Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Handicapping The Right

In the midst of a relatively quiet August, politically speaking, certain bored members of the American media have been chomping at the bit for the 2012 political season to get into gear.

While we understand the urge of some of our fellow news gatherers - especially those in political media - to push up the starting line on the 2012 Presidential race, we don't necessarily share their desire for a longer campaign season. So far, the contest looks like it'll be less than a photo finish. In fact, Allan Lichtman - the American University professor whose election formula has correctly projected the winner of every U.S. Presidential race since 1984 - said on Tuesday about his 2012 prediction, “Even if I am being conservative, I don’t see how Obama can lose."

Still - we've said before that we don't believe in calling events finished before they've even begun and we stand by that. That said, the GOP's latest so-called front runner, Texas Governor Rick Perry - a man given the nickname "Gov. Goodhair" by legendary columnist Molly Ivins - doesn't give us much hope for a competitive contest for the presidency next year.

We aware of the fact that in more than one poll, Perry has suddenly jumped to the front of the GOP field, over the head of the man presumed for some time to be the GOP's likely 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.

That doesn't make him the nominee yet.

Perry has been called an idiot. He's also been labeled as dumb. He's been called clueless on how the office of the President really works. He's displayed a stunning ignorance of how key federal government programs - like Social Security - really work. His opposition to science in general, and climate change in particular, is offensive at least and dangerous at worst. Quite a few people have also noticed striking similarities between Rick Perry and George W. Bush, the man who brought him to prominence in Texas politics.

Perry isn't a clean candidate, either. He's got a history - both with other powerful Republicans like Karl Rove, and with the other GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney. Like Romney, Perry has flip-flopped on some important issues to conservatives - like health care. Furthermore, Romney has been campaigning in one form or another for the Presidency for at least four years - and Romney's only beginning to retaliate against Perry.

Some of our colleagues in the media have already added all that up, and made their final call - that Perry is nothing more than a headless horseman, a distraction for the far right who will never really win the nomination.

We don't agree.

We tend to side with several of our colleagues from across the political spectrum, that Perry should NOT be underestimated.

It's not that we think he's the most qualified candidate the Republicans have put forward so far in this early 2012 presidential race. He's not even close to the most qualified. Not by a long shot.

Then again, neither was George W. Bush.

That's what concerns us more than anything.

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