Perry vs. Romney open thread *UPDATED*

Back in 2007 and 2008, I pretty strongly supported Romney.  If you check out my Mitt Romney category of posts, you’ll see myriad posts in which I praised his economic acumen and his character.  It looks as if I’ll be dusting those posts off again.  When Perry came on the scene, I liked his fire, his American pride, and his small government attitude.  His fire, though, seems to have turned into painful self-immolation and, unless he miraculously improves his showing in a few days, I don’t seem him going anywhere.

Romney had three problems going into 2008:  Romney Care, his Mormonism (which I don’t mind, but which worries or is offensive to many Americans, both religious and non-religious), and his slightly plastic demeanor.  He has only one problem now:  Romney Care.  Obama is so bad, most conservatives and many independents will willingly overlook both his faith and his demeanor.  Romney Care, however, is a problem.  As I said back in 2008, though, there is no perfect candidate.  Romney was better than McCain back then, and he’s definitely better than Obama now.

As I’ve mentioned before in my posts, my support for one primary candidate or another is purely hypothetical.  By the time the primaries reach California, it’s all over anyway (and, with California’s new open primary law, thank God for that, ’cause I really don’t need to have the Democrats selecting my Republican candidate).

What say you?

UPDATE:  Since I didn’t watch the debate, I have no idea if James Taranto’s statement is accurate, but I just love the imagery (emphasis mine):

Rick Perry was awful in last night’s debate. Just awful. The swaggering Texas governor kept scrapping with the chipper Mitt Romney, and he kept losing. It was like watching Donny Osmond dominate John Wayne.

There’s still room for Perry to grow and move, and as the Duchess of Austin said in her comment, he’s still got much stronger conservative chops than Mitt with regard to everything except illegal aliens.  Both are better than McCain was in 2008.  (I still haven’t grasp how McCain got the lock on the Republican nomination back then, but that’s another story entirely.)

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  • Duchess of Austin

    I agree with you about the plastic demeanor, Madame Bookworm.  I’ve always found Romney quite distasteful and to me, he’s more of a (maybe) conservative democrat than an actual conservative.  He just looks like a snake oil salesman and I seriously doubt that a real conservative could ever get elected dog catcher, let alone governor, in Taxachusetts.  He’s a younger John McCain with better hair. 
    Romney is saddled with the same albatross as Obama, ergo in any debate they would cancel each other out.  Also, Romney would have a problem running on his actual record as governor.  Unfortunately for us, it’s not all that great, and he would be unable to really take it to Obama either on the issue of poor performance in office, or Obamacare.  Perry, in spite of a few stumbles and his relatively soft stance on illegal immigration, suffers from neither of the above referenced shortcomings.  He can run on a very successful several terms as governor of Texas and he can walk all over Obama on Obamacare.  IMO, his terms as governor of anything give him a leg up in experience on the present occupant of the oval office.  I’m terrified that Romney will get the nod and Obama will skate into another 4 years because people like me will see no reason to vote for yet another unsuitable candidate.  I held my nose to vote last time for McCain, but I won’t do it again for another RINO.  I’d rather see the rise of a new, third party that more closely reflects my beliefs and if another 4 years of the disaster of O is what it takes, I’m ok with that.

  • Alix

    I am with you Book.   Romney is really growing on me.  In 2008 I didn’t like him at all — seemed like a big Ken doll to me.  But now that Perry seems unable to rise to the occasion — Romney is starting to look like a knight in shining armor to me because I think he is our only hope now of beating Obama!


    The slate of candidates look more and more like a blank slate to me. I just can’t connect to any of them.
    I have an incredible urge to bitch-slap the smirk off of Perry’s face.
    Romney is brittle. A Mormon slice of matzah (how’s that for a mixed metaphor). Cain, has a more impressive resume than the constant introduction of CEO of Godfather Pizza. I like him and he is likeable. Newt is Oldt news. Too much baggage, too many smart-ass remarks. I think he’s just keeping himself amused until he finds something else to do. Ron Paul – in a word “loopy” and drifts in and out of loopdom with ease, which should scare the hell out of everyone. Bachmann – not ready for prime time. Huntsman – He can speak Mandarin. Great, if he wants a job in Beijing. Santorum – one “Rick” too many. He’s looking for a job in an administration.
    If this is what the GOP is offering. we better get to work on electing GOP senators, too.
    Two-thirds of a loaf is better than one-third.

