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.)

Perry’s ad

What do you think of it?

I find the over-the-top music on the “Perry is wonderful” part a bit distracting but otherwise agree with those who think it’s an effective ad.

Perry and the Gardasil leviathan

What do you all think of the Gardasil leviathan attached to Perry? Bachmann went off the deep end when she said that the vaccination causes mental retardation, but I know there are plenty of conservatives (Michelle Malkin is a good example) who think that Perry’s attempted Gardasil legislation makes him unfit for office.   Much as I respect Michelle, I have to disagree on this one.

Government has for decades mandated vaccinations as part of its public health responsibilities. Parents have always been allowed to opt out, but the default setting is to require vaccinations to stop the spread of transmissible diseases. I think even libertarians would concede that a core government function is to stop disease transmission, something that is entirely different from forcing people to buy health insurance and otherwise engage in “life maintenance” to save money.

People are also upset with Perry because they believe he was encouraging premarital sex. I think that’s wrong too. The vaccination confers a lifetime protection, but it seems to work only if you give it to young girls. There’s a small window of time within which to buff up that immune system. Despite the age at which girls receive the vaccination, it doesn’t exist simply to protect them during their teen years.  In other words, it’s not a premarital, teen sex aid.  Instead, it’s about any sex — martial, post-martial, extramarital, you name it. I bet a lot of famous 19th century women who got marital syphilis (e.g., Jenny Churchill and Isak Dinesen) would have loved to have had a syphilis vaccination when they were 12 or 13.

What’s your opinion on this one?  Do you think Perry’s Gardasil initiative (a) fell outside the traditional government public health role of disease prevention and/or (b) tacitly encourages girls to engage in premarital sex?

I continue to root for the candidate who can beat Obama, and who has a generally conservative, small government world view.  While I want someone with Churchill or Reagan’s charm, rhetorical chops, and moral courage, and, of course, Keanu Reeves‘ looks (always a good thing in a president), that candidate does not exist, at least not going into the 2012 election.  I refuse to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Of course, living in California, it’s not as if I have a choice.  By the time the primaries come here, it’s already decided.  Actually that’s a good thing this year, since the Dems managed to get the voters to agree to destroy the California primary process, with a new law that makes it impossible for people to choose the member of their own party whom they’d most like to see run for president — but that’s another story altogether.

The truth shall set you free, including the truth about Social Security

A Ponzi scheme is a pretty simple animal:  You pay old investors using money put in by new investors.  When you run out of new investors, nobody gets paid.

Social security is also a simple animal:  We pay old taxpayers money put in by new taxpayers.  Because there are more old taxpayers than there are new taxpayers, and because these old taxpayers no longer contribute much, if anything, to the pot,  pretty soon nobody gets paid.

Ponzi schemes cannot be reformed.  They are inherently flawed.  Their painful death is inevitable, since it is programmed into their composition.  We know with certainty that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  It always has and it always will.  We also know with certainty that Ponzi schemes inevitably run out of money.

Perry used his prominence to state something that all honest people know to be true:  Social Security is inherently unsustainable.  It’s not a fraud, but it’s destined to failure.  As demographics change, and as we suffer through the repercussions of the Stimulus, that failure will occur sooner, rather than later.  No amount of tweaking will prevent that from happening.  The only way to “fix” Social Security is to do away with it:  give some lump sum payment to those who already depend on it, give phased out payments to this who are uncomfortably close to depending on it, and tell everyone else “We’re sorry we screwed you.”

As far as I’m concerned, Perry gets big kudos for having the honesty to take his high-profile and use it to announce that the Emperor has no clothes.

Learning curves, intelligence and Rick Perry *UPDATED*

Although Obama’s grades are still a state secret, we know that the MSM is going to make hay of the fact that Rick Perry had a 2.22 GPA at Texas A&M.  There’s no escaping the fact that he wasn’t much of an academic.  I have a few thoughts on that subject.  They start with a picture making the rounds on the internet, showing a 22 year Perry and a 20 something Obama:

Ignore the Obama image.  Aside from misstating his age, it’s old hat.  We know, because he confessed, that when he was younger, he was a punk:  doing drugs, hanging out, being bad.

Much more interesting to me is the Perry photo.  Perry was a pilot in the United States Air Force, and attained the rank of captain.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I know diddley squat about flying, but I know this much:  the United States military does not entrust its fancy jets to idiots.  Indeed, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that, in order to be a military flyer, you have to demonstrate, repeatedly, that you’re intelligent, responsible, cool under pressure and . . . here I’m getting to my real point … you have a good learning curve.

I’ve been thinking about learning curves a lot lately, especially on Fridays.  You see, Friday is the day my pool guy comes to clean our shabby old swimming pool.  That means that, every Friday, I have to roll up the solar cover we use to heat the pool.  This is not an easy task.  Pool covers have a mind of their own.  None are designed perfectly, so their balance is skewed.  Add to that the drag of the water and the imbalance caused by pool walls that have moved out of alignment over the years, and you have a cover that doesn’t want to roll nicely.  To make things just a little more difficult, every two or three years we have to replace our covers, as they fall victim to too much sun, too much chlorine and too many people, other than me, opening them.

