Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perry's chances (and David Brooks)

A post on Contentions by Seth Mandel comments on a Michael Gerson column in which he [Gerson] “is confident GOP primary voters will nominate Mitt Romney over Rick Perry because Romney seems to be the “safe” candidate at a turbulent hour in American economic history.  Gerson writes that Republicans prefer to elect known quantities and are wary of nationally-untested firebrands.”
Mandel replies “Romney’s “safety” isn’t the advantage Gerson thinks it is, and more importantly, many writers and pundits are probably underestimating the appeal of Perry’s unapologetic conservatism to general election voters as well as Republican primary voters.”

I think that’s right for two reasons related to my prior post on David Brooks.  First, columnists like Brooks who are likely to make the case for Romney over Perry have lost their credibility.  Second, again contra to Brooks, most conservatively inclined voters have realized that “safe” Republicans end up as squishes and if elected the state will probably grow more slowly than under a Democrat administration but grow it will.  Third, the argument against Perry seems to be that he isn’t very smart.  But again that argument, or variations of it, is now so overused that it is likely to be ignored.

As someone who is wary of populism I find the current situation troubling.  I don’t trust the masses, but our elite have failed us spectacularly.  The next election is a big one.  I wish I felt better about our chances of choosing wisely.

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