  • Duchess of Austin

    I agree.  Love Herman Cain but I think his chances are negligible.  He’d make a great cabinet head!  Maybe….head of the EPA?  *grin*  I can fantasize about environazis heads exploding…..*sigh*
    The rest of the field is a big MEH.  Perry looks the best to me in terms of being able to wipe up the floor with Obama in a debate, on the face of it, but as the incumbent, does Obama even have to do a debate?  Perry avoided it with Bill White in Texas so I’m wondering if Obama has the same option.

  • Spartacus

    I don’t get it.
    If Perry wanted to make stone-cold certain that heartless conservatives like me don’t vote for him in the primary, wouldn’t it have been less trouble just not to get into the race in the first place?
    Some people always have to do things the hard way…


    Be still my heart …. 
    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering his decision not to enter the 2012 presidential race — and he says he will let top Republican donors know within days about his plans, Newsmax has learned.
      Chris Christie Reconsidering 2012 Run, Will Decide in Days

  • Bookworm

    Serious question here, not a facetious one:  Do you believe that, in an intensely media driven age, the American people will vote for a guy who is not just pleasingly plump but actually morbidly obese?  There would, of course, be a certain poetic quality to replacing the dour, anorexic Obama, a man who has killed off the fat of the land, with a cheerful, fat man who aims to bring America’s economic lushness back.

  • 94Corvette

    I am a Texan so this has been really interesting to watch. When you come down to the bottom line, both Romney and Perry are country-club Repubs. (as Hillbuzz terms them – the Cucumber Sandwich crowd).  On the children of illegals getting in-state tuitition.  I have very mixed thoughts about this.  To qualify, you must show that you have been in the state for a number of years.  In Texas we don’t have income taxes so our universities are funded by sales and property taxes.  If you live here, you pay them.  The argument is made that an Oklahoman should also qualify for lower tuition.  One major difference, they have never paid taxes in Texas.  One arguement for giving the children of illegals the tuition break is that it will take them off the welfare roles – but if we educate them, we cannot legally employ them after graduation as they are illegal.  Kind of a catch 22.  The other issues are of course the mandating of HPV vacinations and a lesser know one, the “Trans Texas Corridor”.  The latter issue is very troublesome to those of us who value property rights and who resent foreign countries getting huge contracts and owning Texas toll roads. I liked Romney but his refusal to back away from Romneycare is very troubling, very troubling.  We are in uncharted waters with our economy and rapidly approaching the breakers.  Unless we replace Obama with a President who can inspire us to reach down inside and become the USA we truly are, we are doomed.  Replacing Obama is not enough.  Both Republican and Democrats in our Congress are betraying us.  Our Founding Fathers never intended to establish a ruling class of professional politicians.  We have all seen the quote about the downfall of democracy beginning when people realize they can vote themselves benefits.  Usually we think of that in context of the 47% who pay no taxes but it really applys to our politicians who have engourged themselves at our expense.     

  • suek

    We’re on the same page.  I keep waiting for one of the panels who’s supposed to employ these young people once they’ve graduated from college. 
    I sympathize with him – they’re Texans – they should be able to attend the Texas universities.  But the fact remains that they’re still illegal and theoretically, unemployable.  Talk about a blueprint for developing a _very_ resentful activist group.  I can’t help but think he expects them to be granted amnesty – and that bothers me.
    I disagree with you about Perry being a “cucumber sandwich” Republican…his father was a cotton farmer, and he worked with his father after graduating from Texas A&M.  He started into politics by way of Agriculture.  His statement about the difference between Bush and him – Bush went to Yale, he went to Texas A&M says it all.  He’s an aggie.  Still, he’s certainly learned how to rub elbows with the country club bunch – and it may well have rubbed off onto him. I’m assuming that he spent many years working with agriculturally employed Mexicans.  They’re hardworking and he respects them.  I sympathize – but the solution is to fix the immigration rules, not just ignore them.  His problem is that he can’t deport them – so what else can he do but educate them?  Can of worms. 

  • skullbuster

    Two, no, three quick quotes:
    “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. ”
    Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816
    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”
    > John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”
    Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution



  • Alix

    Book Yes — I think people would vote for an obese candidate.  Especially since Christie is so good at joking about it.  Also, I think he has lost some weight. Anyway — I don’t think there are any electability rules left anymore.  Hillary came close even after Bill’s known activities in the oval office.  And I never would have thought that Obama could get elected with his weird church, his unusual name, his wife’s statements — and what about that mole on his face!   (why doesn’t he get that removed anyway — does anyone else ever wonder that). I think almost anything goes nowadays….