You see, I’m the only one who can open the pool cover correctly, without it ripping, twisting, catching or crumpling.  My husband abandoned the effort years ago.  The kids willingly open it so that they can swim, but they do so in such a higgledy-piggledy way that they’re responsible for all the aforementioned ripping, twisting, catching and crumpling.

I sound like a pool cover savant, don’t I?  I’m the genius of pool covers, the person with a knack, the one whose life calling is dragging plastic solar cells across water.  All of that is untrue.  What I am is someone who pays attention to errors and then corrects them.  If the cover pulled left the last time I opened it, I need to think of a way to compensate for that pull.  If it didn’t roll tightly enough the last time, I analyze the ways in which I can force a tighter roll on it.  After a couple of weeks with a new cover, I’ve got the technique down pat, and am good to go until the next cover comes along.  In other words, I have a learning curve.

That are a few things you need for a learning curve:  you need some native intelligence, you need awareness, you need analytical abilities, you need the willingness to learn, and you need a sufficiently open mind that you can break free of past behaviors to figure out new ways to perform.  Maturity and broad life experience are also excellent learning curve accelerators, as they allow one to flip through a mental data base of previously acquired information to look for quick fixes to a current problem.

As I said, if you’re a pilot, you’re a good learning curve person.  You have to be.  Flying is not a mindlessly repetitive task.  It requires complex multitasking, all the while responding to ever changing external factors.  If you can’t adapt and learn, you’re going to be grounded quickly.  Perry may have been, as he said, a “free spirit” during his school years, but his subsequent career, in the military, in business and in politics shows that, whether you like him or hate him, he’s got native intelligence, adaptability, an inquiring mind, and the maturity that comes with a life broadly lived.  Frankly, I think those are assets in a president.  (Romney probably has them too, but the Obamabots aren’t going to challenge Romney’s brains so I won’t make the argument on his behalf.)

Barack Obama, incidentally, doesn’t seem to have learning curve abilities.  Because he’s convinced of his rightness (and righteousness), he’s incapable of examining failure objectively and changing his behavior.  As his recent speeches show, he’s invested in his ideology, and any failures that occur on his watch are everyone else’s fault.  He doesn’t seem to realize that, when one examines all the failures of the past 2.5 years, his policies are the only common denominator.  A person with a flexible intelligence would figure that out, analyze his behavior and change it.  A rigid narcissist, however, just keeps pointing the finger of blame, while repeatedly engaging in the same behavior.

Rick Perry may not be a scholar, but he’s a smart man, and anyone who fails to understand that is seriously “misunderestimating” him.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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UPDATE:  While we’re on the subject of learning curves, I found amusing the bumper sticker on the far right of this Prius’ back end.  Someone is refusing to be discouraged by Obama’s dismal record:

Kinky Friedman applauds Rick Perry

It’s not an official endorsement, but what Kinky Friedman has to say about Perry is just as good as an official endorsement.  And unlike most celebrity political writing (“my candidate will save the world and give everyone a unicorn, plus a really cool swag bag”), Friedman’s got some specifics:

More to the point, could Rick Perry fix the economy? Hell, yes! Texas is exhibit A; Rick’s fingerprints are all over it. He’s been governor since Christ was a cowboy. The Lone Star State is booming. The last time I checked, Texas is kicking in a hell of a lot of the U.S. GDP. Unemployment is lower than the vast majority of the other states. Hell, we could probably even find a job for Paul Begala.

Friedman is also very specific about Perry’s abiding love for Israel, something that every Jew who cares about Israel should note:

As a Jewish cowboy (or “Juusshh,” as we say in Texas), I know Rick Perry to be a true friend of Israel, like Bill Clinton and George W. before him. There exists a visceral John Wayne kinship between Israelis and Texans, and Rick Perry gets it. That’s why he’s visited Israel on many more occasions than Obama, who’s been there exactly zero times as president. If I were Obama I wouldn’t go either. His favorability rating in Israel once clocked in at 4 percent. Say what you will about the Israelis, but they are not slow out of the chute. They know who their friends are. On the topic of the Holy Land, there remains the little matter of God. God talks to televangelists, football coaches, and people in mental hospitals. Why shouldn’t he talk to Rick Perry? In the spirit of Joseph Heller, I have a covenant with God. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone. If, however, I have a big problem, I ask God for the answer. He tells Rick Perry. And Rick tells me.

Mr. Bookworm was less specific in his dislike for Perry.  As best as I could figure, he saw some segment on some TV show that had something to do with an execution in Texas that in some way involved a political cover-up and he thought Perry was “smarmy.”  So he’s not going to vote for the man.  Yeah.

There’s that condescension again

I’ve been focusing for years, almost to the point of obsession, on Obama’s nasty crack to Hillary during the Democratic primaries.  She said, with rather charming self-deprecation, “I think I’m likeable,” and he sneered in return, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.”  It was that moment at which I said, “This is not a nice man.”  A more condescending remark I’ve seldom heard.  It was especially inappropriate given their relative status:  he a man, she a woman; he young, she old; he a party neophyte, she a party elder.  It showed misogyny, arrogance, and just plain nastiness.

