If you’ve ever wondered what could unite the Associates Press and the back-room old guard of the GOP, I have your answer: Rick Perry.
The GOP presidential field apparently set, Republican primary voters are likely facing a choice between an experienced, establishment candidate in Mitt Romney and an insurgent presidential campaign novice in Rick Perry.
With three months until voting begins, that’s the dynamic that’s starting to emerge now that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have said they won’t run for president in 2012.
That’s a nice little narrative the Associated Press has, and I’m certain that’s the way the old-school GOP insiders want the race framed, but it’s wrong.
Let’s jump over the fact that Republican voters do not consider this a two-man race. There is another major contender and while the AP relegated Herman Cain to a brief mention deep in the article, Republican voters at this point take him very seriously.
I’m actually more interested in how the AP, no doubt echoing the whispers of those GOP insiders, has characterized the race. Mitt Romney is the experienced candidate? Rick Perry is a novice candidate? Let’s look at that for a minute.
Mitt Romney has run for office three times and won once. He has spent four years in office as Governor. Rick Perry has run for office eight times and won eight times. He served as a state legislator for six years, as Texas Agricultural Commissioner for six years, as Lieutenant Governor of Texas for almost two years, and as Governor of Texas for almost eleven.
Texas is 3 3/4 times larger than Massachusetts, which means that during just one of Perry’s four statewide elections, he courted more voters than Romney did in two of his. Romney, on the other hand, has run for national office (and won 11 state primaries, with a total vote slightly less to that won by Perry in his Gubernatorial elections) while Perry has not. Consider also that Perry has worked with both George W. Bush and Karl Rove in his career and they knew a few things about how to win elections.
On the whole, though, you’d have to work awfully hard to make a convincing case that Romney is experienced while Perry is the novice. The AP, and whoever is behind the bogus narrative of the two-man race, is obviously willing to put in that work. Too bad they weren’t interested in working hard to tell you the truth. If this election comes down to political experience, Rick Perry should, and will, win no matter what the dinosaurs of the GOP have to say.