  • Mike Devx

    Book says: As I’ve mentioned before in my posts, my support for one primary candidate or another is purely hypothetical.

     Book, the debates are not just for the voters to make up their minds on who to support, nor is your support for any candidate just purely hypothetical.  The debates help *influential* people make up their minds as well, and the influential people have bully pulpits that can lend momentum to one candidate or another.

    I’m just a voter.  You, Book, are a voter and are influential, to a wider number of people than you probably realize!

  • Mike Devx

    I’d vote for just about any GOP candidate over Obama.

    My overall hope is that we have a Communicator with Coat-tails, who inspires conservatives AND draws independents into the fold, and even some Democrats, and we take the Senate and even approach a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  I want to see another landmark election in 2012, to follow that of 2010, sending shock waves through the political establishment.

    That can happen only if our Presidential candidate can use the bully pulpit to COMMUNICATE and inspire.

    Also, to save this country, the President is going to have to have a spine like we haven’t seen before.  If he wilts under pressure, nothing is going to change in D.C.

    I’d been thinking Rick Perry could be the one to communicate, inspire, and have a strong backbone; but last night’s debate performance was so awful, so meandering and nearly incoherent.  Pauses where there shouldn’t have been pauses, disjointed, emotionally flat, non-connecting, rambling…  I was shocked.  And unfortunately it was the most-watched GOP debate yet.  But, on the other hand, it’s only one debate.

    Not one of these candidates is perfect, nor should we expect perfection.  Right now I’m on the fence on all of them.  Wait and see, wait and see.


    unfortunately it was the most-watched GOP debate yet.
    They ‘debates’ haven’t really been debates, more like  Q&A sessions with no two candidates being asked the same question, which prompted a few of them wanting to answer a question that wasn’t even asked of them. Maybe after the field gets to three or four, there will be more clarity.
    In the meantime, I feel like I’ve watched three episodes of “Who wants to be president.” 

  • Danny Lemieux

    Understand that I would vote for any of the people on that debate stage if they were the Republican nominee against Obama…even Ron Paul. My conclusion from those debates was that, even though only one can be nominated, all offered serious talent that deserves serious consideration in the next administration (yes, even Paul).

    That being said: I think Perry was awful, absolutely awful, in his responses to some very basic questions for which he should have been prepared; Romney came across as evasive, petty but nonetheless very electable; Newt Gingrich was brilliant and funny (though I am fully aware of his Tourette-like quirks when he starts thinking out loud)…he came across as the most knowledgeable and intelligent man on the stage; Herman Cain was solid, thoughtful and likable, but he didn’t get nearly enough air time during which to hammer his points; ditto for Michele Bachman, who redeemed herself quite well after the previous debate disaster; Santorum and Johnson both earned the right for more serious consideration. I went to sleep (I’ve been on East Coast time, lately). 

    I think there is plenty of time for a Christie, Guliani or Palin to jump in the race after others self-destruct. Regarding the question about Christie’s weight – the U.S. has had two “fat” Presidents, Grover Cleveland (D) and William Howard Taft (R). Both were grossly overweight at a time when America was much thinner and also more religious, meaning that many people of that time associated overweight people with the sin of “gluttony” (hmmm…not all that different from today’s secular Left religion, come to think of it). Then as now, many jokes and crass comments were made about the candidates’ weight I think that Christie would have no trouble overcoming this issue.

    Let the games continue. 

  • Mike Devx

    Danny L 15: Newt Gingrich was brilliant and funny (though I am fully aware of his Tourette-like quirks when he starts thinking out loud)
    I agree and I haven’t mentioned Newt Gingrich yet.  He’s been so good in these debates lately that I’m now looking forward to every one of his answers.  And he’s consistently taking on the media and Obama with really good assault bites on both of them.  I’m extremely glad he’s up there on the stage even though I don’t want him to be my candidate.

    I am even looking forward to his new “Contract With America.”  I am really looking forward to reading it.  He was calling it “much deeper and much more profound and broad” than the 1004 Contract Wtih America.  And I bet it is.  Perhaps he will be the ideas guy whose Contract focuses the others. 