I thought of that when I heard that Obama is now chastising Perry:

Asked whether Perry’s remarks [some hyperbole about Bernacke's "treasonous" damage to the American economy] were disrespectful, Obama said he would “cut him some slack” as a new candidate.

Who, may I ask, is Obama to cut Perry some slack?  Obama may be president, but in the context of Perry’s statement, they’re simply two candidates squaring off.  Obama can voice an opinion about Perry’s comment, but he doesn’t occupy some higher moral ground that allows him to do the slack cutting.

This is one of those rare occasions where I think Allahpundit is off base, as he thinks Obama struck the correct, “low-key” tone on this one.  While it was low-key to acknowledge a candidate’s learning curve, it was arrogant to “cut Perry slack.”  Once again, Obama is showing that oozing condescension that makes him such a fundamentally charmless figure in American politics.

Perry practices smart politics

Everyone makes mistakes.  Some are unforgivable.  But what also makes mistakes unforgivable, whether they are mighty or minor, is the actor’s refusal to issue a real apology.  Today, Perry smartly issued a mea culpa for mandating HPV vaccinations in Texas.  This was smart both because it spoke to those who were actually offended by the mandate and because it de-claws those who had no dog in the fight, but hope to make it a damaging political issue.

Unintentionally hilarious attack on Perry

The Left is very, very, very worried about Rick Perry.  At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum has assembled a long list of alleged problems Perry has, all of which explain (in Drum’s mind) why Perry can’t possibly win.  Aside from the fact that the list is jaw-droppingly amusing (I’ll explain more below), Drum precedes it with a caveat that pretty much negates all his wishful thinking:

Before I get to that, though, I have a mealymouthed caveat or three. First, if the economy is bad enough, anyone can win. And right now, the odds of the economy being bad enough are a little too close for comfort. Second, in recent years you could lose a lot of money continually underestimating the lemming-like power of the Republican Party to dive off ever-higher cliffs. Third, it’s absolutely true that you can make a pretty good case that none of the current GOP candidates can possibly win the nomination. And yet, someone will.

And there’s more. Perry is unquestionably a very good, very shrewd politician. He has access to lots of money. And he can deliver a pretty good speech. My beloved wife just finished listening to his announcement speech and told me, “He’s my favorite Republican right now.” When I grimaced, she just gave me a scary look. Scary because it’s the look that means she sees something that’s invisible to a committed partisan like me.

After these caveats, all of which (especially the first) are compelling reasons to believe that Perry can win, Drum dives into the business of “proving” that, in fact, Perry is a loser from the get go.  I’m still laughing:

1. Everyone looks good before they get into the race. Remember how great Tim Pawlenty was supposed to be? But just wait a few months for Perry to get beat up by his opponents, for the oppo research to kick in, for all the big profiles to start appearing, and for a gaffe or two to get some play. He’ll start to look distinctly more human then.

2. He’s too Texan. Sorry. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not. But even in the Republican Party, not everyone is from the South and not everyone is bowled over by a Texas drawl. Perry is, by a fair amount, more Texan than George W. Bush, and an awful lot of people are still suffering from Bush fatigue.


4. He’s too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I’m keenly aware that Americans don’t vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I’ve read about Perry suggests that he’s a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there’s a limit to how doltish they can be too.

[You can see the rest of the list here.]

Okay, it’s the last one I quoted that keeps the giggles coming.  After all this time, the Left is still committed to the belief that Obama, the most gaffe-prone president I’ve ever seen, is a genius.  And we’re not talking type of gaffes that are the oral equivalent of typos (such as “misunderestimate”).  We’re talking, instead, the gaffes of a profoundly uninformed, disinterested person:  the “Austrian” language, our 57 states, the famed military “corpse” men, the unknown American liberation of Auschwitz….  We’re also talking about a man who, despite his vaunted brilliance, has kept his grades locked up tighter than Fort Knox.  We’re talking about the law school lecturer who never published.  I could go on, but you’ll fill in the dumb blanks as well as I can.

If the best the Left can come up with his that Perry is mean, dumb, smarmy, religious and Texas, I’m seeing the 1980 election writ large all over again, the only difference being that Carter, for all that he was a terrible president and a dour man, at least had a discernible intellect.

Stephen Hayward thinks Romney has the lock on the nomination *UPDATED*

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.

Information about Rick Perry

The MSM is already going after Rick Perry, so I thought you’d like an alternative source of information about the man.  Back in July, Pesky Truth put together a detailed analysis of all the non-religious accusations being thrown against Perry.  It is well worth reading.  Armed with all the information, you can draw your own conclusions. (The religious accusations are, of course, that he’s . . . er . . . religious.)

I continue to believe that Perry will be our next president.  I’m giving that a greater than 50% chance.  I also think there’s a substantial chance that, unless they have an irreparable break during the primaries, Bachmann will be his Vice Presidential candidate.

Perry isn’t perfect.  Nobody is.  But he’s got enough going for him on the conservative side of the roster, including the intangible of charisma, that I think he’s a real “contenda.”