Dear Texans, GOPers and Americans: For a George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush who has coasted to the GOP nomination on a boatload of money (and Texas tough talk, etc. in the case of W., to extend this analogy), there's also been a Phil Gramm and a John Connolly before him. So, Rick Perry? Nothing's guaranteed. Nothing at all.
The second in a troika of GOP presidential debates shows that, too. I don't totally agree with Steve Kornacki's debate on the Social Security issue. While it didn't play well last night for Mittens, that's because that was a Tea Party Express, not just tea partier, debate. Remember the southern GOP old fart who said in 2010, to the "government," that he was warning it to "keep your hands off my Medicare"? While quasi-astroturfed groups like Tea Party Express have plenty of younger faces, actual lower-case tea partiers are older, as well as whiter, than generic Republicans. This issue will play well in Florida, and in conservative but non-nutbar states that are older, like Pennsylvania.
That said, Kornacki nails that the Gardasil vaccine push (and Perry got $30K, not $16K, from Merck) was red meat to TPers wary of big gummint. More importantly, it was red meat for Michele Bachmann, keeping her in the race, or getting her more back in it. If she can finish within 10 points of the winner of Iowa, undercut Perry enough to give Mittens a majority in New Hampshire, or to help Ron Paul finish ahead of Perry ... she might pick up some Southern support. Let's say Nikki Haley, South Carolina's gov, endorses her, not Tricky Ricky? Perry's possibly out of the race.
The debate also shows, within the GOP, that Tricky Ricky is vulnerable on illegal immigration. Mittens came close to the truth here, noting that this might be part of Perry's "Texas miracle." But, he didn't go far enough.
To me, it seems clear that the Perry who really likes illegal immigration is Bob Perry, to build his cheap homes. Bachmann would be the best to make that tie-in, and then call it "socialism."
Anyway, Rick Perry's money and posturing don't guarantee a thing.