With the GOP Iowa debate still hours away, is it too early to declare a winner? A field of 8 will take the stage tonight to debate their positions and ideas before a nationally televised audience and ahead of the event, a winner CAN be named.
Your winner in THIS debate will be … Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.
That’s a bold prediction considering Perry is NOT to be one of the 8 on stage and as he has yet to even make his candidacy official but, let’s face the facts, he IS going to announce and for several reasons, a strong argument can be made that he WILL win tonight’s debate.
Let’s take a look at the “Perry Effect” on the debate.
Current front runner, Mitt Romney, so far, is considered the businessman with the clearest idea of how to turn the ship of our economy around. Yes, Herman Cain is a brilliant and successful businessman in his own right, but Cain lacks the substance of Romney … at least according to recent polls. Romney on the other hand HAS emerged as the front runner based on his economic strengths. Romney will be trying to position HIMSELF as a stronger economic wizard that Perry who has certainly turned Texas around and been a strong job creator in his state.
Romney will be battling for position against Perry.
Michelle Bachmann, who burst onto the stage at the last debate, will be attempting to promote HERSELF as THE social conservative to beat against the evangelical prayer meeting savvy Rick Perry. Bachmann is on the top tier and wants to stay there heading into the Iowa straw poll and beyond. To do that, she must out social conservative Perry, or at least his perceived strength in that arena. This is Iowa, Bachmann’s home state, and she is the ONLY one who can say she voted AGAINST the debt deal. For her, it all hinges on social issues.
Santorum … a been-there-done-that economic hawk must present HIMSELF as a guy who’s done it at a state level AND a national level to outshine Perry who is a state-only success story. Santorum and Pawlenty must also overcome a perceived if not real vanilla personality deficit when compared to the brash Rick Perry.
Santorum and Perry are both rowing the same boat against the jet skiing Perry.
Herman Cain is a success story no doubt but only in the corporate world. In better times, that résumé might well serve him well, but today, the corporate world is not a plus and Cain lacks the experience of running a large state which Perry certainly HAS. Cain will have to try to prove HIS résumé is better than Perry’s – and in a tough political and economic climate, that’s a nearly impossible hill to climb. Cain’s biggest problem – and the one that will keep him out of the top tier – is no specific answers. Cain will have to stop telling people he will look into things and say what he will do to beat Perry … or anybody else.
Newt will HAVE to try to prove that he is NOT the RINO or establishment candidate because Perry, and others, already HAVE made THEIR points in that regard. Newt is all but gone if he can’t outshine a guy who’s not even in the room.
Jon Huntsman vs Rick Perry could be interesting. Perry has the evangelical vote against Huntsman’s Mormon demographic – but should religion even play a role in this sort of thing? Probably not, but voters are voters and will respond to it regardless of the fact that one’s religion should not be a factor. Huntsman has the foreign affairs edge over Perry as Huntsman was a high level diplomat but the down side of THAT is that he served in the Obama administration … Perry has NOT so … that’s a push.
Ron Paul perhaps has the toughest time proving he is a better candidate against the phantom Perry. Paul has seemingly cultivated the grumpy old men demographic and his supporters, while devoted, come across as anarchists more often than not. Paul’s outward desire to turn our nation’s back on foreign allies and his apparent anger over any sized government overshadow his valid points regarding the fed and tax reform. Personality, while it shouldn’t, does play a big part – especially at this point of the game, and Perry is more personable not being on the stage than Paul even when he tries to be Mr. Personality.
It’s safe to say that the main opponent, at least vocally, at the upcoming debate will be Obama based on the economic crisis, the downgrade, taxes, spending, uncertainty in the world markets, a lack of leadership and on and on; but Obama, like Perry, won’t be in the room.
This is not the general election, it IS a GOP debate leading to a straw poll vote in Iowa and therefore, while showing individual strong points against the incumbent IS important, so too is the ability to position one’s self against the rest of the pack.
Most, if not all, of these 8 candidates have had the opportunity to pit themselves against each other on the stage of ideas and platform strengths. As voters, we have had the opportunity to weigh one against the other for weeks.
This is for the GOP nomination after all, and eventually, this will boil down to a 2- or 3-horse race. Many who are here today will be gone tomorrow as the field shuffles itself out to the point that only the top tier remains.
Will Rick Perry join that top tier? It’s yet to be seen; but as things stand now, he has a shot at that tier. Romney will be there, odds are Bachmann will be there. With Perry, it becomes a 3-horse race to the nomination … but that’s a prediction taking into account ONLY those who are announced, and Rick Perry who WILL announce beyond a shadow of a doubt and soon.
Rick Perry is the new shiny ball diverting attention while not officially in the race and will therefore, be the unseen, unheard candidate to which all the rest will be compared and he is the one which the 8 on stage will try to outshine. Those who drop out after the Iowa straw poll will have essentially been defeated by the ghost of candidates future which is a rather odd distinction for Newt … the ghost of candidates past.
It should also be noted that some of those who fail to reach the top tier will most likely end up in a republican administration.