Mitt Romney: Too Much for Rick Perry, Concerning to President Obama?

Compared to the previous Republican debates, the Fox News/Google debate was less than impressive to say the least. Having debates where Gov. Rick Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme and where Ron Paul believed that Iran should be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon are tough political acts to follow, but there were a few good moments of importance, despite the noticeable lack of so many of the previous headline generating campaign fireworks. This debate was so lackluster that one could easily come away with more questions than answers and more political clouds than political clarity.

Arguably, the most intriguing aspect of this entire debate was the ability of the candidates to morph this GOP nomination debate into a political referendum on Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney was the most vocal in doing that. In fact, two of the moderators, Brett Baier and Chris Wallace, actually egged on the Romney against Perry angle by inviting it in with their conflict oriented questions. It was as if the moderators and Fox News had already designated the two top tier candidates as Perry and Romney.

Now even though other candidates did weigh in on both Perry and Romney, with Perry getting the brunt of it, the main event was Romney and Perry at each other’s political throats from the very first bell. But politics aside, an interesting dynamic surfaced during these confrontational exchanges between Perry and Romney, and it’s something that has not been as clearly defined until now, at least not in my eyes.

As an example, whenever Perry tried to make a bold, condemning claim against Romney, Romney always seemed to have an answer that was better than Perry’s condemnation. Romney would then do what seemed extremely savvy as he regularly took a condescending tone towards Perry while making his response, as he looked Perry eyeball to eyeball and said: “Nice try, but it’s not going to work!” Now for those who might not understand what ‘nice try’ means, it implies that someone, namely Perry, is not intellectually sound enough to actually mount a substantive challenge to Romney’s seasoned, political abilities.

In all, Romney addressed Perry in a way similar to the gesture that would be used by a champion against a lesser opponent; strong enough to present a legitimate challenge, but still lesser enough to confirm Romney’s burgeoning confidence that he can politically outmaneuver his clumsily inept, number one contender whenever necessary. Romney’s ‘nice try, but that’s not going to work either’ statement is a subconscious, public and political declaration of his dominance over Perry. And Romney is not drawing for straws or just grasping for air, his patronizing tone and his patronizing responses to Perry reflects a subtle belief  that, intellectually and politically, he can beat Perry one-on-one almost at will, which says even less about the political prowess of the other candidates, with the exception of Jon Huntsman, who matches up against Romney on the issues better than any of the others, but it is unclear as to if or when Huntsman will ever be taken seriously by the conservative electorate.

So far, Romney is dancing a political tango. He is somehow able to both distance himself from Romneycare, while at the same time, embracing his Romneycare plan, despite speaking to a pack of anti-anything-care, political hyenas who are on the prowl to maul Obamacare. While Rick Perry helps to implement a vaccine and is shredded like spy papers, Romney stands in front of the world with what is arguably the greatest, political contribution of his entire political career—Romneycare, and offers the only possible explanation that someone in his position could offer, by basically stating that he was for it before he was against it. Romney’s ability to coast back-and-forth across that kind of flip-flopping tightrope without breaking a political sweat makes Perry’s bigger, stronger, better than President Bush impersonations look even more ineffectively inferior.

Coming into this GOP campaign, the existence of Romneycare and its disquieting resemblance and connection to Obamacare was widely believed to be the Achilles’ heel of Mitt Romney’s presidential/GOP nomination aspirations. Romney has not only persevered; he has also managed to stay one step ahead of the fray, as candidates like Rick Perry have been politically branded with Achilles’ heels. At the same time, Michele Bachmann has continuously opened her mouth to excrete questionable misinformation creating self-inflicted Achilles’ heels to personally handicap her campaign. Luckily for Romney, it appears that the conservative aloofness for Romneycare has been dwarfed by the conservative odium for President Obama, with an electoral pardon for Romneycare and a death sentence for Obamacare, which proves that it is more about Obama than the care!

After watching this debate, along with the previous debates, one could easily be tempted to contemplate if many of these GOP candidates have, consciously or subconsciously, bought into the political narrative of Romney as the GOP’s best chance to defeat President Obama in a general election. That could that be the reason why he has remained relatively unsaved, with his only real challenge coming from the one candidate that could actually wrestle the nomination away from him, Rick Perry.

So we should all pay attention to these oncoming debates, because if Romney is allowed to continue skating all the way to the GOP nomination with little or no resistance, the GOP will have understandably made up their minds that the best way to unseat President Obama is with Mitt Romney as their candidate. In hindsight, that would make all of these debates nothing more than window dressing, beauty pageants to showcase to the entire conservative base, along with Independents and Reagan Democrats, that it’s Mitt Romney or four more years of Obama.

If the GOP has actually arrived at this political conclusion this early in the game, and they are just sitting on this egg until it’s time to hatch, President Obama could be in for the fight of his political life! As many of the local Birthers and right-wing Christians here in Arkansas like to say, “America is truly hurting when it takes a Mormon to beat a Kenyan, but at least the Mormon’s name is not Barack Hussein Obama,” and it looks like a decent portion of the right-wing is starting to buy into that statement! If progressives don’t buy into the seriousness of the conservative hatred for President Obama with their motivated asses and their ‘enough with the Kenyan rhetoric’ votes, it will be a short, progressive night on November 6th of 2012!

Edited by Wendy Gittleson