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Is Perry Texas Toast?

Lackluster performance and horrible poll among Jews mar candidacy

Marc Tracy
October 04, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry this weekend in New Hampshire.(Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)
Gov. Rick Perry this weekend in New Hampshire.(Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

Certainly this week’s scandal involving a word I’m not going to write—less because I’m squeamish and more because I actually just don’t want to have to look at it—isn’t going to help matters for Rick Perry. But even if that hadn’t happened, his standing has been steadily slipping in the face of Mitt Romney’s attacks on him and, even more, the perception that, with his debate gaffes and the like, the longtime Texas governor simply isn’t ready for primetime. Late last month, he embarrassingly lost the Florida Republican straw poll to delivery-pizza mogul Herman Cain, despite having been the only one of the mainstream candidates to seriously contest it. (Putney Swope, anyone?) In the latest poll he is tussling with Cain for second place, with Romney in the lead. Presumably we will know more after the next GOP debate, which is in a week, and then yet more after each of the 100 or so GOP debates after that.

Meanwhile, in our little corner of the world, things look even worse for Perry. His image as a champion of Israel and a friend of the Jews, cultivated last month, appears not to be sticking. In a poll of Jewish voters in Florida—the Jewish voters who, in a sense, matter most—President Obama trounced Perry 82-2 percents (not a typo). Mitt Romney, by contrast, at least gets 11 percent of their vote. Wayne Barrett, late of the Village Voice, has a Newsbeast docudump revealing that Rabbi Irwin Katsof, of Monsey, N.Y., purportedly the “singularly important bridge between Perry and Israel’s supporters in the United States,” actually has fairly tenuous, cynical, and merely conditional ties to Perry, and anyway is not somebody Perry will necessarily wish to be associated with in a general election. In Texas, is this the part where they’d say it was time for him to hit the trail?

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.