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Nothing but Dogs in This Hunt

Posted on Sep 26, 2011
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Friday.

By Eugene Robinson

Here’s my question for the Republican Party: How’s that Rick Perry stuff workin’ out for ya?

You’ll recall that Sarah Palin asked a similar question last year about President Obama’s “hopey-changey stuff.” Indeed, hopey-changey has been through a bad patch. But now the GOP is still desperately seeking a candidate it can love. Or even like.

That Perry was crushed by Herman Cain—yes, I said Herman Cain—in the Florida straw poll Saturday confirms that the tough-talking Texas governor’s campaign is in serious trouble. He’s the one who put it there with a performance in last week’s debate that was at times disjointed, at times disastrous.

Perry was supposed to be the Shane-like Western hero who brought peace to the troubled valley that is the Republican presidential field. A month after he rode into town, however, increasingly frantic GOP insiders are begging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to saddle up and save the day.

After watching Perry in the debate, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol—a card-carrying member of the Republican establishment—had a one-word reaction: “Yikes.”


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Perry got off to what his supporters consider a strong start, which means he spoke in complete sentences. After the first hour, however, he began to slip into gibberish—as when he said his program for controlling the border with Mexico without building a fence includes putting “the aviation assets on the ground,” and when he described the nation between Afghanistan and India as “the Pakistani country.”

Then he wound up for his big attack on Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper. This is what came out:

“I think Americans just don’t know sometimes which Mitt Romney they’re dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of—against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it—was before—he was before the social programs from the standpoint of—he was for standing up for Roe versus Wade before he was against Roe versus Wade? Him—he was for Race to the Top. He’s for Obamacare and now he’s against it. I mean, we’ll wait until tomorrow and—and—and see which Mitt Romney we’re really talking to tonight.”

Yikes, yikes, and double yikes.

The prospect of Perry standing next to Obama on a debate stage may have freaked out the GOP establishment, but what angered the party’s base was Perry’s position on illegal immigration. It is both reasonable and compassionate, meaning it is also completely unacceptable.

At issue was Perry’s initiative to let the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition at Texas state universities. “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said.

Two days later, in the straw poll, Florida Republicans showed him just how heartless they can be.

I don’t know anyone who believes that Cain’s big victory—he captured 37 percent of the vote, compared with Perry’s 15 percent and Romney’s 14 percent—is a sign that the Hermanator’s campaign is about to catch fire, except perhaps Cain himself. Instead, it was a vote of no confidence in what still looks like a strikingly weak field.

Michele Bachmann swiftly rose and fell in the polls. If Perry traces the same arc, the temptation would be to conclude that the party has resigned itself to Romney and is ready to fall in line. But Romney has been running for nearly five years now, and still hasn’t overcome an uncomfortable truth: The party’s just not that into him.

At this point, you have to wonder if the GOP will fall in love with anybody. I’m trying to imagine the candidate who can maintain credibility with both the party’s establishment and tea party wings. If the ultra-flexible Romney isn’t enough of a political contortionist to do it, who is?

Given the state of the economy, Obama’s going to have a tough re-election fight no matter what. But while the president flies around the country knitting the Democratic Party’s various constituencies back together, Republicans are still waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right to ride over the horizon.

I don’t know if Christie can ride a horse, but this movie’s not over yet.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group

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oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, September 30, 2011 at 8:01 am Link to this comment

HA !
That would depend upon the makeup of that Congress!

To this much I confess:  Guilty of naivete in the past and you may be right here as well.

But over on the Sheer and Hedges threads there are plenty right now who are naive enough to believe the Wall Street protests will kindle a revolution and/or meaningful change.

And frequently other Truthdig threads swell with similarly naive posters who believe there might soon emerge a viable third party or a voter boycott of both Dems and Repubs.

Back, say, in 2001, who would have been naive enough to believe we’d have a black President before the decade was out?

Today’s “naive” can become a “vision” tomorrow and perhaps “new reality” the day after.

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By Maani, September 30, 2011 at 5:26 am Link to this comment

“But right now I like Herman Cain better. A lot better. I like that Cain is solution-oriented. I especially like that Cain wants to do away with taxes upon labor (payroll taxes) in favor of a tax on consumption. I believe his 9-9-9 tax plan is a winner and would create jobs by virtue of its elegance and certainty. That inspires confidence and that creates Jobs. And, to repeat myself, I like 9-9-9 because it removes the payroll tax obstacle to hiring.”

You can’t really be so naive as to believe that, even if he DID win the presidency, Congress would EVER approve a plan like this?

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Saying that there are “Nothing but Dogs in this Hunt” and then showing a picture of Herman Cain is not only rude but its also dehumanizing.

Can you imagine if that was done to Obama? “omg! Raaaaacccciiiiissstt!” would be echoing down the halls of Truthdig. 

Ah but you are Leftists so you can do whatever ya want.

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By Beltwaylaid, September 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are a lot of home run candidates in the Republican field:

Bachmann.. ...... No taxes
Paul…... .......... . No laws
Perry….. .......... . No fences
Gingrich.. .......... No morals
Romney…. ........ No alcohol or caffeine
The rest…... ...... No chance

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

The GOP is a headless chicken.  Pecking is very difficult in that
configuration especially when the feed is scattered.  The Gestalt
is missing.

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By Greg, September 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This story has ridiculous conclusions. It provides credible evidence that the problem with Perry was his poor performance in the recent debate but then leaps the conclusion that he lost support due to his immigration remarks.