    Herman Cain did a good job on the “Chilean Model” for fixing Social Security when he (finally!) noted that 28 other countries are following that or similar plans, to good benefit.  Why did it take him so long to point that out?  I didn’t know that…  As other bloggers noted, his attack on ObamaCare – “I wouldn’t be alive today” – was also very good.  I like him a lot but his political inexperience to me puts him as a top-notch Cabinet member, but not President.  He seems to “feel the call” to be President and nothing politically less, so I wonder if his ego could handle being “merely” in the Cabinet…



    Herman Cain:
    Former deputy chairman and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    Mathematician in ballistics for the US Navy.
    Business analyst for Coca-Cola.
    Vice President for Pillsbury (who owned Godfather’s Pizza until Cain and other investors bought the division)
    CEO National Restaurant Assoc.
    He’s most definitely a self-made man. I don’t think he has realized the importance of getting the message out quickly and clearly. My guess is that because he is a self-starter, who gets the assigned job done and done well, that he has over-looked the difference between business and politics.

  • Lauren K.

    Perry booted this debate.
    I was taken aback when I heard about the border fence and the tuition break for children of illegal immigrants. If Perry plays his cards right, he might be able to spin the tuition issue into a compassionate conservative thing. Maybe. He also needs to explain why he feels that “boots on the ground” is/are more sufficient than a border fence.
    I’ve always scratched my head about Romney. There has been something about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on and I think you said it best Madam Bookworm – his slightly plastic demeanor.
    -Lauren out

  • Ymarsakar

    Actions speaker louder than words. All these debates, just fly over my head because I’m watching for something quintessential about a person’s behavior, not their wording.

  • Ymarsakar

    Suek, the Democrats know that they will be able to control the illegal immigrant population because unions can provide them jobs… with cash and no payroll record. If Democrats legalized their working status, that would give them power as well, but not as much power as threatening the immigrants with deportation.

    That is who will “employ” them afterwards: Democrats. They get their own private goon squad in the end, sourced from a poor and disenfranchised part of the population. It prevents full assimilation. Democrats love preventing full assimilation as that breeds class warfare. Without class warfare, the power of Democrats would be a pitiful thing indeed. 

  • Oldflyer

    I consider the references to Romney as “plastic man” to be beneath the normal level of discourse on this forum.  We do not know Mitt Romney.  We know that his television persona is not that of a Bill Clinton.  Thank you Mitt.  We do know Mitt Romney’s record of achievement.
    Romney care is harped on incessantly–by many of the same people who say: “oh, let the states be the laboratory for innovative programs”.  Well, Massachusetts was the laboratory for a program similar to Obamacare.  Thank you Mass. and Mitt for showing us the downside.  A lot of the commentary is similar to what went on with Bush;  (sic) you have to admit your mistakes, and we will love you.  (I heard the same BS once during a CIA polygraph session).  No, admit your mistakes and we will exploit the devil out of them.  Romney has said that he would take immediate action to neutralize Obamacare.  That is good enough for me.
    I wanted to like Perry.   Didn’t work. Maybe he is just uncomfortable in front of the cameras and in the debate format.  Maybe he will swing it around.  Right now, I am very skeptical.
    Cain keeps coming on.  Impressive.  Wouldn’t it just throw the Dims, and the Obamiacs,  into a funk if he were the GOP nominee?  We could do worse.
    I have always liked Newt.  Still do.


    Mitt Romney made an attempt to distinguish his own Massachusetts health care plan with President Obama’s national health care law, but….

    The linked article points out otherwise.  Does anyone here in the room live in Mass. or have friends/relatives in the state?

  • Mike Devx

    Oldflyer says #21: Romney care is harped on incessantly–by many of the same people who say: “oh, let the states be the laboratory for innovative programs”.  Well, Massachusetts was the laboratory for a program similar to Obamacare.  Thank you Mass. and Mitt for showing us the downside.  A lot of the commentary is similar to what went on with Bush;  (sic) you have to admit your mistakes, and we will love you.

    Oldflyer, it’s true we want the states to be laboratories.  You can expect California, Massachusetts, Illinois, etc to perform highly liberal experiments in which people end up suffering terribly.   Massachusett’s universal health care solution appears to be well on its way to doing just that, as predicted.

