Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is Newt A Stalking Horse For Perry?

I've heard crazier theories.

Unfortunately, the last real stalking horse...there hasn't really been one, has there, in the modern (post-1968) era? It's not even in Taegan Goddard's dictionary. A stalking horse was a candidate who intended to raise some support, but then bow out in favor of a stronger candidate (who didn't want to enter as an active candidate yet, but also didn't want to see his potential supporters pledge to other candidates). Once all candidates had to run in primaries and caucuses, a traditional stalking horse strategy was no longer viable. However, it is possible to imagine a candidate who wanted to avoid running during most of the invisible primary period but didn't want his or her potential staff and supporters to disperse to find the use of a stalking horse appealing. As for the horse (that is, the "active" candidate who intends to drop out), in the old days the reason to do it was to ally oneself with a potential nominee, and perhaps to increase name recognition for a future run (or, in the case of a machine situation, it might be someone in the machine who is asked to do it). It's not hard to imagine the advantages for Newt, who would be able to extent his run of pretending to be a presidential candidate without actually having to risk going before the voters and having the bubble permanently popped (it's always easy to find an excuse for dropping out pre-Iowa, probably pre-Ames).

I have no idea why Rick Perry isn't running. If he had started a full campaign back in November, after he was re-elected, wouldn't he be the favorite right now?


  1. Mr. Bernstein have you considered that Rick Perry honestly just doesn't want to be president. It's a tough job in the first place let alone the 3 year rat race to get there. He's a got a pretty good gig in texas.

  2. Certainly possible! If so, however, why is he spending so much time and effort on national issues?

  3. Because he loves hearing himself described as the guy who would be the favorite if only he were running? This way he gets the maximum of ego satisfaction for the minimum of work.

    Alternatively he believes that losing to Obama next fall would be a lot of work, without helping him all that much for 2016.

  4. I've also seen speculation that Barbour is a stalking horse for Daniels.

  5. Perry just won re-election as governor (Again...god dammit...). There's absolutely no reason for him to step out in front of the Obama campaign and get crushed in 2012, as any Republican challenger is likely to be. Far better for Perry to sit around in Austin for another 4 years. Oh, and by the way, the Governor of Texas has basically no real authority or duties. Plenty of time to appear on The Daily Show and wherever else to gain cred with independents and keep his profile up while he waits for people to forget George W. Bush (You know, the OTHER guy who was Texas Governor before being President) and for Obama's inevitably re-election to coast through.

    Expect Perry to come out swinging in 2015 about how Obama's two terms in the WH have ruined America and it's time to give the other guys a chance.

  6. Stalking Horse Candidate?April 15, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    What about Tom Vilsack for Hillary Clinton?


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