Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rick Perry "Won" The Debate

There will be a scene forever etched in my mind from last night's presidential debate: Romney's and Perry's back in forth regarding health care. As has been pointed out so many times here at Right Speak, Texas is dead last in the country in health care coverage, which naturally is a selling point to the Republican base. That is why Perry has the cojones to attack the state that has nearly universal health care coverage. It would be like my University of Memphis making fun of Auburn's football team with all of their silly wins, with Memphis fans in the background confidently cheering their team on.

Yet, such is the environment of today's conservative movement. As long as a candidate can culturally identify with the base and tirelessly promote tax cuts, it does not matter if he was a terrible governor. As I watched the debate, I was taken back by Rick Perry's swagger and confidence. It is not just that he is ignorant, but rather that he is proudly ignorant. And it is not just that he is proudly ignorant, but rather that he will completely get away with it when Iowa and South Carolina come along.

I could not say what I am saying any better than Jonathan Chait:
The media seems to consider Romney the winner. Pardon the condescension, but they’re not thinking like Republican base voters. Romney approaches every question as if he is in an actual debate, trying to provide the most intellectually compelling answer available, within the bounds of political expediency. Perry treats questions as interruptions. What scientists do you trust on climate change? I don’t want to risk the economy. Are you taking a radical position on social security?  We can have reasons or we can have results. His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.

In this way Perry eerily apes the style of George W. Bush, who was also mocked for his intellectually vapid debating style, but who succeeded in rallying Republicans behind him. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I suspect the Bush-Perry debating style broadcasts a subliminal message of strong leadership. Romney feels compelled to bind himself to the parameters of the question before him. Perry ignores them. It is, in a sense, an alpha male move. I am not going to lower myself to your premise about scientists. I am going to declare my principles.
I have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is not going to change anytime soon. Its target audience are people just like Rick Perry, those who are liberated from the constraints of reason. The Mitt Romneys of the Republican Party will for the foreseeable future face an uphill battle.

The Republican Party simply needs a new coalition.

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Anonymous said...

Your post and Mr. Chait's post both sound a bit whiney. Some Rick Perry supporters are insisting that he won. They aren't doing so because of some stupid alpha male explanation for ducking questions. They are doing so because they like him and he said the things that they like. Many of them are just ignorant rednecks, but others just hold different views than I do and different views than you do.

Most people who are paying attention will see that Rick Perry isn't a bad guy but isn't our best candidate. He didn't win in any sense.

Right Wingnut said...

Not a good post. Beside the fact that Chris Matthews could have written it, you are dead wrong. Who exactly is thrilled with Perry's debate performance? Even his apologists are spinning as an OK, but not great performance. Erickson from Redstate and Ace of Spades fall into this category. This isn't what they had hoped to see last night.

Anonymous said...

Pablo, I'm sorry that you have a lot of detractors here who never give your writing a fair shake. I thought that this piece was excellent.

I think that you masterfully summed up the state of the GOP with these two sentences,

"I have come to the conclusion that the Republican Party is not going to change anytime soon. Its target audience are people just like Rick Perry, those who are liberated from the constraints of reason."

Anonymous said...

I agree that if people think Perry won the debate, they aren't thinking very clearly. Among all of the "ums" and "ahs" he managed to spit out a few words here and there. Not all of them were bad, but he didn't really "pull it together" at all last night. What do you expect from a guy who hasn't really had much experience debating?


Anonymous said...

Perry probably lost the nomination last night. Polls show that even Tea Party members oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

People too often confuse the GOP base with talk radio and the far right.

The truth is that Perry's rhetoric with entitlement programs is even to the right of the Tea Party.


Anonymous said...

Poll from WSJ -

Tea Partiers opposes Social Security cuts by 2-1 margin.


Perry sounded hostile to the program - he probably just lost Florida in the primary.

Anonymous said...

There is a reason our nominees have been people like Dole, McCain, the two Bushes, etc.

Even Reagan payed lip service to supporting FDR's Social Security program.

Nobody with Perry style rhetoric has won the GOP nod since Goldwater. Only in 1964 the GOP expected to lose.

I don't think ordinary Republicans will throw away this chance to beat Obama.

Anonymous said...

I was extraordinarily disappointed to read the misleading headline of the first post-debate comment on this usually fantastic blog, RIGHTSPEAK. Today, uncharacteristically, this post plays into the hands of LEFTSPEAK.

Jonathan Chait? Republicans are going to let an editor of THE NEW REPUBLIC (Al Gore's longtime cheerleader) tell us that we're all nuts and that we will never nominate a candidate of the caliber of Romney?

Folks, get a grip. Let's not be defeatist here. Let's not play into the hands of those on the Left who want to redefine the "base" of the Republican Party as a bunch of crazies.

craigs said...

Good post. I kinda, maybe , agree with your point. I looked at the result from a recent Yale University poll on climate change. The question asked was
" To the best of your knowledge, what proportion of climate scientists think that global warming is happening."

Democrats....42 %
Republicans..26 %
Independents.38 %
Tea Party....13 %

FROM 40 % to 60% of SCIENTISTS
Democrats....20 %
Republicans..27 %
Independents.26 %
Tea Party....25 %

Democrats....10 %
Republicans..14 %
Independents.18 %
Tea Party....37 %

So, I don't know whether to be optimistic or pessimistic


Pablo said...

Interesting poll, Craig. The real answer is around 90 percent or more, depending on how you count.

I am somebody who understands that the scientific consensus throughout history has quite often been wrong, but it is undeniable that that the current scientific consensus is that the globe is warming.

Pablo said...

Ok, so I am a leftist because I quoted Jonathan Chait. You got me. Insert head in sand.