The whole purpose of the story is to look like a reasoned analysis in order to hide an attack on the GOP as racists. Could we please get past this baloney and focus on the real ideological differences between the candidates and parties?

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By Payson, September 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find it amusing that some conservatives are using this ludicrous straw poll win
for Cain as some sort of proof that there isn’t a growing racist element on the
far right.  Racists hate Muslims much more than they hate blacks because
Muslims have TWO strikes against them:  color AND religion.  Obama, the
racists believe, is Muslim and far more foreign than a “run-of-the-mill” black
man like Cain.  The Pizza mogul is exactly the sort of black man that racist
conservatives love because he spews hate like they only wish they could.  He’s
black, they argue, so if he says bad things about Muslims he isn’t racist.

If you still don’t believe that racism is alive and well on the far right of
American conservatism go and read the comments sections on the Fox News
website.  The comment threads read the like transcript of a KKK meeting. 
Obama tried to appease people who will always hate him because he is
“foreign/muslim/Kenyan, etc.” and in doing so he gave the majority of non-
racist Americans reasons to vote for someone else.  An ineffectual president
can come in any color.  Alas, we are finding that out the hard way.

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oddsox's avatar

By oddsox, September 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

There’s no need to lie about Obama—because it’s about Jobs, and has been along.

Not race, bailouts, oil spills, health care, debt ceilings or natural disasters.  Just Jobs.

Put unemployment back to six-point-something and Obama will win.
If not… well, he might win anyway depending on what the Repubs put out there.

There is still time enough for things to turn around.  If you don’t believe that, consider:
today’s 9.1% unemployment is STILL lower than what it was at this point during Reagan’s first term.(I’ve been repeating this stat since March—sadly, this is probably the last month I’ll be able to.)

I voted for Obama and would like to again.

But right now I like Herman Cain better.
A lot better.
I like that Cain is solution-oriented.
I especially like that Cain wants to do away with taxes upon labor (payroll taxes) in favor of a tax on consumption.
I believe his 9-9-9 tax plan is a winner and would create jobs by virtue of its elegance and certainty. That inspires confidence and that creates Jobs.
And, to repeat myself, I like 9-9-9 because it removes the payroll tax obstacle to hiring.

Now, since Cain has no real chance to win the Presidency himself (does he??), perhaps he can be persuaded to “lend” the idea to Obama.
While there’s still time to stave off the feared double-dip, or worse.

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By CenterOfMass, September 27, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

@OzarkMichael: “Of course no one can mention the elephant in the room. ...Herman Cain won that straw poll, crushing both Perry and Romney…Its impossible to call us racists right now.”

It’s proof that Perry is an embarrassing moron and that Romney is unacceptable to the GOP.  Even in Florida, of all places.

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By LAB, September 27, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GOP would nominate Perry one hundred times before even THINKING of nominating Cain.

Christie won’t run. Can’t. Baggage too big -and I am not talking about his body mass.

GOP has got nothin’. Just nothing.

Starting this fall, right wing PACs will deploy the most viscious, expensive, damning ads they can muster. Forget about a Romney’s victory, what really matters is sinking Obama in as much mud and lies as they can.

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By Elias Jones, September 27, 2011 at 10:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hunt reminds me of Huntsman.  I don’t think the Republicans will nominate him, but he is the best candidate, by far, if their goal is to defeat President Obama in November, 2012.

Huntsman will present quite a dilemma for the many voters who are disgusted by most Republican politicians, but also severely disappointed with President Obama’s performance at home and in his embrace of continuous, aggressive warfare.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 27, 2011 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Of course no one can mention the elephant in the room. The proof that Perry is in trouble with us conservatives is provided by one event…  Herman Cain won that straw poll, crushing both Perry and Romney.

No comments from the Leftists here about that?

Whats wrong, my friends? No one wants to talk about it. Oh i know why. Its impossible to call us racists right now.

Dont worry, in a few days the Truthdig Puppetmasters will tell you what to think and what to say, how to attack Mr Cain.

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By Beltwaylaid, September 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess Rick can pray his way out of his current dilemma the same way he and his cohorts prayed and brought rain to Texas.

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By SteveL, September 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Romney too sane for G.O.P.?

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By Maani, September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

Perry loses (big) to Cain in Florida.  Then he loses (big) to Romney in Michigan.  AND he makes himself look laughably foolish at the debate.  Talk about a quick implosion!

The TP may just be its own worst enemy in 2012: if they demand absolute fidelity to their ultra-radical, hyper-conservative agenda, they are unlikely to find a candidate.  Indeed, even Palin no longer lives up to the TP’s overly demanding, unrealistic and uber-purist and destructive platform.

Romney?  Yeah, he may get the official GOP backing, if not one better comes along.  But he will never get the TP vote, even as a snub to Obama.

I say let the whole lot of them - the GOP, the TP and all the candidates - continue to make fools of themselves, and fractionalize.  I may be disappointed in Obama, but I would still rather have his well-intentioned spinelessness than the TP’s ramrod straight spine.

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By JMD, September 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Eugene Robinson,      9/26/2011  
    The GOP knows they have one of their own - in
office,to run against.This does indeed tend to
complicate their positions.
    Thanking you for this opportunity to comment -
    James M. de Laurier

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By Jimnp72, September 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

You’re talkin’ cruelty to animals if christie tries to mount a horse.

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