Last night Rick Perry came in 5th in the Iowa caucus with a mere 10% of the vote, while fellow conservative Rick Santorum surged to get 26%. While conservatives, combined overwhelmingly defeated the moderates, (Romney and Huntsman) 41-26, and even if you throw in all of Newt’s votes (as an arguably GOP establishment insider if not entirely moderate) they still won 41-39. (6% Paulbots and 14% unnamed Democrats-turned-Republican-for-a-day filled out the field.)
On the one hand, this make me happy as the line has finally been drawn by voters between the battle between conservatism and squishitism. It’s ours to lose.
But I’m certain it does not please Rick Perry one iota, as he spent an awful lot of money in Iowa and failed to meet minimum expectations. Accordingly, he announced he was heading back to Texas to reassess his candidacy, which by midday today, he says, and I note, with joy in my heart, he’s staying in the fight.
But as for that reassessment part, I hope Gov Perry took note that 3 out every 4 conservative votes cast in Iowa was cast a vote for someone other than himself. Or that in the last 3-4 days alone, Rick Santorum took as much as a quarter of Rick Perry’s support. I’m sure Perry’s internal polling bears out an even darker picture, considering how hopeful they were just Monday night. Face to face, after having heard all the speeches, coming down to the finish line, Iowan after Iowan chose Santorum over Rick Perry. That’s a bitter pill.
But there’s a reason this is so, therefore a lesson. Rick Perry was doing something fundamentally wrong in Iowa, and here’s my own reassessment, Gov Perry, as to what that certain something was.
Keeping “this little light of mine” under a basket
From the early debates we all watched the candidates relentlessly pump up their resumes. Starting from an all out attack on Barack Obama, which has understandably slacked off of late (so that they could get at each other), to a steady drumbeat of resume puffery and whining, it did seem the “reasons for the season” was a little understated. Perry was the candidate of jobs, Cain the candidate of financial rescue, Bachmann the candidate of the Tea Parties. Everyone was competent, and could accomplish this, or that. Only Rick Santorum was the candidate of an unrelenting pursuit, and defense, of freedom, for which he reminded us, ad naseum, he wasn’t getting any respect or attention.
I’m a burning fire guy, the kind who wants to know what makes people leap out of bed in the morning to go fight the opponent, the opposition…the Enemy. It isn’t numbers and factoids, this much I know. I watched all the debates closely for that one fire that had to be lit, and be kept lit in front of people’s noses every minute of every day. After all, it is why they turned out in record numbers in 2010. Only they will carry the victory. The candidate can only energize, and if lucky enough, get to lead them.
People have to be kept in constant remembrance of Obamacare, not just as a law that needs to be repealed, but as America’s first Alamo or Pearl Harbor issued from the hands of its own government since the Revolution, an injury of incalculable enormity which no American can sleep well until it has been redressed. I can make a list of at least ten other events in the last two years, which, while not as egregious as Obamacare, have been only more recent images of the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress spitting on the American people, the Constitution, and all that Americans hold holy.
War has been made upon the American people and merely coming before them with a resume of being able to field strip and reassemble an investment capital corporation while blindfolded doesn’t quite seem to grasp the sense of the job at hand, as the people see it.
This awful fact needs to be in front of us always, but not as a way to highlight our victimhood, as is the fashion of the day, but rather incite justice and a reckoning for all that has been done.
In those debates: Who most wrapped himself in the reverence of the Constitution? Not Ron Paul, mind you, who looks on the Constitution less with reverence and more as a ’59 Plymouth Fury owner’s manual. Who knelt at the altar of Liberty and found a way to insinuate man’s thirst for freedom, morality, and even God into every public appearance?
Consistently, that man was Rick Santorum.
But Rick Santorum was also stuck in lower single digits in the poll. And if you’re a handicapper of such things, you probably wouldn’t go wrong by connecting those two dots and saying it was because Rick Santorum was talking about all the wrong things. He couldn’t match Perry for jobs creation or executive management. He couldn’t match Herman Cain for financial expertise. Still, Santorum conveyed a lit fire, that while we all believed it was in the others as well, it was illuminated in him, while they kept that little light under a bushel basket…probably on the advice of their handlers.
Now I knew Herman Cain and discussed this with him a little over a year ago. Mr Cain understands the spiritual and moral emptiness that underscores our political slide into statism. He knows the great injuries that have been inflicted on us a nation and people. But Herman is not a terribly sentimental man.
Rick Perry knows these things as well, only he is a sentimental man as well as spiritual man such as Herman. Just watch this video of his speech at Liberty University earlier in the year and you’ll see..
Rick’s speech here is not about politics but a spiritual journey. Still in most of his stump speeches Perry refines all this into policy positions, fixes, remedies. As Iowans showed us yesterday, they can tell the difference. And they appreciated it.
And they went with Santorum.
I’m not saying this so that Rick Perry will go out and copy Rick Santorum.
Rick Perry has a far larger arsenal of assets to offer the American people as president than Santorum. It’s that simple, He always did, always will. But Santorum has shown what many voters thirst for most, and it is not a 10-point plan, or a record of achievement, but rather some good old righteous indignation, a plan for a reckoning, not just in setting the ship aright mind you, but a road map to justice.
Most people know the subliminal message was always there in Rick Perry, but I think Perry’s advisers (I hope a few have been fired by the time this piece is published) have been giving him poor advice on how to advertise it.
People don’t just want to see Rick Perry the bean-counter, the want to see Rick Perry the firebrand and warrior.
He needs to turn his promise of “making Washington as inconsequential as I can” into a rallying cry. Say it once a day, every day, all day long. And his suggestion of cutting Congress’ time in Washington by half, and their salaries and benefits as well, should be, as Ronald Reagan did so expertly, taken directly to the people. Instead of a caustic aside, make it a policy platform as loud and clear as Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan.
Rick Perry assumed everyone always knew these subliminal truths about him, so he dwelt on tangible policy matters, keeping those things buried.
If he wants to win, he needs to reverse those completely, and make his executive skills the subliminal thing that is understood, while turning these deeper issues of nation, and justice and liberty into the (super) liminal rallying cry.
Remind voters daily of the departments that will be shut down or cut back, or defunded. Take EPA back to its original commission then RIF (reduce in force) the ones (app 85%) who don’t fit into the scheme.
By turning the campaign into a crusade, and reminding the people that he is the only one who can actually execute such a bold plan, Rick Perry can then win.