A Meeting of Religion, Science, Politics
Rick Perry's rapid lead over previous Republican front-runner Mitt Romney was predictable. But it is not a good sign for Republicans hoping to reclaim the White House and further highlights the crucial battle within GOP circles: Who is the godliest of us all?
That's the mirror-mirror question for Republicans. Forget charisma, charm, intelligence, knowledge and that nuisance, "foreign-policy experience." The race of the moment concerns which candidate is the truest believer.
This was always a tough hurdle for Romney, whose Mormonism is reflexively distrusted by Southern evangelicals. Even so, in the absence of a better candidate, Romney had a fighting chance to win his party's support.
Then came Perry. Perry doesn't just believe, he evangelizes. He summons prayer meetings. He reads scripture while callers are on hold. Not incidentally, he's a successful governor.
Perhaps most important, he's a wall-scaling fundraiser whose instincts make him a force of nature in the political landscape.
If you're Romney, Perry is a nightmare that's still there in the morning.If you're Barack Obama, maybe not so much?
Perry's political instincts were in evidence when he timed his entrance into the race just as everybody else was trying to grab straws in the Iowa poll.
Whether you like his politics or not, he emits a pheromonal can-do-ness. Gallup's recent polling shows him not just passing Romney, but dusting him. Among Republicans, 29 percent now swear their allegiance to the Texan compared to just 17 percent for Romney.
Perry's campaign strategy is to talk only about jobs, jobs, jobs, no matter what the question. That's both smart and necessary, but jobs-jobs-jobs isn't the money trinity with his base.
Perry hit that station with his prayer rally and dog whistles to the congregation: He's not sure anyone knows how old Earth is, evolution is just a "theory," and global warming isn't man-made. …