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I’m not even sure I’m watching,

1.  Romney and Bachmann are going to be gunning for Perry on Social Security.  Perry might have been executing a rope-a-dope.  If comes back with a plausible answer built around condemning what is broken about the current system and maintaining Social Security without tax increases (by some combination of increasing the retirement age and changing the indexing of benefits for high earners of future retirees - he doesn’t have to go into huge detail), he could come out looking great.  He has had almost a week to come up with an answer so he has had the time if he has the wit to use the time profitably.

2.  Bachmann is in a tough situation.  She was never a good bet to win the nomination never mind the general election.  But she could have become the Rev. Jesse Huckabee of this cycle by beating Romney in a few primaries and caucuses.  She could have become the (partly self-appointed) spokeswoman of the “real” Tea Party.  It would have been years of the media and politicians coming to her so that she can give the “Tea Party” perspective or validate the authenticity of this or that politician.  If she doesn’t knock Perry out of the box and win Iowa, she is going to be less than a footnote in electoral history.  She will be the candidate that knocked Pawlenty out of the race.  Which is to say that she would become the answer to a trivia question that no one is going to be asking.

3.  I’m not sure that attacking Perry on Social Security from the left is going to do it for Bachmann.  It makes at least as much sense for her to present herself as the small government/citizen politician vs. Perry the corporatist/cronyist/eminent domain abuser/professional politician.  I’m not liking her chances but it is her best shot.

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