I’m neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. And yet I am prepared, on the week before Christmas 2011, to name the man who will be the Republican nominee and, I believe, the next president of the United States.

Rick Perry.

Yes, I could be accused of doing some wishful thinking here, I concede, since I’ve made it clear ever since he announced that he is my first choice for the Presidency. But here is my rationale, why I really have begun to believe, debate stumbles and all, that Rick will emerge as the nominee:

1. It is abundantly clear that the rank-and-file doesn’t trust Mitt Romney as the Republican standard-bearer. I have some ideas why this is the case, and you probably do too, but they’re not germane to this discussion. Suffice it to say that while others have risen and fallen, Romney’s lukewarm support has stayed roughly the same. Romney is this year’s McCain, albeit a bit more conservative version (if he can be trusted): he’ll do, but he’ll never, ever thrill Republicans. Ever. Nobody will wake up on Election Day and proclaim, “Hot Diggity, I get to go vote for Mitt Romney!!!”

2. Newt’s popularity is falling—fast. What is becoming clear is that he’s not the conservative some think he is; he’s not got the support of many of those who worked closest with him in Congress; he’s prone to saying some incredibly stupid things; he can’t win the Presidency. Thankfully, people are onto him, and I predict his slide will continue.

3. Ron Paul excites a certain percentage of people, but scares a much higher percentage. The people who love Ron Paul love him more than any others love their candidates. He’s truly a pucker-or-duck figure; nobody is ambivalent toward Ron Paul. Personally, I like a whole lot of what he says, but I don’t like his foreign policy, and I don’t like his unelectability, and he’s not my guy. And despite the fact that he’s now taken his turn atop an Iowa poll—and even though it’s conceivable he’ll win Iowa—he will not be the nominee.

4. This, then, leads us to ask, “who’s left?” And the polls are beginning to trend to Rick Perry. He is, in my judgment, the one candidate with a stellar record of governing, a stellar position on social issues, and no (known) character issues. Granted, there are a few positions Rick has taken in the past that I think were unwise; granted, he needs work in debates (only because these exercises in silliness seem to matter to some people). But all of that said, given that the other conservative candidates, Michelle Bachmann (unelectable) and Rick Santorum (a nice Veep candidate, perhaps) aren’t getting traction (and won’t), it looks to me like Rick is well-positioned to be the conservative choice. He may win Iowa—I’m betting on it, in fact—and though he isn’t running strong in New Hampshire, a good Iowa performance will help his standing there. Then comes South Carolina, and by that time, it may be down to Mitt and Rick. Nikki Haley’s endorsement aside, South Carolinians are quite the conservative lot, and I see him being very competitive there.

In the end, I think Rick is the last man standing.

And the next President.

7 responses »

  1. There are three reasons why your analysis is flawed.

    1. I will wake up on election day and say hot diggity, I get to vote for Mitt Romney

    2. The GOP in the rest of the country is not Iowa and

    3. Um, um, what was that third one there?

    • Byron says:

      You’re a funny man, Dr. Throckmorton…

      OK, so you are the one American excited about Romney. Great. I’ll be happy for you, if not for America, if you get to get up election day and get your jollies. I will trudge to the polls, I suppose, and with great reluctance pull that same lever.

      Now, as for the rest of the country not being Iowa, we can thank the Lord for that. But I digress…what happens in Iowa can change the face of the campaign. I think Iowa is winnable for Perry, in fact that he will at worst run second to Romney. Paul’s goose is being slowly roasted with the racist-newsletter revelations (and as you say, the rest of the country isn’t Iowa; Paul has poured his heart into Iowa, which will form for him, at best if I’m wrong about the racist newsletter thing, his one shining moment). Real conservatives are lining up now to disparage Newt—and rightly so—now that he’s actually a “serious candidate”. That leaves Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum as the serious conservative alternatives to Romney, and Bachmann cannot win, whereas Santorum’s chance of winning seems a lot less than Perry’s, IMHO. I’m betting it comes down to Perry and Romney in the end, and if people will look at Rick’s record, I think they’ll coalesce around him as the anti-Romney.

  2. Transcript of phone call between Rick Perry and his campaign manager

    12/23/11

    Perry: Looks like the conservative challenge to Romney has boiled down to three candidates: Perry (that’s me), that pretty lady Bachmann and um, what was that third one there?

    Manager: Paul?

    Perry: No, not that pointy headed little troll.

    Manager: Gingrich?

    Perry: Never heard of him

    Manager: Santorum?

    Perry: Oh, yeah, Jim Santorum, from New York, I think.

    Yeah, well anyway, them there evangelicals wanted me to get in this race. Had me a prayer meeting and everything down in Texas where we prayed for rain and got fire instead. And then that Family Leader guy, (what was his name, big long name, there’s a V in it), went and endorsed Jim Santorum (http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/23/questions-raised-over-vander-plaats-endorsement/) who is a Roman Catholic!

    Manager: Maybe we should call a prayer meeting and pray for Iowa like we did Texas.

    Perry: Call whazizname and get on it!

  3. Josh says:

    I would like to go on record to say that I think this reasoning is crazy… If Perry does indeed win the nomination I will tip my hat to you and say “well done Byron, you got it right!”… But I just don’t see it. My boy Paul will not receive the nomination either, due to his foreign policy not the dated newsletters. It will be Obama vs. Romney next November in mho, we’ll see how it plays out.

  4. Shane Ryans says:

    nope they got newt! But I would prefer Romney.

  5. Byron – In addition to all of the other wonderful things you are, I know you are an actor. At times actors need to learn lines that they are uncomfortable with. Now is such a time.

    Practice this several times a day; just say “Romney.” Then when you master that, practice saying “President Romney.”

    In three months, if we aren’t saying “GOP nominee Romney” then we all better practice saying “Second term.”

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