As I anticipated, Texas Gov. Rick Perry now tops the GOP opinion polls for the presidential nomination. A lot of pundits discount the chances of Perry being elected President, but I don’t.
A lot of Republicans fear that such an extreme right wing candidate is unelectable and Democrats are sure that is the case, but they may all be wrong.
I can see the stars lining up for a Perry win. The Tea Party may be dumb as a rock, but put under the right board, rocks can be the fulcrum for a lever that can move the world.
First, Perry is running for the GOP nomination. The GOP is a relatively small party being drug around by its nose by a motivated faction of the party, but right now the traditional Republicans represented by Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman or even Carl Rove don’t have a clue how to regain control.
Mitt is lying low, hoping people come to their senses. Huntsman is challenging the Tea Party directly on the basis of intellect. Rove is desperately trying to find an alternative candidate. We’ll see if any of these different strategies work.
We have been Tea Party here in NW Iowa before Tea Party was cool. The way it has worked for Congressman Steve King is that he can say something radically stupid, when challenged, he stands his ground, and support from the base will then well up around him as he comes out politically stronger for it.
It is sort of like when that Congressman yelled out “You Lie!” during the President’s state of the Union message and the checks flooded into his campaign coffers.
Nothing Perry has said has hurt him at all with the political base that will likely choose the GOP nominee. In fact, it has endeared him to them. The more irreverent, brash, inaccurate and disrespectful the slur, the more this constituency loves it.
About eight to nine of every 10 things Michelle Bachman says are factually erroneous and she still won the Iowa GOP straw poll. How things should work are not working as they should and old school party stalwarts are totally confused how to deal with it.
Rick Perry is a product of the current insanity and it is not a given at all that this will harm his prospects of being President. In fact, it may go a long way to assure that he will win the GOP nomination.
One would think that as Perry is the most anti-ethanol and by extension, anti-Corn Belt agriculture politician ever to run for President, that that may handicap him in the Iowa caucuses. But I doubt it.
The groups that attend the caucuses are small and they are the hyper-committed “true believers.” They can rationalize anything to come out to the desired political outcome, even destroying the Iowa ag economy as collateral damage.
Bachman, from Minnesota, will be an alternative to them as she would be less of a threat to E-15 and the Renewable Fuels Standards than Perry. King is likely to support Bachman, but we will see.
Perry reportedly was mum on ethanol when campaigning here in Iowa. That is odd as he has been the most outspoken anti-ethanol governor in the country with plenty to say negative about ethanol, aggressively challenging the ethanol industry and government policy implementing the RFS and approving E-15.
Allowing retailers to sell E-15 is a market driven voluntary choice, the kind of thing that Perry claims to support on other issues. These guys from big-oil, big-cattle states can’t compromise their principles fast enough to injure ethanol – which means they really don’t have any.
I see Bachman as Perry’s running mate. Conventional thinking is that after winning the GOP nomination that Perry would pick a moderate running mate to balance the ticket to make it more acceptable to the general electorate.
Not this time. Anyone not a “true believer” will never make the short list of VP candidates. Putting a moderate on the ticket would be seen as a compromise and the Tea Party doesn’t do compromise any more. It is all or nothing even if the country suffers. To them the country is already lost so they are out to save it and the means is irrelevant to the end they seek.
President Obama has correctly accepted that his re-election prospects will be determined by the economy. If, as may well be the case, the economy is in the tank near Election Day, all the old rules are replaced by the current angst and anxiety and what was by conventional wisdom an irrational response, suddenly seems like a plausible alternative.
That is why Perry didn’t want the Fed to do anything that could enhance the economy before Election Day, seeing that as traitorous. The Fed is not political, but Perry was viewing their monetary policy from a political perspective prompting his open threat.
The dysfunction of Washington, attributable to the Tea Party, could well influence the poor economic performance that would create the conditions Obama could not politically survive. Some might criticize that as unpatriotic, but not in the Tea Party mindset.
They see the President as the greatest threat to the country, even more so than was Bin Laden.
That is how Rick Perry gets into the White House. That is how ethanol and the ag economy get taken down.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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