PERRY IS NOT A "CAREER POLITICIAN" THE WAY GEORGE W. BUSH WAS NOT A DRAFT DODGER
Mitt Romney is now attacking Rick Perry as a "career politician." I agree with what Steve Benen says in response to that -- but I don't think it's a full explanation for why the line of attack won't work:
...the "career politician" line seems especially odd given Romney's background. Isn't this the guy who ran for the Senate in 1994, ran for governor in 2002, ran for president in 2008, and is running for president again in 2012? Indeed, by most measures, he's been running for the White House continuously for more than four years.
In other words, wouldn't Mitt Romney be a career politician, too, if only voters liked him a little more?
Beyond that, I'll point to George W. Bush, who dodged the draft during Vietnam by flying planes Stateside for the Texas Air National Guard, yet had the unmitigated gall to don a uniform and (reportedly) fly a military aircraft on May 1, 2003, then run for president a year and a half later against a three-time Purple Heart winner as the real war hero in the race. He won, of course, thanks to adulation by the right-wing base, which suggests that if you're a wingnut hero, the base will conclude that you are what you pretend to be. (Bush was also a "rancher" with no real ranch, as well as a Texan with a New England pedigree and Ivy League degrees.)
Perry, to the base, would not be a career politician if he'd been in office longer that Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd combined. Perry wouldn't be a career politician because everyone knows he hates government and hates politicians. Therefore, even though he can't remember the last time he drew a private-sector paycheck, he's an outsider. Oh, sure, he's an outsider with government experience, but watching him feels like watching an outsider (if you're in the base).
Romney really has to do better than this.
UPDATE: Holden Pattern writes in comments:
I think there's a category in the wingnut brain for "career anti-politician" which means someone who spends their career claiming to hate the government from which they draw their paycheck and their friends' payola.