As conservatives look over the field of candidates we have been provided this election cycle, one thing becomes abundantly clear: most of these candidates will lose to Obama in 2012. But Rick Perry is the only guy that can show why he is the one you want to have a beer with while Obama is the one upset that the price of arugula is has risen at Wholefoods. If you're reading this, you may not care who the most likable presidential candidate is, but the voters who decide elections do. The simple truth is that Perry is likable, Romney and Gingrich aren't.
Mitt Romney has shown himself to be inherently unlikable. His whole persona seems contrived. He wasn't asked to run for president, he dedicated his life to it. In the General Election, Romney will come off as disingenuous, out-of-touch and rich. Before this presidential run he had over four houses--you may not care, but General Election voters will. The only consistent political position he holds is on a healthcare mandate--voters want someone they can trust. Romney is ripe for attacks. David Axlerod will paint Romney as an out-of-touch opportunist and it will stick enough to convince independents in OH, FL and PA to stick with the known quantity of Obama.
Newt Gingrich running for president is like one of those bad movie sequels where you ask yourself, "why was it necessary to do this again?" We already ran an old, rich, fat, white guy. He was out of touch and lost by embarrassing margins.
There are also a lot of differences between McCain and Gingrich, but none of these factors make Newt more likely to win. Newt is more arrogant than McCain, and whether we like it or not -- is defined by the media narrative as politically petty. He is a serial adulterer. Obama is a family man. Newt is a fighter and he will take it to Obama. The base loves that, we eat it up and can't wait to see a debate. But Newt's style isn't going to play exceedingly well to General Election Voters. He comes off as self-absorbed and arrogant. When he cuts down a reporter you'll catch a brief glare and maybe a smirk, but never a smile. The guy has no general election strengths. He is a loser and we have seen the original back in 2008. Don't be duped into paying for the sequel!
Rick Perry is the only one that can beat Obama. Perry has something that neither Newt nor Mitt possess. Likability. When asked who was the nicest and friendliest candidate backstage at Republican debates, Jon Huntsman's daughters unanimously answered -- "Rick Perry." Governor Perry has General Election likability and that is what it takes to win.
Would anyone say that Jimmy Carter was more likable than Ronald Reagan? Mondale more likable than Reagan? Bush I or Dole more likable than Clinton? Gore or Kerry more likable than Bush II? McCain more likable than Obama? Of course not, the likable guy always, always, always wins in presidential elections.
Obama is infinitely more likable than Mitt or Newt. But Rick Perry is the guy you want to have a beer with in 2012 and that will make all of the difference.
While Obama comes off as more genuine than Newt or Mitt, he doesn't have that advantage over Perry.
In the end, Perry, due to his accent and demeanor is the most likable guy in a matchup and his record speaks for itself. He is the only one that can really exploit Obama as the guy who is upset because the price of "arugula" has risen at Whole Foods.
On the stump no one draws a brighter contrast with Obama than Perry. While an Obama speech is a jarring experience with right-to-left teleprompter reads while never looking into the camera, Rick Perry hits the stage with a few note cards and a lot of passion.
On top of all of these factors, Perry is the only guy that can't be painted as out-of-touch, (During the last election, Romney still had five houses; Newt Gingrich has a half-million dollar line of credit at Tiffany's Jewelers).
Perry is the guy you want to have a beer with and people don't have to weigh how smart he is, all they need to know is that he has an amazing record as governor for ten years of one or our largest states.
Whether you are looking for a strong record, conservative consistency or the greatest chances of winning a general election, Rick Perry is your guy. IOWANS: UNITE AROUND YOUR MAN!