Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coulter: Perry has made "big mistakes"

Ann Coulter, in a fascinating clip from last night's Hannity.

"Perry does have some problems of his own, and I think it's very important for people to remember that there's a difference running and being elected in Texas versus Massachusetts or New Jersey.

Basically, Perry has won elections in a state that is entirely the Republican base....

When your entire electorate is a conservative, Republican base, you don't have room to make a single mistake, and Perry has made mistakes.
He has made big mistakes on illegal immigration."

Of the growing number, there are currently three angles of attack on Rick Perry that either Mitt Romney or his fans are making that will have trouble working.

1. Coulter's argument that it's easier for Perry to have a conservative record in Texas than Massachusetts.

It's true, but primary voters want a leader who governs according to principle and not a state's ideology -- whether that's realistic or not.

If Romney appeals to the messy practice of governing a liberal state, it will make him look weak.

2. Texas governors don't have much power, so Perry can't claim credit for his state's success.

Again, it might be true, but it's a tough sell. Governors are like quarterbacks. They often get undeserved praise or criticism based on the team's performance.

Imagine a debate where Perry rolls out Texas' numbers, and Romney counters by saying Perry didn't have too much to do with it. That seems petty.

3. Perry is a career politician.

I wrote about this yesterday, but it's true today, as well. If Romney has a weakness, it's that he doesn't seem authentic and isn't a straight shooter -- hallmarks of someone who's a politician.

Perry, by contrast, says things that get him in trouble -- things a career politician wouldn't do, according to a primary voter.

If anything, Romney might come out weaker in an argument over who's more of a politician.

Another problem is that "career politician" isn't what this election is about. Ron Paul has been in politics since the 1970s, and a lot of people don't hold it against him. That's because he seems like a straight shooter. Perry is a tough, moving target here, and again, his occasional mistakes and brashness will strike many as marks of a more authentic candidate.

Calling Mitch McConnell a career politician is a far easier sell (even though Perry is an extraordinarily adept career politician).