Free Markets, Free People

Rick Perry


GOP Primary news

All sorts of things popping within the GOP’s primary venue.

1. Gingrich’s ex-wife to unload in an interview with ABC News who, it seems or at least it is claimed, had some sort of ethical debate about when to air it.  Apparently ratings won and it will air tonight when it could have a very adverse effect on a surging Gingrich’s chances there (at least according to one poll).

I don’t blame his ex for giving the interview, but ABC and ethics in the same sentence did caused me to laugh out loud.

2. Rick Santorum apparently won the Iowa Caucus. My reaction?   *Yawn*  He certainly didn’t come close in New Hampshire and it looks like he’s going to bomb in South Carolina and Florida.  The world has moved on.

As someone ask, why again does Iowa get to go first?  And what does Iowa really mean? If you can’t get the count right, maybe you should go last.  Yeah, if you didn’t pick up on it, I’m not a caucus fan.

3. Rick Perry calls it a day and will quit the race.  That helps clear the field a bit more.  He’ll endorse Gingrich (all the non-Romneys will endorse Gingrich until Gingrich drops out).  If ever there was a case of a missed opportunity, Rick Perry may define it for this election season. 

4. And, after 15 or so "debates", Michael Barone concludes that the GOP candidates still aren’t ready for prime time.  I had hoped this tedious series of debates would have sharpened and toughened them up, but instead, I tend to agree with Barone … still an unprepared field.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled drudgery and thank you for stopping by.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Romney wins Iowa … or something

Ok, just being flip, but I’ve never really thought that much of the caucus process and still don’t.  All this excitement, work and rhetoric over approximately 225,000 votes.  Yes I understand the possibility of winnowing the field (think Newt will finally take the hint?).

So Romney won – by 8 votes out of about 225,000 total.  That’s not as surprising to me, frankly, than who came in second.  Very disappointing to the Paulbots, I’m sure.  But Rick Santorum?  Seriously?

And will Huntsman, Bachman, and Perry drop out or hang on through New Hampshire?  After all it’s not that long till NH and again, Iowa is a caucus state.   I don’t see any of the three doing significantly better there than Iowa, but still they may give it a shot.

Cain was beaten by “no preference”.  The only “candidate” missing, as far as I’m concerned, was “none of the above”.  My guess is NOTA had a shot at at least 2nd or 3rd, and who knows, with that field, might of pulled out a win.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Is Rick Perry not ready for prime time?

Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst for Fox News certainly seems to feel that way given Gov. Rick Perry’s performance at the past 3 GOP debates:

Analyzing the results of Saturday’s Florida Straw Poll on “Fox News Sunday,” Fox News senior political contributor Brit Hume said businessman Herman Cain’s victory may not mean very much, and that Perry’s poor showings recently may indicate his campaign is on the verge of  “total collapse.”

“Perry really did throw up all over himself in the debate at a time when he needed to raise his game,” Hume said.

“He did worse, it seems to me, than he had done in previous debates. Romney was as strong as he has been lately. He has clearly raised his game in reaction to the emergence of Perry. It’s been good for Romney in a way that one might not have predicted … Perry is about one-half a step away from almost total collapse as a candidate.”

When Perry showed up for his first national debate, he could be forgiven for not understanding the performance standards.  It is a whole different level than what a governor goes through when running for office.  But then you expect a better performance in the second debate incorporating the experience of the first and the lessons learned.   However, the 2nd debate actually seemed to be a worse performance.  And the third worst of all.

Perry’s entry into the race made him the instant front-runner.  But his three performances in nationally televised debates has seen that position erode significantly.  

Hume goes on:

“I don’t think we’re being too harsh on Rick Perry,” Hume said. “He still has some opportunity to recover his balance and put in a strong performance. What was so strikingly troubling about — from a Republican point of view — about this performance was that Perry was thought of as a really true conservative. Now it appears he has got this position on immigration which is anathema to a lot of conservatives.

“So this really hurts him with the base. You can’t, you know — look at all the trouble Romney’s had. He’s got some trouble with the base. That’s what’s holding him back. Now Perry has got the same trouble so his weakness is very real indeed.”

