Perry, Polls and Sensitive Toes

By | August 13, 2011

One does not need an advanced degree in Political Science to know that Rick Perry’s official announcement into the GOP Presidential fray and the day of the Iowa straw poll was a key and purposeful collision of front page stories.  The problem lies with the fact that there is only so much thunder to go around and theft is in the air.

Rick Perry, the long time Governor of Texas, is expected to officially throw his 10 gallon hat into the ring sometime today, joining eight others in the quest to knock President Obama off his perch in November of 2012.  If this were any other day, it would be the news event for the cycle and no one in the normally quiet mid-western state of Iowa would be put out.

But the state of corn, miracle baseball fields and a state fair where everything is fried is entering its 6 months of glory that it gets to experience during every presidential election cycle – and I am not sure they would take too kindly to someone stealing their thunder.

Today is the Iowa straw poll, where candidates basically bus in as many supporters from around the state as they can to rack up votes.  Not scientific, not binding, but significant nevertheless.

Governor Perry will not be on the ballot himself (Mitt Romney, the presumed leader in national polls has also elected to abstain from the poll), but his presence will be felt all the same.

They say in comedy, timing is everything.  A good joke at the wrong time can end a career, but if it is perfectly timed, it can also make one (ask Jay Leno).  Perry wants to leap onto the Iowa stage at the right time and land with a resounding and attention getting thud.  If in the process, however, he sends several to the hospital with toe-related injuries, he might be known in history for the shortest campaign for the Presidency.

Iowans are known for being straightforward, honest and not impressed by cameras and flashbulbs.  Perry would be wise to let them have their glory, even at the expense of a meaty opportunity for himself.  The Governor in one swoop could lock up the evangelical vote that is so prominent in the state.  That block of voters vaulted Mike Huckabee from the political minor leagues straight into the show and has been looking for a candidate to call home.

The straw poll is the first important one of the campaign season and an early barometer for the caucuses in the winter of 2012.  Governor Perry could and probably will be a contender, if not THE contender for the nomination, without participating, but it would be in his best interest to tread lightly. 

Time your jump.  Landing on stage with a big thump and “ta da!!” might get you a news cycle, but it might cost you just a little more than a fried pickle…

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