There can be no doubt that Willard Mitt Romney has run a masterful campaign. Willard has been very good, if not excellent, at the debates. Willard has a big and powerful campaign organization. Willard has raised tons of money. Willard has the Republican establishment working on his behalf. We still don’t think he will be the Republican nominee.
If not Romney, is it Perry? If it is Perry he’d better get better:
“Although Texas Gov. Rick Perry survived last week’s debate at Dartmouth College, he must do better than simply surviving in the upcoming debates, starting with Tuesday night’s in Las Vegas.
Perry’s reported third-quarter haul of $17 million is impressive, but his poll numbers are in free fall and his organization isn’t even remotely comparable to that of the GOP front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Such poll hemorrhaging can only hinder future fundraising and organizational efforts in key early states. Enticing local activists or new donors to climb aboard what appears to be a sinking ship is a pretty tough sell. If Perry doesn’t step up his game and quell growing reservations about him, his days as a real contender—if any still remain—may soon be over.”
Charlie Cook thinks Perry still has a small chance but time is quickly running out:
“That leaves two scenarios. In the first, without transforming into a world-class debater, Perry recoups enough to stabilize his candidacy, placate at least his Texas donors (after all, he remains governor of the Lone Star State regardless), and become the Romney alternative—albeit one with clipped wings who is unlikely to ultimately prevail. Perry could repair some self-inflicted damage, though with the Iowa caucuses scheduled for Jan. 3 and the New Hampshire primary potentially coming as early as December, there isn’t much time for a dramatic turnaround of his fortunes. Holding out for later victories is an option, though former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 debacle suggests that strategy has shortcomings.
Or, Perry proves unable to stanch the bleeding and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain solidifies his position as the anti-Romney, even though Cain has no discernible campaign strategy and questionable ability to raise serious money. Cain’s poll numbers soar as doubts about other contenders on the most conservative end of this field mount. Clearly, conservative Republicans like what Cain says and his plainspoken way of saying it. The question is whether they really see Cain as a possible nominee and president, or just as a place to park after pulling their support from the previous flavors of the month.
One wonders if Cain’s campaign has any idea what it’s doing. This past weekend, Cain took a bus trip through Tennessee (a March 6 Super Tuesday primary state, really?) from Memphis, his birthplace, in the west all the way to Cookeville in the east. Such counterintuitive campaigning suggests Cain’s schedule is determined as much by random chance as by political strategy (though opportunities to sell autographed copies of his book at $100 a pop seem to make it onto the schedule). This is not the way to win a Republican nomination, particularly one that seems to have growing value by the day.“
If Perry wants to continue he better stop listening to advisors and columnists and be who he is. He was doing well when he started the race but then Big Media demanded Perry stop being “so Texas” and Perry took that advice. Now Perry looks like the small little kid in the new classroom afraid of the other kids with their hands deep in the fingerpainting. Perry still has time but not if he acts scared. Our advice is: Let Perry Be Perry. Rick Perry still has a chance and a case to make for himself: “Rick Perry, still America’s jobs governor.”
Romney is the frontrunner in name only and even that epithet is dubious:
“Two things are becoming clear: Romney is emerging as the clear front-runner, but an “anybody but Romney” resistance will coalesce behind either Cain or Perry. What is no longer clear is whether Perry will be the last guy standing against Romney. [snip]
This brings us back to the adage that Republicans wind up nominating the guy who’s next in line, like McCain, who was runner-up to George W. Bush in 2000. The GOP could be in the middle of continuing that habit in 2012, as Romney is the only top-tier retread from 2008.”
So it is Willard Mitt Romney, right? Maybe not:
“LAS VEGAS — He has consistently outperformed the rest of the Republican presidential field in debates. He has built a powerful fund-raising machine. He has rolled out one big-name endorsement after another. He has avoided being drawn into distracting sideshows or becoming rattled by his opponents.
But a word of caution about calling Mitt Romney the inevitable nominee. He is now going to be tested in a more serious way.
With the start of the primary season a little more than two months away, Mr. Romney’s Republican rivals are planning more aggressive tactics, including waves of attack ads, in an effort to define him and determine just how strong — or brittle — his support is.
As Republican candidates gather here on Tuesday night for the eighth debate of the campaign, a CNN poll has found that two-thirds of Republican voters say that their minds are not made up about whom the party should nominate to challenge President Obama, a sign the race could still have another unpredictable turn.”
That sentence “He is now going to be tested in a more serious way” is a sentence entirely not applicable thus far to Barack Obama. Obama was not vetted in 2008. Obama is not held responsible in 2012, especially not by Occupy Wall Street.
Willard “rarely garners more than 25 percent in national polls” of Republicans. Evangelicals in Iowa and South Carolina, early primary states, give Willard the skunk eye. It’s not just evangelicals who smell a rat. Does anyone believe anything Romney says at any particular time – even if he says what he says convincingly at the moment he convincingly says whatever he says he says?
Willard has never really faced a barrage of attacks. Only when Ted Kennedy ran a stealth attack in South Boston reminding Southies that Willard is a Mormon has Willard been tested. Willard failed that test. In 2007/2008 McCain never attacked Romney with ads because the money was not there. Up to now, Romney has not been the target either.
“Herman Cain said Tuesday he could feel the pressure from his fellow 2012 candidates ahead of the CNN Western Leadership Conference Debate in Las Vegas.
“The way it feels is that you got this big bull’s-eye on your back, and it keeps getting bigger,” Cain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”
Today, Herman Cain painted a big target on himself when he said ‘Sure I can see myself releasing everyone at gitmo in exchange for one U.S. POW.‘ Yikes!
At tonight’s 8:00 ET debate in Las Vegas Nevada Cain needs to demonstrate he is more than a curiosity and is growing as a candidate (and do a lot of ‘splaining). Perry needs to show he is in command not by bluster but by genuine control of himself and the stage. Romney needs to continue his brilliant performances but somehow convince the viewers that it is not just a performance he is engaged in.
The rest of the candidates should be happy to have something to do on a Tuesday night. Hey, be happy, you’re on time and on stage at the Las Vegas Nevada CNN Western Republican debate! Ron Paul and his army can righteously grouse that Big Media is shutting them out and that the game is rigged against them and that no matter how well they do, they will be ignored.
Our advice for every American and Republicans: Don’t let Big Media select your president or your nominee.