Skip to comments.Rick Perry's Prime Directive: Destroy Cain
Posted on 10/23/2011 2:35:52 PM PDT by drewh
The Iowa caucuses are now just 72 days away. Once Iowans vote on Jan. 3, the 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination ceases to be about debates and gaffes and spin, and begins to be about actual results.
This weeks uproar over Herman Cains CNN interview with Piers Morgan will likely be a distant and irrelevant memory by Jan. 3. Despite Cains rhetorical difficulty in consistently articulating a pro-life position, his bona fides on the issue have long been established, as demonstrated in 2006 when he led a $1 million effort to encourage black voters to vote pro-life.
What should be more troubling for Cains supporters are persistent concerns about the strength of his campaigns ground game in Iowa. Organizing for the Iowa caucuses is a time-consuming, labor-intensive effort and 10 weeks is a very short time in terms of building effective operations in each of Iowas 99 counties. Thats why many people were startled a week ago when ABC News showed Cains Iowa headquarters nearly empty:
Duane Lester of All American Blogger interviewed Cains Iowa communications director Lisa Lockwood this weekend at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Forum and asked her about that video:
Lockwoods explanation that many of Cains volunteers in Iowa are working from home, rather than from the campaign office in Urbandale may help reassure Cains supporters, as do the latest poll numbers from Iowa. But the poll numbers also point toward a looming danger for the Cain campaign:
When you look at the RCP average, you see that every Iowa poll for the past two weeks (beginning with the Oct. 7-10 PPP poll) has shown Cain in first place and Perry in single digits. It is therefore scarcely surprising that the prime directive of the Perry campaign is now Destroy Herman Cain.
Allahpundit yesterday explained what Perrys situation means going forward:
[W]hile Perry can skip New Hampshire, I think hes stuck having to compete in Iowa. Sooner or later hell have to suck it up and start attacking Cain in earnest.
And this is very much in line with what I wrote Friday:
That the Perry campaign has become a purely negative organization a machine whose prime directive is the destruction of other non-Romney candidates, leaving Perry as the sole hope for the Anybody But Romney movement is an inevitable consequence of how the campaign began with the goal of becoming the overnight front-runner. When you begin with that kind of plan, with your campaign organized around the idea of raking in front-runner money, you inevitably encounter a problem when, for example, a poll shows your candidate in sixth place in Iowa. [T]he Perry campaigns relentlessly negative message now the turn to the Dark Side, as it were is a predictable reaction to the failure of their original plan to become the overnight front-runner and Only Legitimate Alternative to Romney. Those who bought into the original plan, which fell completely apart within six weeks of Perrys Aug. 13 announcement are now trapped into an all-or-nothing effort to destroy Herman Cain.
That lengthy contemplation of the strategic logic of the Perry campaign was prompted by an item from Alexander Burns in Politico, showing how Cain has previously given ambiguous answers, based on a Human Events article in 2003, when Cain was beginning his campaign for Senate in Georgia. Having spent enough time on the campaign beat to know how these things happen, I observed: $17 million buys a lot of opposition research, as well as a team of people paid to disseminate it. Excuse me for suspecting that Politico columnists dont spend their spare hours reading eight-year-old back issues of Human Events, IYKWIMAITYD.
Of course, theres no telling who dug up that 2003 article. Mitt Romneys also got an ace team of opp-research guys on their staff and, when I mentioned the Politico column in a phone conversation Thursday with Cain campaign communications director J.D. Gordon, he pointed out that Team Obama isnt exactly shabby when it comes to planting oppo-research hits in the press. So it would be unfair to jump to the conclusion that Team Perry was responsible for that item, however
The poll numbers in Iowa and the strategic logic of the Perry campaign point inexorably to the necessity of Team Perry going negative on Herman Cain and doing so PDQ, while Perry can still get the maximum advantage of his fund-raising advantage.
Perry finished the third quarter with more than $15 million cash on hand, whereas Cain had about $1.5 million cash on hand. But the Cain campaign is now getting a huge influx of contributions and it has been suggested they may be raking in $200,000 a day online now, which would translate to more than $5 million by the end of October. That would be Romney-esque money, as one GOP consultant put it, and if they could keep up that pace, Team Cain might be approaching financial parity with Perry and Romney by Thanksgiving. So if the Perry campaign wants to strike hard on Cain with TV and radio attack ads, it behooves them to do it before the Cain campaign can accumulate the money and organizational resources to fight fire with fire.
