Tomorrow: Romney v. Perry; Part II

Both bearing some battle wounds from their previous meeting just days ago on Wednesday, Sept. 7, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry will reunite in Florida tomorrow.

This is Florida! The Sunshine state! There are oranges! And tomatoes! My grandparents used to live there! By which I mean: the median age in Florida according to the 2010 Census is 40.7 and the percentage of the population aged 65 and older is 17.3 percent.

Romney has already published a flyer attacking Perry’s stance on Social Security. Clearly this will be an issue Romney wants to focus on. As Jennifer Rubin notes, Perry can either back off or propose an actual alternative. That’s if he wants to hold on to his lead. Rubin forgets the third option: sidestep, continue to use inflammatory rhetoric and fail to offer any options to fix entitlements. That might not seem like a viable course but I wouldn’t be surprised if Perry tries it. Maybe he’ll backpedal a bit and say it’s unsustainable in its current form (true) and that reforms are necessary to preserve it… I don’t know, that doesn’t strike me as the Texan’s usual style.

If Perry continues on his current tack, voters are sure to take note. A March WSJ/NBC poll find that the vast majority of Americans consider significant cuts to entitlements “unacceptable” and about half don’t think cuts to Medicare (54) or Social Security (49) are needed to significantly reduce the deficit.

The four big issues at the debate, all bones of contention between Romney and Perry:

  1. Social Security
  2. JOBS records and plans
  3. SCIENCE, the existence thereof
  4. ROMNEYCARE and the 25 percent of Texans with no insurance

I’ve created a fun chart of the possible outcomes regarding Romney and Perry in the 2012 General Election. It may amuse you…

"It's the economy, stupid!"

What might happen to the GOP and the Tea Party if...

I give some credit to a chart I saw this summer which inspired the last bit about the party reactions from Kevin Drum over at MotherJones.

I know I’m being a horrible person and ignoring the six other candidates who will be there, not to mention the ones who weren’t even invited to the debate, but… I just don’t see a come-from-behind for Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul or Santorum.

Michelle Bahmann had her moment in the spotlight but lost her Tea Party momentum as soon as Perry entered the stage. Herman Cain likes to throw out “solutions” which get pretty much ignored (I do plan on doing an analysis of his 9-9-9 plan as soon as I stop laughing about the tithe reference). Newt Gingrich has not contributed much to the conversation – he’s a “team player” and just wants Obama to lose. Jon Huntsman worked for Barack Obama and may be a spy for the Chinese (kidding! but seriously, this totally disqualifies him in the eyes of many conservatives). Ron Paul isn’t a Republican, he’s a libertarian. Rick Santorum… well.

I would like to hear more from some of the candidates who practically don’t exist: particularly, Buddy Roemer. His appearance on The Daily Show demonstrated him to be articulate, aware of the problems with the US political system being money-driven and interested in the root causes of the economic crisis. Go him… Too bad the very fact that he’s speaking out against big money influence in politics basically guarantees he will be unable to win.

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