Thanks but no thanks. NEXT!
Pity Rick Perry. He was fêted for weeks as the GOP's presidential savior, the guy who would rescue the Republican field from crazy Bachmann, the boring guy, Romneycare, and the rest of the guys who don't matter.
He jumped in to triumphant applause from the Beltway media, but then a funny thing happened—he may call himself a prophet, but he was looking decidedly non-messianic.
The cultural right was miffed that he didn't want to beat the shit out of brown kids, having signed the Texas version of the DREAM Act into law. The Wall Street right, thinking they had their guy, recoiled in horror as Perry boasted of beating the shit out of Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke if he made his way down to Texas.
Suddenly, that GOP establishment isn't looking too favorably on the Texan. The Bush crowd, still a dominant force in the Republican Party, has led the assault. Even the Wall Street Journal got in on the act, running this headline with apparently no intended irony:
Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem
And this op-ed piece:
The questions about Mr. Perry concern how well his Lone Star swagger will sell in the suburbs of Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where the election is likely to be decided. He can sound more Texas than Jerry Jones, George W. Bush and Sam Houston combined, and his muscular religiosity also may not play well at a time when the economy has eclipsed culture as the main voter concern [...]
Republicans and independents are desperate to find a candidate who can appeal across the party's disparate factions and offer a vision of how to constrain a runaway government and revive America's once-great private economy. If the current field isn't up to that, perhaps someone still off the field will step in and run. Now would be the time.
That kind of assault might ironically help Perry—one of his biggest liabilities is the perception that he's the establishment choice in a decidedly anti-establishment year—but it doesn't solve the problem of those DC and Wall Street Republicans looking for someone electable in the general election.
Now to be clear, that establishment would be happy enough with Mitt Romney. He's a hedge fund manager's wet dream, and party bosses who actually want to beat President Barack Obama in 2012 can point to polling showing Romney giving Obama the toughest challenge (by a long shot). But they all also know Romney ain't getting past the teabagger crowd. So who is that magic person who can win the nomination and still be electable nationally in the general?
Perry ain't it. They've obviously concluded that. Hence the rampant speculation today that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and anti-Medicare jihadist Rep. Paul Ryan might be exploring the race. Rove led the pack:
“We’ve got a good field. I don’t think it is the end, though, of the field,” Rove said. “I think we are likely to see several other candidates think seriously about getting in. And frankly, they have time to do so. Nov. 22 is the first deadline to file papers to get on the ballot. That’s the last day somebody could get in without starting to lose a place in some of the early primaries and caucuses. I suspect we are likely to see in early September and late August.”
In other words, "We still have three months left to find a credible candidate oh please please please please ..."