Rick Perry has been in this race for about 12 minutes and has been deemed the frontrunner; the man who has the best chance of knocking Mitt Romney out of his frontrunner status; the guy who will knock / has knocked Michelle Bachmann out of second place; the man who will force (pick one) Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, or Hopalong Cassidy to reconsider their previous decisions not to get into this race.
I have no idea who the Republican nominee is going to be. I suspect, five months before the first voter shows up at the first high school cafeteria in Iowa, that it will be Mitt Romney, but it could just as easily be Perry or Bachmann.
Remember, I am correct about these things exactly 50 percent of the time.
Perry has been Governor of Texas since George W. went up to Washington to be President, and was Lt. Governor before that. The good news about that is he can lay claim to more political executive experience than all the other candidates combined - including Barack Obama. The bad news is, all that experience lays his record open to every bill, resolution, memo, note, speech, TV appearance, newspaper interview, and off-hand remark with which he has been involved.
Perry has widely criticized for having said that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, would be committing treason if he increased the money supply.
My entire store of economic knowledge is based upon my watching CNBC's Squawk Box each morning, so I can't speak to the validity of what Perry said. As a card-carrying political hack I can speak to the effects, though. It got Perry into a public fight with Barack Obama which is a very good thing for Perry.
A very smart marketing guy once told me that if you're going to start a soup company, you should look for a way to get into a public fight with Campbell's. Getting into a argument with "Sol's Soups" isn't going to get you in the news.
Perry could have picked his first fight with Michelle Bachmann, but instead he got into a scuffle with Michelle Obama's husband, along with a whole bunch of what are known as "Bushies" - former staffers of George W. Bush.
Obama was asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer what he thought about Perry's remark; Obama said he understood Perry had only been on the campaign trail for a couple of days so he was inclined "to cut him some slack."
That gave Perry a chance to "respond back" to the President of the United States by saying:
Mr. President, actions speak lower than words. My actions are helping to create jobs. The President's actions are killing jobs in this country. It's time to get America working again.
which didn't mean much in the context of the Fed but was an acceptable applause line.
Lost in this kerfuffle? Romney, Backmann, Paul, Santorum, Cain, Huntsman and Gingrich.
Compare and contrast Rick Perry's first week as a candidate for President with, say, Jon Huntsman's first week.
Based upon the howls of outrage from Liberals this week, they are taking Rick Perry very seriously. Their charge that too many of the jobs that have been created in Texas are minimum wage jobs has been repeated over and over since last Saturday.
Someone should survey the 13.9 million Americans who are unemployed (and have been for an average of 40 weeks) and ask them if, when their benefits run out, would they rather have a minimum wage job, or no job at all?
On the downside for Perry, if George W. wore his religion on his sleeve then Perry's is in-your-face.
There is nothing wrong with this per se. What becomes problematic is if Perry's religiosity makes those all-important independent voters feel uneasy with a President who will take the intermingling of God and government significantly beyond the opening prayer in the U.S. Congress, or attending the annual prayer breakfast.
If the head-to-head polling shows Romney (or Bachmann) more likely to beat Obama than Perry because independents have been turned off, then a significant percentage of GOP primary voters will back away from him and go with one of the other two.
Life in the spotlight is exciting, but it can be blinding and, therefore, dangerous.