To hear Democrats tell it, Gov. Rick Perry’s economic record in Texas is nothing more than a mirage and his views on Social Security make him “America’s Most Dangerous Cowboy.” In Massachusetts, President Barack Obama’s allies say job creation lagged under Mitt Romney, whose policies would undermine the middle class.
No matter who Republicans pick, the 2012 general election is all but certain to be negative given Obama’s weakened standing and the sagging economy. Sharp contrasts between Obama and his GOP challenger are likely. And Obama’s advisers stress that next year’s election will be a “choice, not a referendum” on the president — a clear indication that the incumbent Democrat will draw bright lines between himself and the Republicans.
So Democrats are working to lay the groundwork for that choice now by highlighting the contrasts between Obama and the leading Republicans.
For now at least, the race to negatively define Perry and Romney in voters’ minds is being driven by the Democratic National Committee and outside groups like Priorities USA and American Bridge, which formed following a 2010 Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on corporate donations to political campaigns. The outfits are taking cues from Romney and Perry’s tangling over Social Security, health care and the economy, while working to cast the candidates as purveyors of tax policies that led to the economic downturn.
Beyond the economy, Democrats want to portray Perry as beholden to special interests and a cowboy who would make former President George W. Bush seem like a moderate. A web video by American Bridge calls him “America’s Most Dangerous Cowboy” and shows a montage of clips in which the Texas governor refers to Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie on this generation.” Democrats say the position could move seniors in their direction.
Rick Perry’s stance on Social Security endangers the retirement security of millions of hardworking Americans. Here’s the “America’s Most Dangerous Cowboy” video mentioned in the AP article:
Published: Sep 23, 2011