The other day, I had a chat with a good friend who works on Capitol Hill. Both of us are wary of Mitt Romney -- and for similar reasons. He seems a chameleon. And, apart from the tenth amendment issue, we cannot see much difference between Romneycare and Obamacare. If the latter were enacted on the state level, would it really be all right? If that is what Romney thinks, he really is just another managerial progressive.
As my friend pointed out to me, from the start, there has been someone who occupies the place labeled "not Romney." First, there was Donald Trump, and he really stirred the pot. More recently, there has been Michele Bachmann, who is a far more serious possibility. But she, too, lacks gravitas. Tim Pawlenty's attacks have considerable force. She has never run anything larger than a Congressional office, and the rapid turnover in her staffers suggests that she may even have a problem with that. She does a fabulous job, however, in articulating what is at stake in this election.
In effect, the space reserved for "not Romney" has been for some time a place looking for a proper occupant. My guess is that the space is now properly and fully occupied. Rick Perry may have defects -- and we will soon find out about these -- but he certainly has gravitas. He has served in the gubernatorial office in Texas longer than any of his predecessors, and the Texas economic model clearly works. He is an exceptionally good campaigner, and the advertisement posted by Tommy below is a real winner -- gentle, low-key, upbeat, and devastating. Without being heavy-handed, it invites one to compare Perry's record as Governor with Obama's as President; and, without any hint of mean-spiritedness, it induces you to reach the obvious conclusion.
Perry is, in one particular, preferable to the others who have caught my fancy. Unlike Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan, he is in the race, and he intends to win. That is a sine qua non. Whether he is preferable in other regards I do not yet know. But he might be.
Think about it this way. If we nominate Mitt Romney, do we have a choice in November, 2012 or an echo? I think that this is an open question. If, on the other hand, we nominate Rick Perry, the question has a clear-cut answer.