Democrats for Romney?
Maybe it’s time for Democrats to go easy on Mitt Romney.
The usual calculations would lead to the opposite conclusion. In political campaigns, you always hope the opposing party nominates the most extreme of its possible candidates, thereby surrendering the middle of the electorate. And in this sense, Rick Perry’s candidacy is a Texas-sized gift to President Obama.
The Texas governor is an oppo researcher’s dream, an impossible blend of secession and treason and Ponzi schemes and monstrous lies. His duel for the nomination with Mitt Romney promises to be the sort of donnybrook the Republican Party hasn’t seen in many years, keeping the opposition party feuding over forced vaccinations and immigration rather than attacking Obama for his stewardship of the economy.
But what if the usual rules don’t apply in 2012? Already, upwards of seven in 10 Americans say the country is on the wrong track. What if things don’t improve – or get worse – by November 2012? In that case, voters might well be willing to pull the lever for any alternative – even a Texan who boasted about shooting a coyote while jogging and suggested that Social Security is unconstitutional. In such a scenario, the only thing standing in the way of a President Perry is Willard Mitt Romney.
So far, Democrats and like-minded interest groups have been assuming that Obama can beat Perry more easily than Romney – and that they therefore need fear Perry less than Romney. “I was praying Perry would get in the race,” a former White House aide involved in Obama’s re-election campaign told Reuters last month.
Public opinion surveys support that attitude. A poll released on Thursday by Bloomberg News found Obama with a comfortable lead over Perry, 49-40. But his edge over Romney was 48-43. That followed a Public Policy Polling survey finding Obama with an 11-point lead over Perry but only a 4-point advantage over Romney. The key difference: Among independents, Obama trailed Romney by two percent…