Meet Your New 2012 GOP Frontrunner

Per Rasmussen.

Rick Perry, 29 percent.
Mitt Romney, 18 percent.
Uncommitted, 16 percent.
Michele Bachmann, 13 percent.
Ron Paul, 9 percent.
Herman Cain, 6 percent.
Newt Gingrich 5 percent.
Rick Santorum, 1 percent.
John Huntsman, 1 percent.

Today, there are reports about Paul Ryan getting in and even Chris Christie getting in. There are reports about Sarah Palin getting in, too. John Bolton’s been talking about getting in, and The Stache is without question a formidable guy.

The take here? It’s too late. Perry’s raising a flood of money from all the GOP backers who’ve been on the sidelines, and he’s at 29 percent three days after officially announcing.

That’s a monster of a rollout. I can’t remember a candidate coming in with such a huge poll number in so crowded a field.

Ryan is welcome into the field, as he has a story to tell and his effect should be to drain the oxygen out of Ron Paul’s campaign. Which needs to happen, because while Paul does contribute a voice of restraint on fiscal and monetary matters he’s ridiculous on most other issues. And the more aggressive and negative Paul and his people get in attempting to brand everyone not named Ron Paul as a socialist or a RINO, the more poisonous he becomes in this race. Ryan would offer sane people an alternative to Paul as a fiscal hawk. Ryan says he’s not running, but Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard got his scoop today from somewhere.

Christie? He’s a more muscular version of Romney. That has value, but after all this time denying he was going to run it’s going to look strange if he gets in. It’s fairly well-known that the GOP “Establishment” types have been trying to get Christie into the field for some time. And now that Perry is in, with Rasmussen’s poll coming out today it does look a bit suspicious that Karl Rove broke the “news” that Christie was going to get in on Hannity last night. Rove’s organization has had several of its people break for Romney and several others are among the people trying to recruit Christie, we hear; is it such a surprise that on the eve of Rasmussen’s announcement Perry was taking an 11 point lead on the field (the news of which almost certainly filtered out to the major players last night), all of a sudden all these names are being thrown out – including the guy everybody in the establishment has been trying to get into the race?

Which is not a shot at Christie. Frankly, what this appears to be is an attempt by anti-Perry people to spread the word that other folks – particularly Christie; but this might apply to Ryan as well – are about to get into the race, and because they’re considering coming in the big-money GOP donors who are thinking about staking Perry should hold off and see who else gets in.

Particularly if Christie and Perry don’t actually get in, this comes off as an effort to sandbag Perry’s fundraising before it gets off the ground. We know that Perry and Rove aren’t friends; Rove ran Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s primary challenge to Perry last year, and Hutchinson received full support from the Bush people, including having Dick Cheney come in to campaign for her. Perry wiped the floor with them in that primary by casting Hutchinson as being of Washington, not Texas, and that’s a meme the Perry people have long held to where the Bushes were concerned.

It’s being pushed, particularly by the Paul camp, that Perry and Bush are the same. That’s simply not the case. And if we have this right, today’s events would indict the Perry=Bush narrative in a major way.

Full disclosure: we’ve endorsed Perry here at the Hayride. We see what those 29 percent see; here’s a guy who’s as reliable and spirited a conservative as you’ll find in American politics, whose record as a leader over the past decade has been a highly-successful one and who can take the fight to Obama and kick him out of the White House.

As such, we’re going to be actively working to help him. More information on that as the days go by.

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