

ragnar danneskjold

September 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

I respectfully disagree with the thesis, and I describe myself as a Cain-man. Only an extraordinarily small percentage of the population makes a voting decision based on the sound bites presented at the debates. I suspect President Ford prematurely freeing the people of Poland hurt him by reinforcing the Chevy Chase stereotype. President Carter consulting his daughter over “nukular” issues reinforced the rabbit-attackee/military-disasters-in-Iran lightweight image. In contrast, President Obama candidly admitted that issues were above his pay-grade – a revelation most Americans are now coming to fully understand – and that did not seem to hurt him. I think Mr. Perry, if nominated, could stumble through two hours of inanities, be proclaimed the loser by all pundits, and still gather an electoral win.

ragnar danneskjold

September 23rd, 2011
9:36 am

As to the “appearances” thing, I admit I do not remember the Kennedy-Nixon debates. I remember the early 1960s as a pretty shallow time for our culture, even without a Lady Gaga. Maybe a sweaty or bald or obese candidate would repel today, but I think even a homosexual or avowed atheist could win as a republican next year, if he/she were right on the issues.

Grasshopper

September 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

“I know you like to nash your teeth about the “damage” Obama has done to the economy so riddle me this, exactly what is worse now than it was in January 2009?”

Brilliant! Obama should use this as his campaign slogan — Exactly What is Worse? Love it!

MarkV

September 23rd, 2011
9:42 am

The hilarious dumbness of some of the answers by Bachmann and Santorum were the highlights of the debate.

Churchill's MOM.....Ron Paul for President

September 23rd, 2011
9:58 am

ragnar danneskjold

September 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

Is your son back yet? I often think of him and other brave troops.

Junior Samples

September 23rd, 2011
9:58 am

In a stroke of genius, Perry will pick Palin as his running mate. They will both smile, wave, and wink at the cameras. Catch phrases with no substance will flutter about the media airwaves. To avoid ‘gotcha’ questions, they will turn away, or repeat one of their pre-approved (by Karl Rove of course) catch phrases. Something like “We were Governors of the two largest states, of course we can lead this great nation!”

Landslide victory for Obama in 2012.

You betcha.
How’s that “insert cute summary of x, y, or z” workin’ out fer ‘ya

You get the picture.

Rafe Hollister

September 23rd, 2011
10:09 am

Romney tracks lightly, as a true politician, as he knows me may need to back up. Perry takes these big strides and leaves deep tracks, making it almost impossible to retreat without signs. This has and will sink him. The folk have had it with illegal immigration and his policy of giving them preferential treatment is not going to play in Waycross. I was a Perry fan, but his tone deafness on immigration has convinced me he is toast.

Not that it makes much difference what anyone in Georgia thinks, as we do not get to vote until after someone has built a big lead and is on the roll to victory bandwagon.

WhererdarealConservatives

September 23rd, 2011
10:10 am

Last Night’s Debate = Plane crashing into a Train