Why Haven’t We Seen This Ad More?

The Perry campaign has been all over TV in Iowa, with some $5.2 million in TV ads.

How many of those spots have been this one, I can’t say. But he sure ought to use it as often as he can. And in South Carolina and Florida, which have a ton of military folks among the population (and they tend to vote in GOP primaries, by the way), this ad needs to be everywhere.

It’s pretty good. It’s positive. It emphasizes that Perry is a military veteran, which is something none of the others are outside of Ron Paul (and he’s pretty much disqualified himself with the military by rolling out George McGovern’s foreign policy). And it gives a bit of a chill up the spine.

This works a lot better than ripping Romney and Gingrich. Gingrich is getting ripped enough by the media and Ron Paul; he’s either going to survive or not based on his own abilities and another attack on him – even a pretty good one making the point he’s from K Street and Perry’s from Main Street – won’t really move the needle. And Romney, of course, can’t win if there’s a viable Not Romney candidate still in the race who can coalesce Not Romney voters behind him.

Paul can’t coalesce the Not Romney voters. He isn’t even trying. If Gingrich can’t do it, and he looks increasingly unable to, then Perry could be the last guy standing.

They’re starting to talk about Santorum now. But Santorum, while he’s a solid conservative and a guy who, if he’d read the tea leaves properly and declined to run for re-election in 2006 in preparation for a presidential run in 2008 rather than staying in Pennsylvania and getting blown up by 18 points, might be a lot more formidable candidate, is the single most responsible party for Arlen Specter remaining in the Senate past 2004. If you’ll remember, Pat Toomey ran against Specter in the GOP primary that year and Santorum, along with President Bush, backed Specter. That was an indefensible decision; Specter was the worst Republican in the Senate at the time and four years later bolted the party for the Democrats – where he delivered us Obamacare before losing in the Democrat primary to Joe Sestak, who Toomey beat last year.

If Gingrich bears blame for Dede Scozzafava, and he does, and Romney bears blame for Romneycare, why doesn’t Santorum’s poor political judgement similarly disqualify him? Backing Specter was an ideological heresy no less unforgivable than anyone else’s. And what’s more, everybody knows Santorum can’t beat Romney.

I say that, and I like Santorum. But a guy who gets beat 59-41 as an incumbent in a statewide election is a guy who can’t get elected president. If he’d lost 51-49, sure. But 59-41? No. Not after he’d blown the Specter-Toomey call two years earlier.

That means Perry is the most likely guy. His challenge is to convince people he’s viable. And that “Hero” ad is the best asset in that effort he’s got. It should be everywhere.

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