I live in Texas. If Rick Perry enters the Presidential race, he will make short order of Michele Bachman, and he will argue well with Romney. Rick Perry is a scary guy; he talks like a serious Texan. The things that are bad about W are worse about Rick Perry.
One of those things that bodes poorly for the left is that Perry has the stuff to unite the Tea Party and many, more mainstream republicans. He is anti-government, and claims a strong faith. He makes fewer image mistakes than Michele or Sarah.
I have imaginined the public debate between Obama and either Bachman or Palin. It would be hard for him not to laugh or resort to sarcasm with either. They are simply crazy, and Obama is simply smart. The people who claim to speak for the Tea Party say all kinds of falsehoods, some of which any 5th grader could point out (like where the American Revolution began). Other times they create conspiracies, or misrepresent the Constitution or history, or the law. Refuting this stuff is easy, and Obama would look forward to that. He would trounce the Crazies.
Although these two women (and a couple other bozos, like Jim Demint) think they have a polity to represent and believe there may be some unity, the Tea Party is still a loose coalition with no real political. These right wingers were voted in as a reaction to Obama’s election, by lemmings who were scared by health care reform and fear mongering by the National Rifle Association, and were given power by the gerrymandering of Tom Delay and Karl Rove. Most of the Crazies have a particular axe to grind from a bad experience with government. Sort of like quitting a certain grocery store because you got a bad can of food years ago. Or education will actually cure the ignorant. In short, this coalition can fall like a house of cards when it is exposed to honest public debate.
Right now, what fuels them is the likes of Faux (Fox) news, Hannity and Colter; each of whom are non-journalists, who see more money the more they inflame their audience. When the Tea party has to stand up against a truly national public debate, the cards will fall.
Rick Perry, though, is just slightly left of the Tea Party, and to the right of whomever qualifies as a traditional republican these days. Actual traditional republicans are plentiful, they are just not represented anymore. Perry would not please the “serious, we-thought-we had-something-going Tea Party,” and he would not please the economically conservative but socially progressive republicans. But anyone who (God forbid) longs for another Texan in the white house, who loves cowboy boots, and who has a single issue priority in common with Rick is set for their Man for 2012.
Obama (and I will lump in, Clinton) democrats are also plentiful, they are just quiet. However, since Obama is the only democratic candidate, he has begun to unify the party. As tradition and sensible strategy would have it, Obama is campaigning to the moderates and independents more than to the far left. This ticks off the more liberal wing, who have not received gifts like closing Gitmo, national gay marriage, single-payer health care, and a huge injection of employment programs.
A national campaign will break down the faction barriers that a few people believe the country has devolved to. When the Tea Party “spokespeople” are discredited – and they surely will be – the moderates will resurface. Some of the Tea Partiers will literally or figuratively retreat underground; too bad, they did not get their way, and the rest of them will join the real world.
Now, I have NO confidence in politics and the actual work of government during the upcoming campaign. These children will continue to fight like they have.
I am confident that Obama will beat Perry in the public square and the ballot box, but it will be a bruiser fight. Obama will need to retrieve his tough rhetorical side. And the polarized politics will remain sore and entrenched. Should a more moderate, less scary republican arise this fall – and my money for that side is on Perry – then I see the Tea Party remaining and seriously considering incorporating. A three-party system may represent the country better, but it would also easily elect Obama. That would be even more fun for the whole country!