His “you don’t have a heart” comment concerning in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens was ill advised.   It was poorly stated and it was just bad politics.   And as Hume points out, it may have invalidated his “true conservative” credentials among those voters on the right looking for one  – whether Perry really ever had those credentials or not (perhaps that moment was inevitable).   That statement removed all doubt and put him in the same place among conservative voters as Mitt Romney, at least for the time being.   The difference is that the GOP voters, especially conservatives, are used to Romney and will pull the lever for Romney if they have to given the alternative.   The hope was Rick Perry would be the answer to their prayers.   Instead he seems to be a disappointment.  Less informed, much less polished and frankly unprepared.

Unless he steps up his game he will eventually be dismissed as “Mitt light”, and folks that’s a hard distinction to earn and one no politician should want if they’re on the right side of the political spectrum.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 25 Sep 11

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss the Republican presidential field, and the apparently inevitable Greek default,

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Rick Perry’s Gardasil problem

Rick Perry got some deserved heavy fire for something he attempted as governor of Texas.  That is, he attempted to mandate a vaccine for sixth grade girls designed to help prevent cervical cancer.  

Last night Michelle Bachman, trying to revive her flagging campaign, lit into the Texas governor for attempting to establish the mandate by executive order:

“To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just wrong,” Bachmann said. “Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don’t get a mulligan.”

Two points here that need to be considered.  One, as some defending Perry are saying, we mandate shots for kids right now before they can attend school and there are some who suffer adverse effects.

True.  But here’s the difference – they’re for communicable diseases that can spread quickly in schools and cause all sorts of problems up to and including death.  Most Americans realize the difference between a program designed to prevent the spread of a communicable disease and one that isn’t.  They accept the need for the shots to prevent communicable diseases among children as well as the risk associated with them.

The HPV vaccine is designed to help prevent a non-communicable disease.  It isn’t a “public health” matter or threat the same way the communicable diseases are.  So the vaccine should be optional in terms of whether or not a person decides to chose to be vaccinated.  

Additionally there are some pretty bad side effects if a child has a negative reaction.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil® . GBS is a rare neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections have been associated with GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil® increases the rate of GBS above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.

Blood Clots

There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil®. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.

Deaths

As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil® . There were 54 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty two of the total death reports have been confirmed and 36 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination.

It is obviously unclear if Gardasil was the culprit here, but then it’s also unclear it wasn’t.  However, it does seem rather interesting that 68 youngsters died after its administration.  That many young people dying in close relation to the administration of the vaccine is at least highly suspicious.

You could write it off to bad screening … why was it administered to those people who had risks of getting blood clots.  But that’s irrelevant if it is mandated, isn’t it?

Unless the mandate specifically states such exceptions, everyone, to include those with the risks outlined, are going to get the vaccine and health care workers aren’t going to bother to screen, are they?

And of course that brings us to the real problem.  The mandate.  Sort of hard to be outraged about ObamaCare’s mandate when you’ve been mandating things yourself, and without even a legislative okay – not that that would justify a mandate.  However, the point is Perry decided to do this with an executive order, thereby placing the entire fiasco squarely on his shoulders.

The point, of course, is what he did is not exactly in keeping with what he claims he wants to do as president, i.e. “get Washington (government) out of our lives”.  His action in this case was exactly the opposite.  And while, as he claims, his intentions were good, we all know the road to hell – and serfdom – are paved with good intentions.

“At the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer,” Perry said. “At the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.”

Not your job, Governor, at least in this context.  And especially by executive order mandate.

Compound this mess with the fact that also a hint of political cronyism involved:

“There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate,” Bachmann said. “The governor’s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.”

The company in question is Merck and his former chief of staff was indeed it’s chief lobbyist.  And we know that sort of former relationship buys access in political circles.   And we also know that fosters cronyism.  None of that may be the case here, but politicians running for president can’t really afford that sort of implication, can they?

Perry shot back that he was offended that anyone would think, after raising $30 million dollars that he could be bought off by a $5,000 campaign contribution.  Well he wasn’t running for president then was he?

Lots of questions.  Less than satisfactory answers to this point.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, “Romneycare” still stands as my answer to any question Mitt Romney might ask.  If you think Perry’s answer was unsatisfactory about the HPV vaccine, I’ve still yet to hear one from Romney about his mandated health care for MA.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Romney, Perry, front-runners, Social Security and “Ponzi Schemes”

So, Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney.  But Republican voters think Rick Perry probably has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama.  Byron York gives us the lowdown:

In a new CNN poll that finds Perry at the front of the Republican pack, the Texas governor’s lead among GOP voters age 65 and older is actually bigger than his lead among younger voters. Fifty-two percent of respondents over 65 say Perry is their choice for president, versus just 21 percent who choose Romney.  In the overall numbers, Perry leads Romney 32 percent to 21 percent, with Ron Paul following at 13 percent, Bachmann and Gingrich at seven percent each, Herman Cain at six percent, and Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum at two percent each.

