Thursday, September 22, 2011


Hey, Mitt Romney (and Karl Rove and the rest of the GOP Establishment): You want to get the GOP base to reject Rick Perry? This is how you do it:

Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has pointed to job growth in Texas during the current economic downturn as one of his main accomplishments. But analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) data collected by the Census Bureau show that immigrants (legal and illegal) have been the primary beneficiaries of this growth since 2007, not native-born workers....

Among the findings:

* Of jobs created in Texas since 2007, 81 percent were taken by newly arrived immigrant workers (legal and illegal)....

That's from the Center for Immigration Studies, a "low-immigration" advocacy group. Is this my preferred line of attack against Rick Perry? No -- but all the stuff I don't like about Perry is precisely what endears him to the GOP base. I think this is where you want to go if you want to hurt him with the base.

But the Stop Perry movement in the GOP Establishment is being led by Karl Rove, who, of course, tried to win Hispanic voters over to the GOP by means of an immigration reform effort in the Bush years. Bush and Rove had their heads handed to them by the base when they tried this. Old habits die hard, however.

You know what's not working? Romney's attacks on Perry on the subject of Social Security. A Quinnipiac poll has Perry leading in Florida, despite his "Ponzi" talk:

Voters in Florida, with the nation's highest concentration of senior citizens, say 58 -- 33 percent that it is "unfair" to describe Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," as Perry has done. But among Republicans, the only ones allowed to vote in the state's crucial primary, 52 percent say that is a fair way to describe the nation's retirement system.

And that's the second Florida poll to show Perry in the lead.

You know what's not going to work? What GOP Establishmentarian Jennifer Rubin is talking about here:

Perry has to get the ethics issue off the deck

My colleague Marc Thiessen doesn’t like the source of much of the data on Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s system of patronage. He claims that Texans for Public Justice is a "secretive, left-wing, Soros-funded organization,"and their reports should be ignored.

There are three problems with this. A great deal of the data has been reported elsewhere. The Post and Texas papers, as well as other publications, have confirmed the system of pay-to-play that keeps Perry’s big donors very happy.... In Texas Perry's activities may have passed muster, but now he's got to justify this conduct to a national electorate.

Second, Perry's handlers have only said that he appoints people on the basis of merit. That's it. Voters will have to judge, given the huge number of appointees and the correlation with big donations, if this is believable.

And finally, arguing that the same group investigated President George W. Bush is a non sequitor. A I noted in the report, TPJ says that both Govs. Ann Richards and George W. Bush engaged in some of this, but Perry’s is on a grander scale. Moreover, Perry is running as a Tea Party candidate. He can't simply get by by saying "this is how it’s done in Texas."

That last part is a real hoot, because Rubin actually believes the tea party BS about hating cronyism, when, in fact, the tea party hates only Democratic cronyism (and cronyism on the part of "RINOs," meaning Republicans who don't vote in 100% lockstep on every litmus-test issue).

Rubin adds,

... A savvy Republican operative (who previously was enthusiastic about Perry and is now undecided) said it best to me this afternoon. "If he gets better and explains all this he'll be the nominee. And if not, he won’t be."Yup.

Nope. He doesn't have to explain this. Democrats and independents are so cynical at this point that we expect all pols to be corrupt. Republican voters naively believe there are right-wing "Constitution-loving" Jimmy Stewarts in tricorn hats who are pure as the driven snow, and everyone else is a tool of Satan. But if you please these rube voters on their litmus tests, they'll assume you're pure. So Perry can just shrug this off.

(Rubin and Quinnipiac via Jonathan Chait.)