Jewish World Review Sept. 14, 2011 / 15 Elul, 5771
Debate Jars Perry Out of Sweet Spot
By Jonah Goldberg
Until Monday night's
But again, that was before the debate in
Perry had some good moments and some very bad ones, which is hardly unusual for any front-runner. What came through during the debate, however, is that Perry doesn't have a front-runner strategy. Indeed, it's not clear that he's got any strategy at all other than to be
With the exception of his needlessly controversial characterization of
Speaking of inoculation, that's a fighting word for Perry these days. He was tag-teamed by former Sen.
Perry has said the decision was a mistake insofar as it should have been debated in the state legislature first. Perry should have left it there, but then he told Bachmann, nervously, "I raise about
That, in turn, set up Santorum to attack him from the religious right, catching Perry almost totally unprepared.
Perry's support for the vaccination is defensible, while some of Bachmann's attacks were dismayingly demagogic. At times she made the vaccination sound like grotesque human experimentation, with Perry forcing a "government injection" upon "innocent little 12-year-old girls."
But the fact remains Perry was unprepared for the ambush. He was also caught off-guard when his sweetly platitudinous support for the
Amidst all of this, Romney was, figuratively speaking, stroking his white cat and cackling. For much of the last year, Romney's plan was to use Bachmann to destroy
Now it turns out that Romney can use Bachmann (and Santorum and
Meanwhile, Romney is hanging back, looking ever more presidential as the pack tears at Perry like jackals softening up the kill for the patient lion waiting just beyond the tree line. Or, to violently switch metaphors, Romney is drafting behind Perry until it gets close enough to the finish for him to slingshot in front.
It's a strategy particularly well suited for Romney because he's not an exciting
The problem for Romney is that it's a plan that depends entirely on forces outside of his control. Perry's a dogged competitor who is famously interested in learning from his political mistakes and improving his campaigning techniques. Quite simply, he can get his act together before it's too late.
Both candidates are where they want to be -- which means one of them is wrong.
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