Joe Gandelman, 8/23/2011 [Archive]

The Political Minefield Facing Texas Governor Rick Perry

The Political Minefield Facing Texas Governor Rick Perry

Independent's Eye by Joe Gandelman

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been formally running for the 2012 Presidential nomination for less than a month and he has already made a huge splash. But will he also soon spark a big explosion — like one going off in a political minefield, or the sound of a mob of screaming, torch-wielding GOP establishment types seeking to end the threat of what they consider a political monster roaming their electoral countryside?

To supporters, Perry is the new Ronald Reagan. To critics, he's a SNL caricature of Josh Brolin caricaturing George Bush in Oliver Stone's "W." To Democratic liberals and some moderate Republicans, he's a dangerous rightist who could ooze his way into the Oval Office, further empower the religious right, and make Ronald Reagan look like Dennis Kucinich. To some conservatives, he's squishy on illegal immigration.

Attention Rick Perry: You are walking in a minefield. Mobs are on your trail -- coming from your left, center and right. And the Bush-family-allied political mad scientist who "created" you reportedly has regrets and wants to short-circuit you.

The Huffington Post's Howard Fineman believes Perry worries Republican political maven Karl Rove: "The Perry-Rove story is shaping up as the ultimate tale of dangerously unintended consequences, with Rove in the role of Dr. Frankenstein and Perry as his living, rampaging political creation."

In the classic movie, the Frankenstein monster threw a little girl in the lake. Rove is worried Perry will throw his party's increasing chances to win the Senate and the White House in the 2012 political lake.

The Big Gulp now only isn't at 7 Eleven it's the sound of worried establishment GOPers.

In his opening weeks, Perry stumbled more than Wayne Newton on "Dancing with the Stars."

Perry's comments that he didn't believe climate change science and doubted evolution threatened to scare independent voters. He said it would be "treasonous" if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke printed more money — causing former George H. W. Bush administration Treasury official Bruce Bartlett to call him an "idiot" and former Nixon-Ford speechwriter Ben Stein to say: " I hope he'll get some moderation in his speech - and some lessons in economics ... and soon."

A Texas Ron Paul supporter ran a full page ad in a newspaper asking "Have You Ever Had Sex with Rick Perry?" trying to get evidence that Perry is a hypocrite. It'll likely create sympathy for him.

On the other hand, if the ad is answered by a sheep, porcupine or pair of women's' high heel shoes, he might have campaign problems.

Can Perry win? He is finessing his own positions, disowning parts of his book that declared Social Security unconstitutional. MSNBC's First Read notes: "We've seen examples of him trying to straddle the line — Tea Party (Bernanke and creationism) and Establishment (not doubling down on Bernanke and delivering a well-received business-focused speech in New Hampshire). And he impressed GOP consultant Alex Castellanos, who was aligned with Romney in '08."

Perry has never lost an election. A Gallup Poll finds Perry and Obama tied at 47%. And could it be that liberals — as they once again take their eye off the Supreme Court -- will stay home and that independents will be so disgusted at under-achiever Obama that they will elect Perry?

As the movies show, once a Frankenstein monster gets in the area it takes a lot of torch-wielding mob members to destroy him. But whoever said mobs with torches ALWAYS win in the end?

Copyright 2011 Joe Gandelman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at jgandelman@themoderatevoice.com and can be booked to speak at your event at www.mavenproductions.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.




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