What if they gave a theocrat rally and nobody came?

Rick Perry booked a 71,000-seat stadium for his “come-to-Jesus-and-elect-me-President” revival this Saturday, but only 8000 people are now scheduled to show up.

I’ve been convinced for some weeks that Barack Obama was very likely to find himself facing Rick Perry in November 2012. Against what must be the weakest field of Presidential candidates a major party has ever assembled, Perry has name recognition, fund-raising capacity, and good relations with all three wings of today’s GOP: the plutocrats, the Teahadis, and the theocrats.

My model of the process was that Perry would replace Bachmann as the non-Romney candidate, and then roll over Romney. Unlike a situation where Romney was head-to-head with Bachmann and the grown-ups might think about intervening, I don’t see the Republican establishment – what’s left of it – getting freaked out by a Perry candidacy, as weak as it might prove to be in November.

(Apparently Perry is seriously stupid, but that’s no bar to his being nominated; nor is the innocent man whose death warrant he signed and posthumously called “a monster,” or the subsequent cover-up of the blunder; nor his bizarre claim that Texas might secede if Democrats kept winning elections.)

Perry’s co-sponsorship with the American Family Association of the “Response” revival meeting this Saturday was meant to burnish his theocratic credentials and to mobilize the faithful against the Kenyan Muslim communist. His formal entry into the race would have followed.

But right now there are only 8,000 people scheduled to show up, which is going to make a 71,000-seat stadium look pretty damned empty. From the perspective of Perry’s candidacy, that’s both a bad thing and a bad sign. Correspondingly, it’s good news for Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

8 thoughts on “What if they gave a theocrat rally and nobody came?”

  1. What exactly do you mean, ‘weakest field’? When I was in college, McGovern ran for President, and the next day the UC Davis paper had the headline “McGovern Sweeps Massachusetts”. Not quite fair, he also carried DC. Do you think Perry will do so poorly, if he is the nominee?

  2. Dave, it’s not that they can’t win. The effects of the individual candidate on electoral outcome, as opposed to broader economic and societal movements, are hotly disputed (except for the extraordinarily band and good candidates, of course). Unemployment is high, foreclosures are high, things are generally miserable, and it’s quite likely that anyone, no matter how repugnant, could win the general if they win the Republican nomination. It’s that Romney is a transparent phony, Pawlenty hasn’t bothered to show up, Huntsman has no Republican constituency, and the rest are a collection of hacks, freaks, and nuts, with several fitting more than one of those categories. It’s such a collection of losers that a lot of people assumed Pawlenty would win the nomination on the basis of his being a bland nonentity rather than a national joke (with Huntsman in the race, Pawlenty’s path to victory seemed to consist of him being a bland nonentity rather than either a national joke or a former Obama administration member). Then Pawlenty decided to wheel out his patented Fred Thompson impression, seemingly signing the race over to Romney – or to A Republican To Be Named Later.

  3. er, band s/b bad. Sorry. Really need to learn to read my own comments before I hit the button.

  4. Tim,
    That’s going to be AWESOME! I’m going to watch fox next weekend just so I can see a bunch of drunk rowdies in football jerseys with big foam fingers at a prayer revival! Great fun! Should be even better than that NASCAR prayer a week or two ago…

  5. “Republican pollster Michael Baselice said, ‘This is an opportunity for people as a nation to come to Houston to look up to the Heavens and to the Lord our God, and to give thanks and to also ask for mercy and wisdom’.”

    Thank you, Rick Perry, for offering all of us the blessed opportunity to come to Houston. If you hadn’t called for the rally, I might have been stuck forever in some lesser city with worse weather, where God and the Heavens were too far away to hear anything.

  6. 1. I disagree about the Republican field. Right now the conservative bona fides are coming out. The sectarians like to believe that Obama won because McCain wasn’t a true conservative. I know the trolls on this site make that claim, that if they would just nominate someone truly conservative they would win. This is one of the most decidedly conservative casts of GOP hopefuls I have ever seen.

    2. Romney is the guy because he is the most electable, and the GOP powers that be know this. They know he will be able to tack to the middle once the primaries are over. You see, the GOP powers that be are smarter than the resident trolls and know that you can’t win the general without independents. Can Bachmann tack to the middle and win independents? Nope. Maybe Rick Perry can, but then why isn’t he in the race? Is he waiting for them to feast on each other and then strike when the iron is hot? Or does he not want to run?

    Basically they nominate Romney and if the economy continues to tank – which the GOP has worked very hard to make happen – then the “business expert” becomes president. If the economy recovers and he loses then the trolls will have their RINO feast and the party will continue to radicalize and marginalize.

  7. Why not wait until AFTER Saturday and then mock these folks for the actual number that show up? It’s not like there won’t be plenty of opportunities to dish on Perry between now and Nov 2011.

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