Perry Hits a Rut. A Christie candidacy?
The political insurgency of Texas Governor Rick Perry is on the edge of turning into a campaign that’s all hat and no cattle. Perry’s dismal performance in Thursday night’s GOP debate in Florida may have led to the drubbing he received in a straw poll there on Saturday.
In a stunning upset (if the results of a 2,657-vote poll can be stunning), bombastic ex-pizza mogul Herman Cain – whose candidacy has been about as exciting as cold pepperoni up to now – won 37.1 percent of the vote. Eating his dust were presumptive front-runners Perry with 15.4 percent and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 14 percent.
The New York Times blog “The Caucus” reported the following results:
1. Herman Cain, 37.1%
2. Rick Perry, 15.4%
3. Mitt Romney, 14%
4. Rick Santorum, 10.9%
5. Ron Paul, 10.4%
6. Newt Gingrich, 8.4%
7. Jon Huntsman, 2.3%
8. Michele Bachmann, 1.5%
On Fox Sunday, political analyst Brit Hume said: “Perry is about one-half a step away from almost total collapse as a candidate.”
And Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard said: “It was a vote of no confidence” in Perry and Romney, whom he called “very weak front-runners.”
Fox commentator Juan Williams said: “The impression…to the nation as a whole is that this is a very limited conversation among the Tea Party element or the far right of the Republican Party. Not only won't they accept $3 in cuts for $1 in a tax hike, but it's things like the immigration argument that really held center this week, with Perry saying that he thinks children of illegal immigrants should be qualified to get tuition support in states, something 13 other states have, something that's very important to the Republican Party in terms of Hispanic participation going forward. If I'm Hispanic and I'm watching that show, I think, ‘Gee, these people don't like me. They don't like immigrants of any stripe.’”
On CNN’s State of the Nation, Candy Crowley asked Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: “Do you envision a Republican Party that at this point would pick Rick Perry?”
“Yes, maybe,” said Daniels, whose decision not to seek the GOP presidential nomination disappointed a lot of Republicans. “I think it's way too early to…pronounce last rites over one performance. …I'd cut him a little slack….”
Fox’s Chris Wallace asked: “What are the chances that a Chris Christie or some other Bill Kristol knight in shining armor gets into this race?”
“I'm as impressed as the next person is by Governor Christie's sort of tough love governance in New Jersey,” said Brit Hume. “But who knows how he would fare on the national stage? …Having not spent all that much time on national and international issues…he gets on a debate stage, he could screw up as badly as the next guy.”
“I still believe this is Perry's race to lose, in large part because the conservatives are looking for somebody who's electable,” said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile on This Week with Christiane Amanapour. “He has regional advantage, unlike Mitt Romney, and he's still able to draw upon some of the money that's out there from conservatives. I still believe Republicans are on a shopping spree. And ultimately, Chris Christie will not get into the race and they'll have to decide which among the second-tier candidates they might elevate.
On Meet the Press, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was asked if Christie would get into the race.
“I don't know whether he will. I've never talked to him about that,” said Bloomberg. “He's been a good governor in New Jersey. He's shaken things up in a state that's had problems that have gone on and on and on. Some things he does I agree with. Some things he does I don't agree with. But if he wants to run, he certainly should just get in there and go do it. …I think he would be a credible, formidable candidate. If you take a look at the Republican field at the moment, there's a number there that obviously don't have any chance either to influence the dialogue or to be the nominee.”
The Greek ‘Infection’
“Greece has not yet in its two-year crisis fired a single civil servant,” columnist George Will said on This Week. “Greece has a national railroad, the revenues of which are one-seventh of their expenses. The Greek transportation minister said it would be cheaper to put all their passengers in taxicabs. They've done nothing….”
Former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said: “The Europeans are politically boxed in.” And Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian’s answer to whether the European governments are on the right track was: “No. Greece started as an infection in the toe and was allowed to spread, and now Europe has three distinct problems. It has a debt problem…. It has a banking crisis, and it has a growth problem.”
El-Erian said that at the IMF meeting in Washington this weekend, “It was a bit like an intervention. The Europeans sat there, and their friends and families came around and said, ‘Guys, you don't get it. You've got to move now. You don't have time.’ And I think the Europeans were shaken by what they heard from everybody. And the question now is, when they go back to Europe, can they get their act together?
Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, said: “You know, I think that this could be worse than Lehman…. And the danger is…if the Greek situation falls apart, that you have the whole euro being affected. Some economists have estimated that you would then have GDP in the peripheral European economies collapsing by 40 percent to 50 percent, in the core ones, 20 percent. Imagine what that does to the whole world.”
Taxes: A Billionaire Speaks
On Meet the Press, Mayor Bloomberg said: “You can't define what's middle class, what is wealthy, what is poor. …And I think it's not fair to say that wealthy people don't pay their fair share. They pay a much higher percentage of their income. They have a higher rate than people who make less. The Buffett thing is just theatrics. If Warren Buffett made his money from ordinary income rather than capital gains, his tax rate would be a lot higher than his secretary's. …If you're going to raise taxes, you're going to have to raise taxes on everybody. I would suggest 2 or 3 percent on everybody. For the average person that's 150 bucks. For the wealthy, it's a lot of money. But that's the only way that you're going to get something through Congress. It's also true that, if …you're going to reduce expenses, you have to reduce expenses for everybody. You have to take away some of tax breaks for the wealthy, and you have to cut back on some entitlements. Because unless we do all of these things, it just doesn't work. And what's good theater and what's good politics isn't necessarily good economic policy.”