    Romney says, NOW, that there are a number of things in that health care program that he objects to.  But I remember a different Romney when that health care program passed.  He extolled its virtues over and over and offered not one criticism of any aspect of it.  That is the problem I have with him, and yes, I had the same problem at times with Bush:  If you’re going to preside over a program that is remarkably liberal, and all you offer on it is 100% praise, where is your criticism?  Your warnings of what may go wrong? (and did go wrong?)

    It evidences, at a minimum, at least a lack of wisdom.  At worst, it means they will fall right in line with more liberal programs when the going gets tough.  It means nothing will change in Washington D.C. when we need a real fighter to take it to those who wish to keep us on the liberal slide downward into total disaster.

     That is the fear behind those of us who wonder where is the real Mitt Romney on universal health care; where were his criticisms?  How will he actually behave now?  It’s a real fear.

  • Oldflyer

    Oh, for pete’s sake.  Massachusetts wanted the health care program.  It was untried, but they wanted.  It hasn’t worked.  Romney acknowledges that it hasn’t by his vow to dismantle Obamacare.  In other words, he learned.
    The inability to let go of this, or any other issue, is near pathological.  Unfortunately, it is endemic in the political culture.  We saw it in the debate questions and the inter-action the other night.  (sic)…”Back xxxx years ago you wrote in your book, or said in this or that interview blah, blah.   So clearly you are branded with that position today, how do you defend it?…”  Geez, times change; people learn.  I want to know where the candidates stand now.  If they learned from  experience, I applaud them.  Then, I want to know where they intend to go from here.

  • Duchess of Austin

    I’m sorry, but there is no such animal in Taxachusetts as a real *conservative.* (even Scott Brown is conservative lite)  Mitt Romney is seen by some of us as “plastic man” because it is obvious that he is as politically malleable as play dough.  He does and says what is politically expedient….sound familiar?  It does to me.
    We don’t need any more politicians.  We need a STATESMAN.  I’m sick and tired unto death of nicey nice people who “go along to get along,” and I’m sick of RINO’s too.  I’m done.  Give me a solid conservative candidate, who has the same values as I do or I’m not voting for Obama lite.  It ain’t happening.
    I want a *fighter.*  I want a candidate who has a spine and isn’t afraid to take controversial stands and *own* them.  I’m sick of apologies that nobody means and I’m *sick* of liberals and progressives seeking to give ownership of parts of our language to certain victim groups.  America needs to cowboy up and face the ugly truth of our situation.  Those that cannot face it are welcome to exit stage left and withdraw their genes from the gene pool, which could use a dose of heavy chlorine anyway.
    Its time to take our country back from the sniveling, spineless, whinebag liberals and the only way that is going to happen is by force.  We have to beat them back at every turn like the mindless lemmings they are.  In order to do that we have to put honest conservatives at the levers of power and keep them there until the job is done, and then some.
    I just don’t see Mitt Romney as that kind of fighter.  Rick Perry, however, *has* gotten some punches in on Obama even before he entered the race and has fought the EPA bitterly over the new environmental regs here, and I think he is more of a toe-to-toe fighter than a debating team captain.  Who cares?  I don’t give a rat’s patoot if he can look slick in a debate.  I care if he can take down Obama and wipe the floor with him in an election.  We know he is eminently electable.  He has been the longest serving Governor of Texas and that means he has won more elections than Romney.
    I’ll take Rick Perry over Plastic Man.


    Herman Cain wins GOP Florida straw poll; Rick Perry in second place!
    The results are being reported as a big surprise. What the hell does that mean? No surprise to me, except a pleasant one.

  • Earl

    My difficulty with Mitt Romney is that he won’t say that RomneyCare turned out badly…..he continues to defend it, along with his part in implementing it.
    Anything remotely like:
    “The states are laboratories of democracy, and we tried universal health care in Massachusetts and now we see that it just doesn’t work very well.  At the time, the electorate was gung-ho to try it, and I worked with the legislature to make it as good as we could do, but the record is now pretty clear – it doesn’t work well. Other states can try it if they wish, but when I’m President, I’m going to do everything I can to dismantle ObamaCare as fast as possible, because I know from experience that these massive, top-down schemes don’t work.”
    could help me to get past his demeanor.  But, Oldflyer….if you are correct that it’s the failure of RomneyCare that drives his pledge to give the states all an exemption (I have NEVER heard him say he will attack ObamaCare itself), then why can’t the man say what is so obviously true and pledge to blow up the national manifestation of what he did in Massachusetts?
    His failure to do this is why I can’t choose him for the GOP standard-bearer.