On one hand, they have Mitt Romney, who until recently seemed like the perfect candidate. The former Governor of Massachusetts announced he was running for President in April of 2011, though most of us have been expecting it since 2008 election. He comes from a New England state that was first to legalize gay marriage and incredible liberal universal healthcare system, also first, where even a Republican could look like a Democrat, especially in the South and Southwest. Coming back this time around, after loosing the 2008 Republican primary to Senator McCain, Romney is looking well groomed, more conservative, and well funded. He’s had three years to plan to take on President Obama, and as a former businessman, in this tough, economy he just may.
On the other hand, there is the battle for second from former Governor Sarah Palin. Governor Palin put together a powerful “Tea Party” — and fares well with the more conservative base. I don’t believe Governor Palin is serious about her election, making me believe that the real second place contest is the Texas former Governor Rick Perry, who changes the game some.
In the past, there would be little debate, Romney would have the cat in the bag. But with the primary election dates up in the air, his chances could be shy of the numbers he needs in order to cinch the deal, taking second to Governor Perry.
I’m not very good at math, but even I can figure out that Perry, by the numbers, has a good chance of winning the Republican primary, despite Romney’s strong fundraising infrastructure.
In the past, the way Romney is running would work. He is caucusing in the early primary states of the past. But with the dates being extended, going into mid-summer and less importance being placed on Super Tuesday, Perry might have a lead. Especially if Perry can win his home state of Texas with their whopping 140 delegates, as well as much of the southern states, and Romney continues to move toward the right.
Perry fairs well with the GOP’s tea party, and in hopes of picking up those votes Romney’s move toward is already getting him the “flip-flop” image that could be used against him. Let’s not forget how that ruined Senator Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Meanwhile, Perry is moving more toward the center, in order to appeal to the non-tea party crowd. The difference is the way these two men are attempting to take these steps in order to win the delegates needed to face President Obama, whose approval rating is plummeting, in the general election. Romney is simple making the political moves, while Perry is standing behind his tea party, small government ideology.
Take for instance, his stand on gay marriage. Already, polls indicate that more people support gay marriage nationwide, then don’t. That’s a problem if you’re from the party of no. Romney, though he let it become law in his state, has backed away from it. In fact, it turns out; he never really was in favor of it.
Perry on the other hand, is standing behind the “it’s a states right,” stand, claiming that the federal government has no business in the bedroom. His reasoning keeps his tea party base, but brings the more liberal leaning Republicans, like those in California and New York (and other New England states) to his side. If Perry can fair well in Texas, taking, say 80-100 of Texas’ primary, as well as more than less of those in California and New York, and has a strong platform by winning several of the southern states, he could win.
And Governor Perry winning is a problem for President Obama. Though Romney does fair well in polls matched up against the President, who knows how Perry will factor in. And few know how much of Romney’s affiliations with the Church of Latter Day Saints will influence the election. If played right, Perry could do exactly what President Obama did in 2008 in beating Secretary Clinton, and quite possibly, be the Republican that unseats the President, who is facing more criticism than ever as debt ceiling talks continue, and unemployment continues to rise.