Rick Perry …Not in Texas Anymore

If Rick Perry wants to separate himself from the field and make this a two-man race, his window is closing. He brilliantly crafted the timing of his entry to maximize his own buzz against the “weak” front-runner status of Romney but since stumbling out of the blocks his campaign has been in free fall.

The same scenario that has made him the state’s longest Governor has left him woefully unprepared for the national stage.  Virtually no competition, little media scrutiny and even less high-profile opposition. Even in his most recent primary challenge he was not attacked from the right. This has proven to be the soft underbelly of the man who has to this day never lost an election where his name appeared on the ballot. His policies on immigration regarding in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and his prior support for HPV vaccinations of minor girls have made him a target of the tea party, a group he has been credited with championing early on.

Money will always play a big factor and Perry has demonstrated the ability to raise it. In his 3 elections for Governor Perry has raised over $100 million. On the flip side for his presidential bid he has only raised about $18 million. This is enough to put him just behind Mitt Romney but as Michele Bachmann would say, “the devil is in the details”, as 49% of that also came from Texas.  This reveals serious confidence issues outside the Lone Star State within Republican donors.

Perry is a fighter and he is not out of this one completely. He has funds to out last much of the field, however, time is money and the clock is ticking. The question remains if Perry can struggle through the intense debate schedule that has the candidates meeting almost once every 2 weeks until the February and March primaries. His tough campaign style and knack for retail politics works well in TV ads and Republican pep rallies but when he’s face to face against a formidable opponent his weaknesses become apparent. He needs an economic plan soon or he will be permanently sidelined with other “2nd tier” candidates. He must broaden his working knowledge of the greater American economy beyond the energy industry. His latest effort has been criticized as “over-coached” a symptom of his efforts to overcome critiques of prior debate performances as “unprepared”. He lacked the confident air of a states rights Governor championing the 10th amendment, who believed he truly had “the best job in the world”.

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Mitt Romney and the 7 Dwarves?

I Watched the GOP primary debate in awe that the Republican Party has yet to find atruly competitive conservative candidate to challenge Mitt Romney.  It was like watching an episode of surviver for most of the candidates as they desperately tried to play up their support and stand out from an overly crowded field. The debates may have too many bodys but they don’t have too many ideas. There is still room for a genuine challenger and as the over all weakness shows there is also still time.

This is why Herman Cain is still gaining buzz, he is the only candidate to actually release a tax plan and after this debate everyone will know its called “9-9-9”.  His strength is his ability to market his own brand but his weakness comes in an abrasiveness in defense of himself. This gives him a charm but one that will wear thin as a front runner. He still has time to define himself and realize he will need some diplomatic skills if he plans pass legislation.

The other presidential hopefuls began to aim their attacks at Cain’s plan to implement a sales tax, repeatedly referring to it as a new “pipeline of revenue” for the federal government. This lead into the absolute low moment of the night when Michele Bachmann continued:

…and theres one thing I would say is when you turn the 999 plan upside down the devil is in the details.

Michele Bachmann was always a long shot and her numbers have been falling fast even in Iowa where she recently won the Ames straw poll.  She needed something big and she made a joke out of her best opportunity. Its my guess she will hang in until she stops receiving invitations or if she loses the Iowa caucus February 6th.

Rick Perry was the major disappointment of the night. He struggled for relevancy the entire debate. When both the moderator and your opponents stop asking you tough questions you know you are in trouble. His most memorable exchange came when he attacked “Romneycare” and Romney responded with, “We have the lowest number of kids uninsured of any state in America…You have the highest.” He seemed somewhat blind-sided by this retort. It was stark contrast from the Rick Perry we are used to seeing in Texas annihilate his Democratic opponents. He tried to stay on message about jobs but he needs to look at how diverse the rest of the country’s economy is and realize that energy is not the solution everywhere. I would not be surprised if Rick Perry bowed out of future debates and campaigned hard in Iowa. The latest polls show him slipping behind but with time and money all things are possible.

for good measure, the stat I posted before the debate and Romney mentioned:

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