Republican voters over 65 also believe Perry has the best chance of defeating President Obama in next year’s general election.  Perry leads Romney 58 percent to 22 percent among older voters on that question.

Of course, Republican votes over 65 are a key demographic which one might believe would be most put off by Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” meme concerning Social Security, right?  But, as York points out, that doesn’t seem to be the case:

Breaking down the age results in different categories, Perry leads Romney by 24 percent to 19 percent among GOP voters under 50.  Among GOP voters 50 and older, Perry leads Romney by 41 percent to 22 percent.

The results seem likely to encourage Perry to stick with his "Ponzi scheme" critique of Social Security.  At the same time, though, Perry might choose to gradually walk away from those incendiary words while leaving his essential assessment of Social Security unchanged.  In a new op-ed in USA Today, for example, Perry writes that "Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing" Social Security.  But he doesn’t use the words "Ponzi scheme."  As for the critics, especially Romney, the results could cut two ways.  They might make Romney and others dial back the criticism a bit, on the grounds that it’s not working among the voters most personally interested in Social Security.  Or the results might actually encourage the critics to attack Perry more, on the grounds that voters don’t know enough about the "Ponzi scheme" issue and might change their opinion of Perry if they did.  The poll results published by CNN poll do not cover the Social Security issue specifically.

Good analysis.  And that sets up tonight’s debate in Tampa.  Will Rick Perry walk away from the “Ponzi scheme” meme and transition to a more general “frank and honest” discussion?  Apparently it resonated, which means that voters understand the intent of Perry’s words – that is to highlight the dire trouble Social Security is in.

Obviously what his opponents will do is try to frame that as extremely as possible – Perry wants to do away with Social Security.  Democrats aren’t the only ones who play that sort of game.  And that’s why York holds out the possibility, given the USA Today piece, that Perry is going to walk away from the description but still pursue the point.

The first place we’ll get to see if that’s true or not is in tonight’s debate as it is sure to be a major subject:

The controversy is sure to erupt at tonight’s Republican debate in Tampa.  In Florida over the weekend, the Romney campaign distributed a flier hitting Perry hard on Social Security, saying the Texas governor is "reckless and wrong on Social Security."  The headline of the flier is "Two candidates: Only one will protect what’s important to you," and the last line of the flier is "Rick Perry: How can we trust anyone who wants to kill Social Security?"  After attacks like that, Perry will undoubtedly be in the mood to hit back on the debate stage.

Of course, I’ve always said that if I was ever a Republican candidate facing Mitt Romney, I’d answer every question he ever ask of me with a one word answer.

“Romneycare”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The Republican Debate–then there were two

If nothing else last night, the Republican debate did one thing – it narrowed the present GOP field to two.  Oh the others will be around for a while and they’ll press their case, but in the absence of a miracle (or the entry of a better or more appealing candidate) it seems the fight will be between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry as the two battle it out for the GOP nomination.  Again, that’s assuming no other candidate enters the fray.

Why am I saying this – because of the targets each of the two drew a bead on.  Each other.  Romney, who had been considered the consensus front runner went after Perry and Perry did the same with Romney.

It left the rest sort of twisting in the wind.   The New York Times gives you the blow by blow:

A series of spirited exchanges between the two men, which revealed differences in substance and style, offered the first extensive look into the months-long contest ahead. They traded attacks on each other’s job creation records and qualifications to be president, overshadowing their opponents in the crowded Republican field.

Mr. Perry doubled down on his view of Social Security, assailing it as a “monstrous lie,” and he questioned scientists’ assertions that climate change has been caused by human activity. Mr. Romney said that Social Security should be protected and suggested that Mr. Perry’s positions would make it difficult for the Republican Party to appeal to a broad base of voters needed to win the White House.

“Maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country,” said Mr. Perry, who spent much of his time in his first presidential debate defending his Texas record and a litany of positions in his book, “Fed Up!”

