Ah, the surprises that await the aspiring pol!
Exhibit A: Texas Governor Rick Perry.
He jumped into the race in August as a force to be reckoned with. His early polling gave him a 29-17 lead over Mitt Romney.
Now we hear from Iowa, a state that was ‘supposed’ to be his, that he’s tied for fifth (!) with Newt Gingrich and trails leaders Herman Cain and Romney by about 15 points.
Despite what the punditry claims, the Iowa caucuses aren’t that important. Since 1976 only one non-incumbent GOP candidate who won the Iowa caucuses has gone on to win the presidency.
But it seems to me that for Perry to poll way behind a candidate who is barely campaigning in that state says a lot about his campaign and the people who are running it. I’m not talking ideology, but campaign mechanics.
If I were a campaign manager, I’d take a long look at every skeleton or perceived skeleton in my client’s closet and create a strategy for the candidate to minimize, dismiss, or even benefit from it. I don’t get the sense that Team Perry has done anything close to that.
First, there’s the book he wrote that was published late last year. As Steven Levingston wrote,
“He didn’t think much of legislation on food safety, the minimum wage, child labor bans, environmental protection and Medicare.”
When challenged by those in the electorate who were uncomfortable with his positions in the book, Team Perry scrambled to contain the damage control.
Second, was the statement about Ben Bernanke. I understand why he might object to Bernanke’s quantitative easing, but instead of preparing him with a 40-second soundbite to counter it, Team Perry left the man without a fallback. And again, they had to mop up when Perry called the Fed chairman’s actions “almost treasonous.”
The list goes on. The ranch name. Allowing him to reignite the birther issue in a way that riled other Republicans instead of giving him more presidential sounding talking points for his interviews. His lack of preparedness for the debates and his response to same.
Isn’t up-front preparation, in part at least, what an aspiring pol pays a campaign team for? Is Perry’s team not capable of providing guidance and counsel, or is it not allowed to? Either way, Perry’s candidacy looks to me like it needs proactive focus from a capable campaign team who is allowed to do its job.
Filed under: 2012 | Tagged: Rick Perry | 78 Comments »