When Texas Governor Rick Perry first came onto the scene I thought there was some promise for a real conservative voice entering the republican race, and I thought there would be no way that Mitt Romney would be able to compete with that. Then I saw the debates, and the first thought that came to mind was, "Oh no." And then I thought of John McCain and something I often said about his campaign. That is, I thought it wasn't McCain's message that was the problem. It was articulating his message that was the problem.
Granted, McCain was no conservative. Let's be sure about that. But clearly his plan for America was a much better one than Obama's plan was no matter how you sliced it. On paper McCain was the better candidate. But those debates were the death knell for him. What's on paper doesn't matter at the end of the day. McCain simply could not convey anything to the American people in those critical debates that made any sense.
There's no question that Obama is a strong campaigner. He's an even better debater. He proved that in the last election. I think we can't lose sight of that fact. Neither can Rick Perry. The republican voters, and the independents who are not in Obama's camp know this as well, and no one wants another candidate who cannot beat the opponent.
While I'll admit that there are perhaps too many debates—13 to be exact—if there are going to be debates Rick Perry needs to be in those debates. His decision to pull out of the debates tells me one thing. He can't handle the pressure. He can't articulate his message when it matters. And he's going to need to be able to be a strong debater if he wants to have a shot at beating Barack Obama if Perry is ultimately to get the nomination.
The bottom line is that I'd like to see Perry succeed. He really is the real conservative up for the job of running the country. And I like him over Romney. If Perry were to get the nomination he would have my vote hands down. His tax plan would certainly work, and I think would pump tons of revenue into the government's coiffures. His energy plan is spot on. And let's make no mistake about it, Mitt Romney is no conservative.
But Perry needs to show he can be there through thick and thin and handle himself under pressure. These debates, while cumbersome and boring to some, are the stage that tells us all how each of the candidates will perform in the final debates when it's down to one republican and one Barack Obama. Right now on all counts Rick Perry has performed badly. Leaving the debates now will only serve to solidify how poorly he's done in the mind of Americans. And I'm certain his absense will be an ongoing topic for discussion in the future debates, making a bit of buffoonery (if that's even a word) out of anything Rick Perry tries to accomplish outside of the debates.
There's that old saying that if you can't stand the heat you get out of the kitchen. But if you want to be a chef, you either stand the heat in the kitchen, or you're just not cut out to be a chef.
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