I think this is just about right.
The Republican “establishment,” such as it is, is quickly coming to the realization that the 2012 GOP presidential nomination is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s to lose.
As for the two obstacles in Perry’s way to winning the nomination…
Bachmann’s campaign peaked at (or just before) the Iowa Straw Poll. Republican primary voters and caucus attenders love her energy and zest, but they worry she will be unable to defeat President Obama in the general election. “Electability” will be her undoing. Perry stands to pick up her supporters as her campaign deflates.
and Mitt Romney:
…a candidate the base of the Republican Party would rather not nominate if they have a viable alternative.
Romney’s problem is four-fold: he’s politically “fungible” (to put it politely), he’s from the wrong region of the country (New England), he’s of the wrong religion (Mormonism) and he’s too closely identified with Wall Street (Bain Capital). The Republican base would prefer to nominate a strong conservative, evangelical Christian from the Sunbelt who, at the least, shares their disdain for Wall Street’s reckless stewardship of the nation’s financial system.
What all this means is that it’s going to take some serious work and a change in strategy on the part of Romney to take down Perry. I don’t expect Bachmann to be in the race beyond the next few debates. At that point she’ll probably throw her support Perry’s way in hopes of becoming his pick for running mate. Good luck with that, Michele. Perry will probably go with a more establishment type Republican along the lines of a Rudy Giuliani to balance out his Tea Party persona.
As for Romney, his only chance is that Perry blows himself out of the water with either a dismal performance in the debates or the revelation of some dark and horrid secret from Perry’s past. Short of that, it’s hard to see how, at this point, anyone but Rick Perry can win this thing – which I think suits Barack Obama just fine. Given the nature of independent voters, an Obama/Perry match-up is a much more winnable affair than an Obama/Romney confrontation.
Keep an eye on the next few debates to see where this thing is going. It might be over sooner than expected.
- September 7: NBC / Politico Debate
- September 12: CNN / Tea Party Express Debate
- September 22: Fox / Florida GOP Debate