[…]

Mr. Perry attacked Mr. Romney’s record of creating jobs in Massachusetts and his championing of health care legislation when he was governor. Mr. Romney, in turn, cast Mr. Perry as a career politician.

“Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” Mr. Perry said, referring to the former Democratic governor who ran for president in 1988.

“Well, as a matter of fact,” Mr. Romney replied, “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.”

One of the political dangers of these sorts of "spirited debates" is the candidates do the opposition research for the other team. But this was typical of the exchanges last night, made ironically in the library of a president who believed strongly in the political 11th commandment.

However, some blunt talk about the situation we’re in would be refreshing and provide for some actual debate about solutions for a change.

Stanley Kurtz lays out his assessment of the debate in a very succinct one paragraph summary:

This was a very successful debate debut for Rick Perry. It confirms his position as the leader of the field. As of now, this race is a Perry-Romney duel, but Perry’s the one to beat. Romney and Perry were well matched tonight, but Perry’s appeal to the base means he’s got a leg up over Romney just by fighting to a draw, which he did at least, if not better.

Of course the Romney camp is claiming debate victory.  No surprise there.  That press release was written before the candidates stepped on the stage.  But there wasn’t a clear cut winner in most minds I don’t believe.  However you’d have to be deaf and blind to the debate not to have realized the field has really narrowed itself to two:

There are no guarantees here, of course, which is one reason it’s nice to have a continuing Romney-Perry duel.  This next month-or-so of debates is going to help both Romney and Perry with their greatest weaknesses. Romney is going to get a second look from conservatives, which he deserves. Romneycare is a problem that will never entirely fade. Yet it increasingly it looks as though it won’t be prohibitive, should Perry falter. Meanwhile, Perry is going to have a chance to get his message through to the public on the entitlement crisis, and it just might work.

So Rick Perry survived his first debate and will probably learn from the experience and do even better the next time.  Apparently he lived up to most expectations.  Romney, well he’s Romney, the seemingly perpetual second place candidate (even when he is the supposed front runner).  As Kurtz says, these two can spend the next few months sharpening each other up in debates.   What’s interesting though is both of them have better records than the man they would face in any presidential debate.

We’re 15 months out and it takes a lot of money to fund a presidential campaign.  When you are not in the limelight, a hot candidate or a frontrunner, those funds necessary to continue become harder and harder to raise.  It think last night may have signaled the end of many of the lesser candidates chances for the nomination and I expect some to withdraw in the next month or two.

In the meantime, it’s Perry and Romney, slugging it out.  But Jen Rubin issues the Perry camp a warning that they should heed:

The pace of a presidential campaign in the early going is leisurely, but right about now, things pick up. Perry is a good pol, but he better be ready to show he’s got some policy chops as well, and before his opponents start characterizing his views.

Agreed.  Better the candidate frame his positions than let the opposition do it for him.  Perry’s bunch better be able to put some details and specifics on their one-over-the-world policy pronouncements, it will end up an one man race and Perry won’t be the “one”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Gallup: Perry surges to lead the GOP pack

A new Gallup poll has Rick Perry, Republican governor of Texas, comfortably in the lead over other GOP candidates for president.

Shortly after announcing his official candidacy, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has emerged as rank-and-file Republicans’ current favorite for their party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents nationwide say they are most likely to support Perry, with Mitt Romney next, at 17%.

29% to 17% is a significant lead.  Ron Paul comes in 3rd at 13% and Michelle Bachman at 10%.  The rest of the field is in single digits, all under 5%.  “No preference” is at 17% but that’s dropped a point from July’s poll and 8 points since last May’s poll.  So Republican voters are beginning to make up their minds, even at this early date.

Nate Silver of Five Thirty Eight offers the following analysis of Perry’s new numbers:

First, with these shiny new numbers will come higher expectations for Mr. Perry, particularly during the three Republican debates that will be held in September.

Second, Mr. Romney should have a fair amount of breathing room since the Republican field is heavily tilted toward very conservative candidates like Mr. Perry. Were Rudolph W. Giuliani or Chris Christie to enter the race, Mr. Romney might face a bit more pressure, as he would if Jon M. Huntsman Jr. were somehow to surge. Still, the conservative part of the Republican field is far more crowded, and will be even more so if Sarah Palin runs.

