A week ago, I made it pretty clear why I believe Gov. Rick Perry is the best choice for conservatives in this election. Now I'll go a step further. I think he is the only Republican contender who can defeat Obama.
Obama will run rings around former Gov. Mitt Romney on Romneycare and his pathetic 47th place finish in job creation as governor of Massachusetts. With former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as the nominee, the general election campaign would morph into a media circus on his Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac ties and why American women just don't trust the guy. Because Gingrich plans to go Newtular on Mitt, I believe Newt's tactics will resemble a scorched earth campaign and could procure a pyrrhic victory. Santorum will not win the nomination because he lacks executive experience and his national organization is akin to an impending train wreck. Santorum's organization problem directly stems from his lack of executive experience problem. So Mitt will probably wind up winning the nomination and subsequently subject the Republican party to another butt-kicking in November, unless one thing happens: Perry becomes a phoenix, rises from the ashes and breathes new life into his campaign. For those fuzzy on greek mythology, the Phoenix was a supernatural creature who lived 1,000 years, then hurled itself into the flames and was reborn to live another 1,000 years. Perry's fundraising prowess and decent national organization present some opportunities for a comeback.
If Perry is able to resurrect his campaign, it will arguably be the greatest comeback in Presidential politics and probably, like the Phoenix, involve the supernatural. I largely agree with Erick's analysis that there needs to be some internal shakeup with the campaign staff. Regrettably good people will get burned. But I can assure you, if Team Perry doesn't get back into the game, the entire nation will continue to get burned for the next four years and probably beyond.
In order for Perry to mount a comeback, three things need to happen:
1) Perry needs to put in some great debate performances.
Perry needs to string together some solid debate performances, but he doesn't just need to avoid gaffes. He needs to hijack some serious debate time away from the other candidates and begin to dominate the discussion. He must relentlessly expose the other GOP contenders as counterfeit conservatives, particularly Santorum and Mitt. Yet he must do this tactfully and effectively while simultaneously establishing his bona fides as a true conservative.
Conservatism is analogous to a three legged stool. One leg is fiscal conservatism and limited government in economic terms, and government has a responsibility to promote liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Another leg is a realistic view and adherence to sound foreign policy and national security which enables our citizens to pursue life, liberty and happiness. The last leg is social conservatism: recognizing that government has an obligation to protect innocent life and promote the family and realizing the best way for our citizens to experience life, freedom and happiness requires promoting Judeo-Christian precepts and morality.
Ronald Reagan understood genuine conservatism and that Americans yearned for it, especially after years of malaise. That's why Reagan cleaned his opponents' clocks in two national elections. He was able to articulate conservatism, prove his conservative credentials and enact a conservative agenda. In our current race, every GOP candidate in the race is missing at least one or two legs on the stool, except for Perry. He must doggedly explain this reality to voters that they must elect a true, consistent conservative to take on Obama.
2) Perry needs to speak directly to conservatives, bypassing the media blackout, and he needs to hone the right message.
Due to Perry's dismal poll numbers in South Carolina and nationally, the drive by media is ignoring him. So Perry must go rogue and begin a direct conversation with conservative voters. To some extent, he's already doing this by his recent articles on RedState and Townhall. He is on the right track. But his team must find creative ways to engage tea party and evangelical leaders in South Carolina and begin reaching out to them. There are 450,000 veterans in South Carolina. The campaign needs to engage and capture this conservative base also.
3) Conservatives across the country need to wake up, get into the game and flood the zone in South Carolina for the upcoming primary.
For those unfamiliar with the term "flood the zone," it occurs when an offense sends more players to a part of a field than the defense can adequately defend with personnel. It's a mismatch. In military terms, it would be similar to using overwhelming force against an adversary.
If you have friends and relatives in SC, you need to start introducing them to Rick Perry today. Before they vote in the primary, you must extract from them a blood oath that they will vote for Rick Perry and tell their friends and neighbors to do likewise. The strike force in Iowa was respectable, but it was not enough. Iowans chose Santorum because they didn't want Romney to win their state. Santorum benefited from not having undergone a proper vetting process and surged at the right moment. Many Iowan voters told me they would enthusiastically support Perry if he could mount a comeback. There were nearly a 1,000 strike force volunteers in Iowa working on Perry's behalf. But this is SC we're talking about now. I believe 2,000 conservatives could realistically respond and descend on SC to get this done for Perry and our nation's future. These volunteers will be instrumental in working a ground game of phone banking, block-walking, sign-waving and manning precincts across SC.
Think about it. We are either in 1976 or 1980. Perry is the most Reaganesque GOP Presidential candidate to come along in 30 years, and we're on the verge of screwing it up. Romney is Gerald Ford--timid and moderate. Either we unite behind Perry or we send Romney to be the sacrificial lamb.
We are rapidly coming to the decisive point in the Republican primary battle. Conservatives must unite and make a stand in SC or all is probably lost. A SC Strike force is forming for Gov. Perry. Volunteers will arrive in the Palmetto state beginning January 15.