Truth Before Dishonor

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Rick Perry’s Florida Debate

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/09/23


Catch A Falling Star

As all the politically aware know, there was a Republican Presidential debate down in Florida yesterday. And the top Republican announced candidates were there. And consensus has it: Rick Perry flopped once again.

Michelle Malkin notes Perry’s “Cringe-worthiest debate moment”:

The cringe-worthiest moment, by a hair, was when Perry botched what should have been his most potent attack on Mitt Romney’s chronic flip-flopping. As I noted on Twitter when it happened, any random high schooler at the CPAC conference in Washington could have done better than this.

If this is how Perry’s going to take Obama on in debates, we’re in trouble. Someone inject him with some Red Bull and a dash of Herman Cain’s personality.


PERRY: “I think Americans just don’t know sometimes which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of…against…the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment…was it was..before he was before these social programs, uh, from the standpoint he was standing, uh, for Roe vs. Wade before he was against Roe, uh, Roe vs. Wade…uh…he was…uh for Race To The Top…

Uh…[pause]…he’s for Obamacare and now he’s against it…I mean, we’ll wait until tomorrow and, and, and wait to see which Mitt Romney we’re really talking to…

Here’s Ed Morrissey’s take:

As I commented last night on Twitter, Rick Perry has begun to remind me of the Minnesota Vikings in these debates. He starts off strong and runs up a lead in the first half, starts coasting, and then eventually turns the ball over repeatedly and loses. For the third debate in a row, Perry lost steam in the second half, lost focus — and in this case lost the ability to put together a coherent sentence in an attack that was clearly rehearsed. Perry leaped at the chance to attack Romney as a flip-flopper, which shouldn’t be that hard to do, and … well, see for yourself:

Some might argue that debates don’t prove anything about how a candidate will function as President, but that’s not entirely true. First, one has to win the election, and offering incoherent ramblings on television is no way to do that. Second, voters have to have confidence in a candidate’s abilities to win their support, and anyone watching this part of the debate had to be wondering whether Perry is really up to the task of debating Barack Obama, or dealing with the media in a press conference, which is most certainly part of the job.

I’d expect Perry’s numbers to soften up after this performance. And with that comes an opening for a late arrival into the race, especially if Romney’s numbers don’t move upward.

And RS McCain’s take:

Perry looked like a loser last night: “Cringeworthy.” We’ll get the results Saturday of a Republican straw poll in Florida, and if Perry doesn’t win that, the “Anybody But Romney” vote may start looking around for another horse to ride.

Seriously, um, dude, you gotta … I mean if you’re … spit it out, dude! If Rick Perry were Ricki Perry the female governor of Texas, the mainstream media would be asking “Are you ditzy?” But since he’s a man…

If that was Perry’s most cringeworthy portion of the debate, there is another portion where Perry turned the tractor beam into a repulsor beam (Star Trek TNG), and that was his illegal immigration fiasco.

From Michelle Malkin:

Perry lost big in his continued defense of DREAM Act illegal alien student preferences. Frank Luntz’s focus group on Sean Hannity’s show after the debate unanimously panned Perry on immigration and especially took umbrage at his condescending line about critics not having a “heart.” Which follows on his similarly-toned line from the last debate about how Republicans should care about students no matter what their last names sound like.

(Reminder: Texas Tea Party activists to Perry: Hey, what about our borders?)

RS McCain quotes his own American Spectator article concerning this.

Rick Perry may have forfeited his lead in the Republican presidential field during Thursday night’s debate in Orlando when he declared that those who oppose subsidizing college education for illegal immigrants are heartless.

“If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said, after being criticized by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for a Texas policy providing in-state tuition for illegals.

Romney, who vetoed a similar tuition bill in Massachusetts, pointed out that this amounts to a $22,000-a-year discount for illegal aliens, as compared to the tuition that would be paid by U.S. students from the other 49 states attending universities in Texas. “That doesn’t make sense to me,” Romney said.

It didn’t make sense to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum either. “You’re sort of making this leap that unless… the taxpayers subsidize it, [immigrants] won’t be able to go [to college].… The point is, why are we subsidizing it?… And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country?” . . .

Tina Korbe has a piece of advice for Perry.

Perry’s support for Texas DREAM need not cost him the support of those who are strongly opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants or who strongly support — as Perry puts it — “more boots on the ground” to secure our borders. In other words, Perry should reassure voters he’s not squishy on border security nor does he favor amnesty for illegals — and deflect attention from the Texas DREAM Act as much as possible, not call attention to it with self-righteous pronouncements.

I have a different piece of advice for Perry: Stop alienating most of the voters and the vast, vast majority of Republicans and TEA Partiers. As I noted in my article Numbers Democrats Don’t Want You To See (and apparently neither does Rick Perry):

The data stays bad when looking at educating illegal immigrants.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey [August 23, 2011] shows that only 32% of Likely U.S. Voters believe children of parents in this country illegally should be allowed to attend public school here. Fifty-three percent (53%) do not believe those young illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend public school.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters believe parents should be required to prove they are legal residents of the United States when registering their child for public school. Twenty-one percent (21%) oppose such a requirement.

Several states have made illegal immigrants eligible for lower in-state tuition at colleges and universities, but 81% of voters oppose such a move in their state. Just 12% think illegal immigrants should be eligible for these tuition breaks in their home state. Opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to be eligible for in-state tuition is slightly stronger than it was back in October 2007.

The vast majority of voters are in direct opposition to the Democrats’ position on educating illegals, but again, the Democrats don’t want the voters to know they are in such a vast majority while the Democrat leadership is holding the extremist position. This issue also definitely hurts Governor Perry as he stands alongside the Democrats (in a “me, too” position) in contradiction to the vast majority of the public.

So, Rick Perry’s “heartless” lashing out was lashing out at 81 percent of American voters. Not a good way to win anyone’s vote. But there’s yet another piece in the chain of events in Perry’s debate collapse. Michelle Malkin provides evidence that Rick Perry’s Liberal tactic anecdotal heart-string pull for his unilateral Big Government crony capitalist “pay to play” Gardasil Executive Order was a case of, errr, erroneous memory.

As I wrote in my Sarah Palin Suddenly Electable article, much of Palin’s improving polling stems from other Republicans flaming out and people taking a second look at Sarah Palin. I also explained in The Palin Paradox if one makes the premise of Palin knowing she’s running but waiting for the right moment to run, Perry’s mid-August entry into the race — after he promised his Texas voters he wouldn’t — pushed Palin’s timeline back. With Perry’s debate implosion the last couple debates, I believe Perry just pushed Palin’s timeline back forward again.

2 Responses to “Rick Perry’s Florida Debate”

  1. scatback said

    That 1st quote sounds like Perry has the communication skills of Dr. McPhee, Ricky Gervais’ character in “Night at the Museum,” which is to say, next to none.


  2. […] by John Hitchcock on 2011/10/01 Rick Perry, who accused 81 percent of the public of being heartless, is still digging. Allahpundit says: Matt Lewis says he’s improving on this issue. I guess, but […]


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