Stephen Hayward advances a solid argument that Romney has the lock on the nomination. As I read it, the core of is argument is that Romney is the seasoned Republican campaigner, whose weaknesses have already been thoroughly exposed by a hostile media. Perry still has ahead, as Hayward says, a comprehensive and public proctological exam. This will come from both the Left and the Right. Pamela Geller is already raising a problematic challenge to Perry based upon his being too chummy with sharia.
As you may remember, during the last election, Romney was my candidate of choice at this blog. The error of Romneycare notwithstanding, I thought he was the best candidate in the pack. He may still be the best candidate in this pack. The problem, though, is that all the drilling and training in the world hasn’t made him anything but a boring stump speaker. He also has the RomneyCare albatross hanging around his neck. That was a problem in 2008, before ObamaCare. It’s a disaster in 2011/2012 after ObamaCare. Lastly, Romney has also been out of the governance loop for quite a while now, which doesn’t give voters any idea about how he’d deal with the present crises.
Perry is, in many ways, Romney’s opposite. He is a galvanizing speaker who says all the right things. Subject to a few hiccups, his governing style is small government. It’s impossible for to imagine Perry advancing “PerryCare.” And finally, Perry has the Texas economy at his back. It’s easy to say that, after eight years of Bush, voters don’t want another Texan, but the fact is that Texas’ economic record is overwhelmingly strong in a time when our nation and our other states our bleeding heavily.
Ultimately, Perry’s speech-making skills, his small government approach, and his state’s economic success will probably wipe out Romney’s crown prince advantage. I say this without regard to either candidate’s actual merits. In this peculiar election year, practical virtues and political dues paying aside, Perry’s going to have the edge.
By the way, have you noticed that the three who have become the instant Republican frontrunners are all extremely good looking people? The same media that swooned about the jug-eared Obama’s effeminate moobs (I think they called them pecs) isn’t going to mention this fact, of course, but voters may have a subliminal response to how good any one of these three will look at the first post-election G-8 summit.
UPDATE: JJ’s on the money when he comments that Bachmann has one big problem — inexperience. James Taranto makes the same point, one with which I wholeheartedly agree:
The most obvious parallel is in the quantity and quality of their political experience. On Election Day 2008, Obama was nearing the end of his fourth year in the U.S. Senate; 2012 will be Bachmann’s sixth year in the House. Both came to Washington after stints in their state senates, where Obama served eight years and Bachmann six. Although both quickly gained national prominence as opposition spokesmen, neither is about to be mistaken for Lyndon B. Johnson in terms of legislative acumen or accomplishment.
During the 2008 election, much was made of Palin’s inexperience, with the logical counter being that she was running for Vice President, not President. Here, though, Bachmann is aiming for the top position and, while her values are better than Obama’s, and I think she’s smarter, she is every bit as inexperienced as he is when it comes to the ins and outs of managing a vast government enterprise.