Rick Perry

The Perry-Newt Nexus
January 19, 2012

I don't have much in the way of a grand valedictory for Rick Perry as he returns to Austin to prepare for Texas' coming war with Turkey. I already penned (Romney word!) my Perry farewell out in Iowa, when the aura of defeat was all over him. But I will offer a thought on Perry's decision to throw his parting endorsement Newt Gingrich's way.

What Will Rick Perry's Homecoming Mean?
January 19, 2012

It’s all over, folks. Rick Perry, who so confidently muscled his way into the GOP frontrunners’ pack this summer, is bowing out. But while Perry’s overhyped, underperforming presidential campaign may be over, his third term as Texas governor doesn’t end until 2014. What can we expect when Perry returns to Austin? A study of Perry’s past budget maneuvers provides some insight. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Texas is in the midst of a $9 billion shortfall for its current two-year budget period—only slightly less than the state’s projected shortfall in 2004/2005.

The Biggest Challenge Facing Both Romney and Obama
January 19, 2012

Unless something dramatic happens—fast—the general election will soon be upon us, with Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee, and President Obama fighting for a second term. But if the primary season has proven largely predictable, the next phase of the presidential campaign will likely have more than a few surprises in store. Romney and Obama will be competing on a playing field more polarized along partisan and ideological lines than at any time in recent history.

What Makes a GOP Debate Audience Cheer? Or Jeer?
January 18, 2012

What do Republican voters think of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? What about income inequality? There are certainly more scientific ways to take the temperature of a political party, but we have found the audience reactions at recent GOP debates somewhat instructive. The following clips, all taken from the past few months of debates, show the statements that caused audiences to cheer or boo. So what gets the Republican Party riled up these days? Likes include: waterboarding, executions, and Andrew Jackson’s belligerence.

Why Romney’s First Spanish-Language Ad Won’t Make a Difference
January 16, 2012

Mitt Romney’s new Spanish-language ad is cliché to the point of absurdity. Narrated by Mitt’s youngest son, Craig, it packs an impressive amount of feel-good stock footage into thirty seconds. A little girl grins, the sun flashing in her eyes, on a tire swing. Silhouetted against the sunset, a man raises an American flag while a youngster salutes. A smiling family enjoys a bountiful meal around the dinner table. “The United States represents liberty and opportunity, where anything is possible,” Craig says.

Does South Carolina Care About Romney's Career at Bain?
January 16, 2012

Sorting out cause and effect in political campaigns is not always simple. Some people look at John McCain’s nomination in 2008 and Mitt Romney’s success in Iowa and New Hampshire this year and see highly fortuitous demolition derbies.

Why Romney’s Bain Problem Could Kill His Candidacy
January 12, 2012

There is good news and bad news for Mitt Romney out of New Hampshire. The good news is that he won an impressively broad-based victory that did nothing to slow his drive for the Republican presidential nomination. But it also exposed a vulnerability that could soon prove debilitating, if not fatal, to his candidacy. While Romney is not yet a prohibitive favorite, he will be if he wins in South Carolina. And he will win, as John McCain did in 2008, if multiple candidates to his right divide the anybody-but-Mitt vote.

A Pre-Emptive Eulogy For the Huntsman Campaign
January 11, 2012

We are gathered here in remembrance of the Jon Huntsman presidential campaign, which passed away quietly last night in its home state of New Hampshire. Yes, many of its next of kin are still in the first stage of grief (denial), but the rest of us should say our goodbyes, in preparation for moving on to more conservative Republican pastures.

Can Mitt Prevent His Opponents From Going Medieval on Him?
January 11, 2012

Last night was, by all accounts, a good night for Mitt Romney. He went into the New Hampshire primary needing two things: to win by a significant margin and to leave no one else with a plausible path to victory. The results from the Granite State fulfilled both of these Romney criteria, and it’s now extremely likely Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination this year.

The Real N.H. Showdown Comes In November
January 10, 2012

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Barack Obama needs to get himself to New Hampshire, pronto. There are some awfully discombobulated voters up here, and if he has any hope of holding onto the state next fall, he’s going to need to have a serious talk with them. That’s my main takeaway from Mitt Romney’s successful wearing down of a skeptical electorate to the point where, after six years of having him showing up at their tiniest parades and showering cash on their lowliest of elected officials, it finally said: Uncle.

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