And if Team Perry does mount an attack-ad campaign against Cain, they will almost certainly do so in Iowa. The combination of poll numbers and the campaign calendar explains this:
Iowa caucuses Tuesday, Jan. 3 New Hampshire primary . Tuesday, Jan. 10 South Carolina primary Saturday, Jan. 21 Florida primary Tuesday, Jan. 31 Nevada caucuses . Saturday, Feb. 4
Notice that there are 10 days separating New Hampshire (Romneys must-win state) and South Carolina (Perrys must-win state). If we assume that Mitt wins his must-win, Perry would be under extreme pressure in South Carolina, and the pressure would be even worse if Perry fares poorly in Iowa. And if recent poll numbers are any indication, Perry could fare very poorly indeed in the Hawkeye State:
Public Policy Polling (Oct. 7-10) .. Perry 9% (4th place) Insider Advantage (Oct. 16) .. Perry 6% (6th place) University of Iowa (Oct. 12-19) Perry 6% (5th place) Rasmussen (Oct. 19) . Perry 7% (6th place)
Can the Perry campaign afford for their candidate to finish fourth, fifth or sixth in Iowa? No way, José. They dont necessarily have to win it, but if Perry finishes as far back as fourth in Iowa on Jan. 3, its unlikely he will do much better in New Hampshire on Jan. 10. By the time the South Carolina primary rolls around on Jan. 21, the media will have been doing death watch reports on Perry campaign for more than two weeks. If Perry then underperforms in must-win South Carolina, there will be another ten days of death watch coverage before the crucial Florida primary on Jan. 31. Romney is reputedly strong in Nevada, so by the time votes are counted there on Feb. 4, Perry could be batting .200 in the first five nominating events, and perhaps even 0-for-5 if he were somehow to lose his must-win state.
The strategic situation clearly indicates the necessity for Team Perry to leverage their current cash-on-hand advantage by mounting an attack ad campaign against Cain in Iowa, in hope of restoring Perrys status as the most viable choice for the Anybody But Romney voters, who are a majority in the GOP primary electorate.
If he succeeds in destroying Cain it will not get the nomination for himself. It will hand it over to Romney.
Conservatives eat their own.
somewhere Hugh Hewitt is laughing.
Perry is a fake conservative. He’s big government, establishment, Bushesque.
Rick Perrys campaign rounding up an Iowa strike force http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/10/23/rick-perrys-campaign-rounding-up-an-iowa-strike-force/
Looks like Anita is going to have a busy couple of months pushing Rick up that cliff to destroy Cain.
this is all wishfull thinking on the MSM and Romney lovers part. Perry has shown almost no interest in attacking anyone but Romney, and I don’t expect that to change.
Not very likely it would be Perry going after Cain, Perry is pretty far down in the pack, it’s far more likely that it would be Romney and blaming Perry. Two hits with only one punch.
What about going after Obummer?
Perry’s prime directive yesterday was killing Romney. Today it’s Cain.
But through it all, he’s only killing himself.
Cain is the wrong target. Take care of the complete rinos first. Anyhow, it appears that Perry destroyed himself without much help from the other candidates.
Romney is overconfident and ripe for the picking now, going back into Iowa and wasting resources there is pretty dumb, IMO.
Azimuth Poll - Texas Primary (Cain 33%, Perry 18%, Romney 7%)
Azimuth Polling ^ | 10/19/11 | admin
I don't know how bona fide this info is, but I hope it's wrong. Be bad for Perry, probably wouldn't help Cain, only helps the socialists. Turning conservative supporters against each other doesn't help anyone but the bad guys.
Rick Perry and Cain's prime directive should be to Obliterate Obama.
Nah, this is about Perry’s own survival. He undoubtedly (and correctly) attributed Cain’s success to the fact that American taxpayers really, really want a serious overhaul of the whole tax system. So he jumped on board with his own plan, backed by a long-time respected flat tax advocate (Forbes). It’s his only shot.
You can say that again and so far, I’ve seen Perry go after Romney and he’s the only one. Cain certainly isn’t doing it.