Third, Republican elites have not given Mr. Perry a warm welcome. Of course, the same can be said for Mr. Romney; that Republicans have been casting about for a candidate like Paul Ryan or Mr. Christie reflects poorly on him as well as Mr. Perry. But as Barack Obama looks more and more vulnerable, Republicans may begin to prioritize electability over ideological purity.

Finally, although national polls at this stage have a fair amount of predictive power, they are hardly foolproof. At this point in 2007, Rudy Giuliani had about 29 percent of the Republican vote, about where Mr. Perry is now.

So, as Silver points out, Perry’s entrance means “higher expectations” from the voters – he’s got to start articulating a platform and begin to put forward a vision.  It’s not going to be enough to be the “anti-Obama”.  Everyone in the field is that.   While Perry’s numbers are strong, as Silver notes, so were Rudy Giuliani in 2007 and he faded like a knackered race horse.

While feelings are certainly high against Mr. Obama on the right, voters are looking for some positive idea of how the economic crisis that has befallen the country will be handled and remedied.  This is truly an “it’s the economy, stupid” election.   Any side issues that can be used as a wedge should be avoided as the voters that must be won aren’t at all concerned about them at this time.  But they may see such a focus as a negative.

Americans want to get the economic ball rolling again.  Rick Perry has a success story to tell.   He should concentrate on telling it and not allow himself to get sidetracked.  Meanwhile, you can expect the left to concentrate on everything but the economy.  

Focus and a positive message are the keys to a win in this election.  Any wandering off on tangents will make winning less likely.   The election, as far as I see it from this 15 month distance is the GOP’s to lose.  Unfortunately, they’re quite capable of doing exactly that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 21 Aug 11

In this podcast, Bruce and Dale discuss Rick perry, the Obama jobs plan, and much more.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.


Poll places Perry in “front runner” spot

Anyone surprised by this, given the pre-Perry GOP field, must have been living under a rock or just not paying attention.  While there were small segments of the right delighted with at least one of the candidates, it appears that on the whole, most of the GOP faithful weren’t at all excited about any of them.   Enter Texas governor Rick Perry and boom, we have a new front runner, according to Rasmussen:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary voters, taken Monday night, finds Perry with 29% support. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, earns 18% of the vote, while Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who won the high-profile Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on Saturday, picks up 13%.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who was a close second to Bachmann on Saturday, has the support of nine percent (9%) of Likely Primary Voters, followed by Georgia businessman Herman Cain at six percent (6%) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with five percent (5%). Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, and ex-Utah Governor Jon Huntsman each get one percent (1%) support, while Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter comes in statistically at zero.

Sixteen percent (16%) of primary voters remain undecided.

Naturally, as we’ve seen over the past day or two, all the fire from the left has lifted and shifted to Perry.  A quick perusal of memeorandum and the top stories are all about Perry.  One of the things we’ve already seen is the left is desperately sure it must refute the success of the Texas economy lest it be favorably compared to the mess Obama has made and thus put another Republican Texan in the White House.  I’m not sure the loony left could survive that.

Conn Carroll reviews the Democrats emerging arguments – perhaps claims is a better word – about Texas as penned by Matthias Shapiro of 10,000 pennies fame:

Texas Liberal Myth #1: Texas’ 8.2 percent unemployment is hardly exceptional – Texas is adding jobs at a rate faster than any state at 2.2 percent. But the state’s unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, which is higher than blue states like Massachusetts and New York. How is this possible? Easy, Texas’ population is growing much faster than any other state. They have added 739,000 residents since the recession began. If Texas had the same population at the beginning of the recession that they do know, its unemployment rate would be 2.3%.

Texas Liberal Myth #2: Texas has only created low-paying jobs – Texas median hourly wage is $15.14 which is actually slightly below the median (28th out of 51 regions). But wages in Texas have actually increased in Texas since the recession began. In fact, since the recession started hourly wages in Texas have increased at a 6th fastest pace in the nation.

Texas Liberal Myth #3: Texas wouldn’t be leading in job creation without the oil industry – Energy has been a major source of job growth in Texas. In the last year, 25 percent of all job growth has come from the energy sector (which includes all natural gas, coal, and electricity generation). But even if you remove all of Texas’ energy-job growth, it would still lead the nation in job creation.

So, new week, new front runner, same old fact free attacks.  

Aren’t you glad Obama changed politics as we know them?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO