Will Perry Torpedo Bachmann?

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 15 2011 @ 11:30am

121148426 They are both anti-secular Christianists with far-right cred and celebrity appeal, but only one has substantial experience, as Doug Mataconis notes:

Perry has his own vulnerabilities, as I pointed out yesterday. Nonetheless, just looking at these two candidates on paper there really doesn’t seem to be any comparison. Perry has served in Executive positions (Agriculture Commissioner, Lt. Governer, Governor) for twenty years. Bachmann has been a Congresswoman from a central Minnesota Congressional District since 2006, and before that served in the Minnesota State Senate for six years. During her time in Congress, she has no significant legislative accomplishments to put on her resume, and has essentially earned her reputation as a backbench bomb thrower. If you’re a voter in Iowa looking for a conservative who is actually qualified to sit in the Oval Office, the choice is rather obvious I think.

Frum also finds Perry the more formidable challenger to Romney:

For the first time, Romney has a rival on his right with the ability to raise the resources to make a contest. True, Perry’s liabilities remain real and large. (Rule 1 of American faith-based politics: if you organize a prayer event, you’d better not exclude Catholics.)  But unlike all the other non-Romneys to date, Perry also has strengths, including a proven ability to raise money by the barrel-load.

Weigel suggests that Perry has a good shot even in Bachmann’s native Iowa:

[S]he is running a very un-Iowa celebrity campaign. What do I mean? The classic Iowa campaign, especially if we’re talking about an underdog candidate like Bachmann still is, is extremely personal. The candidate shows up, gives a speech, and leaves after every voter leaves. Bachmann’s “Meet Me in Ames” tour was more like the blitz you see before an election. … Perry won’t have to change much to be more accessible than Bachmann is, and it would be unusual for her to change and become more accessible.

Ed Morrissey reinforces that view:

The lighting had to be changed before Bachmann spoke, apparently at the campaign’s insistence, which delayed her entrance and interfered with the timing of her entrance announcement.  But more puzzlingly, Bachmann didn’t arrive to mix with the crowd before the event started, waiting until she was scheduled to speak to enter the Electric Ballroom.  Perry arrived early and greeted every table, the kind of retail politics that Iowa usually rewards — and that Iowans expect.  Whether the attendees were off-put by the snub or not, Bachmann received less enthusiastic response than Perry did for his speech.

I remain a bit of a skeptic about Perry. His massive vulnerability in a general election is that he will seem like George W. Bush running as Sarah Palin. But that may be magic in the primaries.

(Photo: Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry arrives at the Black Hawk County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner August 14, 2011 in Waterloo, Iowa. The visit comes a day after Perry announced that he would enter the race for the Republican nomination. Perry is sharing the spotlight at the event with Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who won yesterday’s Iowa Straw Poll and the straw poll’s fourth place finisher former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum. By Scott Olson/Getty Images)