Jim Antle isn’t ready to concede Romney’s inevitability just yet:
Has Rick Perry really shown any flaws that weren’t apparent in George W. Bush circa 1999? The principal difference seems to be Perry’s late entry.
Yes, he has. Perry entered later than Bush. By itself, that might not matter, but it has made his worse debate performances that much more damaging and noticeable, and his performances have been substantively worse than anything Bush did in 1999. The knock on Bush during his first campaign was that he didn’t know very much and that he was heavily coached. No one is saying the second part about Perry. While Bush started from a position of strength before facing a long-shot challenge from McCain by the end of 1999, Perry has moved rapidly from de facto front-runner to something more approaching an also-ran in the space of two months. Bush had the added advantage that he started the race as the relative moderate in the field, and then found his only significant challenger attacking him from the left, which made it that much easier for him to rally conservatives behind him in order to defeat McCain.
Perry came into the race in the hopes of being acceptable to both conservative activists and party establishment figures, and he has pulled off the impressive feat of alienating many of the former while embarrassing the latter. Cain currently has the backing of many conservatives, but he has neither sufficient money nor organization. Unless Cain scores a victory somewhere in the first month, it seems likely that Romney will build up a significant lead in delegates and Cain’s popularity will fade as voters in later contests begin to doubt that he can win.