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There has been an almost endless stream of articles in newpapers and blog sites this week on how the entry of Gov Rick Perry to the GOP race has “energised the campaign” “lifted the Republican’s cause” and how he, Perry, is the answer to a Republican maidens prayer, what with those chiselled western looks, that outdoor Texan tan, his robust attitude to budgets and so on.  Mark Mardell of the BBC in particular was all of a flutter, being positively orgasmic in his praise.

However, I just don’t think the hype is justified and there are three reasons why I come to this conclusion.

First.  In this blog my choice of Oligarchy as first cause should not be a surprise.   Oligarchy still plays a part in the choice of candidates for President.  Of the 43 Presidents (it is 43 not 44 because Grover Cleveland served two non consecutive terms) 27 are related by blood marriage or adoption.  A really good way of rating a candidate’s chances of either nomination for the party nomination or, thereafter, election as President is bet on the guy with the most oligarchical conections.  In the GOP nomination race that candidate is still Mitt Romney as he has the greatest connections.  See my post “Mitt Romney for 2012”  for Romney’s family background.

Perry is a fifth generation Texan.  However he is not well connected.  His line is that of tenant farmers so he is far removed from the likes of Romney.

Not that being a non oligarch rules one out of the race.  Far from it.  Clinton and Reagan were both outsiders whose brilliance brought them through to being President.  But, and it is a huge but, you need to be an exceptional candidate to overcome the oligarch hurdle and both Clinton and Reagan were gifted communicators who could speak to and for an entire nation.  Which brings us to problem number two.

Second.  Perry is a stumblebum interviewee.  Certainly Perry can make a speech.  His set piece stuff does look very good.  Stunts like calling the Federal Reserve “traitors” go down well.  However when it comes to being interviewed on matters of policy Perry is far less assured.  Take for instance the Youtube clip above.  It’s on the subject of sexual abstinence before marriage but that’s not actually the point.  It’s his appallingly incoherent and inarticulate responses that should worry Republicans.  In this he resembles too closely George Bush which is bad news because if he makes it to the election he is directly up against Obama who is far more articulate and confident as an ad hoc speaker.  Obama, whatever you may think of him, is an assured act, calm, oiled and confident where Perry can appear leaden footed, fumbling for an answer and amateurish.

Third.  Perry is Texan, verbally challenged and a poor orator.  Remind you of anyone?  Yes he is way too much like GW.  Now that might play well in South Carolina but other states may be thinking they had rather too much of this before.  He is too much just another Republican suit, too much just another of those Republicans that dropped the economy over the cliff, too much one of the Republicans who got us all in this mess.  Bear in mind if you want a Bush, Jeb is still around.  But he is hanging back because the GW taint is still too strong to overcome. An extreme Bush-like GOP candidate may prove easier to defeat than a Romney moderate.  High taxes for the poor and low taxes for the rice may not be much of a vote winner this time round and his views on gay marriage and other matters like intervening in the independence of the Federal Reserve might alienate too many who might be persuaded to Romney.

And, if as I have suspected for a while, there is a “plague on both your houses” move in the GOP and the country as a whole then the beneficiary will be the wasp tongued darling of the Tea Party, Michele Bachmann whose homey clumsiness may be more clever than it initially appears

Copyright David Macadam 2011

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