* The GOP’s Rick Perry problem: The new Bloomberg poll has a fascinating finding that captures this problem in a nutshell: A big majority of Republicans agrees with his views on Social Security, including his claim that it’s a “Ponzi scheme”! Sixty five percent agree, while only 33 percent disagree.
Let’s go over that again: Only one third of Republicans thinks Social Security isn’t akin to a criminal enterprise.
This underscores the challenge Mitt Romney faces. How can Romney highlight Perry’s extreme views and statements in order to portray Perry as unelectable in a general election, without alienating GOP primary voters who want to hear that kind of combustible anti-government bluster from their nominee? And by the way, those in the GOP establishment who worry that Perry’s views would make him problematic in a general election may be right: Among overall Americans, 50 percent disagree with his views on Social Security, though a surprisingly high 46 percent agree.
What’s worse, there’s a stark divide between the GOP establishment and Republican rank-and-filers over Perry’s electability: Nearly half of Republican voters think Perry has the best chance of beating Obama, far more than the 26 percent who say that about Romney.
* Rick Perry, frontrunner: The Bloomberg poll also finds Perry leading Romney among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, 26-22, and with all of the others stuck below 10 percent, Republicans are girding for a long and grueling two-man battle.
* Will Obama’s weakness help Perry? Relatedly, E.J. Dionne has a smart column on the “GOP establishment’s Rick Perry problem” arguing that the growing sense among conservatives that Obama is very beatable may embolden them to choose Perry:
The Republican establishment is said to have grave qualms about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. Here’s the problem: There is no Republican establishment. It squandered its authority by building up the Tea Party’s brigades and then fearing them too much to do anything to check their power.
Worse for those who think Perry would be a general-election disaster is the growing confidence among conservatives that President Obama will be easy to beat. This feeling will be bolstered by Tuesday’s special election that sent a Republican to Congress from New York’s 9th District for the first time since 1923. If Obama is going to lose anyway, many conservatives reason, why not go with their hearts?
* Perry making headway in the south: Perry’s campaign sees the south as the key to the nomination, and a new Quinnipiac poll shows him leading Romney in Virginia, 25-19.
Also note: Obama’s disapproval is very high in this key battleground state, 54-40, and even higher among independents, 62-29.
* Dem Senators want to break up Obama’s jobs bill? Senator Bob Casey joins other Dems who are now balking at supporting Obama’s jobs bill in its entirety:
“I think the American people are very skeptical of big pieces of legislation. For that reason alone I think we should break it up.”
Putting aside that this is a terrible way for a public official to talk about legislation, what we’re probably seeing here is a skittishness setting in among Dems over Obama’s poll numbers. This will step on Obama’s public campaign to pressure on Republicans to pass his whole plan, at a time when the politics of the fight over the plan favor Democrats.. It’s also entirely unnecessary: No one expected the plan to pass as is in the first place.
* Dems are awfully quick to panic: Relatedly, MSNBC’s First Read crew makes an important point (no link yet) about skittish Dems running from the jobs plan:
The Democratic griping is well under way, and it undercuts the White House’s message — no matter how good the politics are. Republicans never panic the way Dems do. Just look at how Republicans handled the Ryan budget plan.
Yup. Really sad.
* Boehner to present alternative job-creation vision today: Cutting spending, taxes, and regulations.
* How about evaluating the super-committee’s proposals for its impact on jobs? Ezra Klein endorses Senator Jeff Merkley’s idea:
The CBO has done this before, and all it would take is a request from the committee’s chairs for them to do it again. It wouldn’t require anyone to come to any new ideological epiphanies, or strike any grand new bargains. It would just force them to think hard about the impact their proposals will have on the labor market, and submit their conclusions to the independent analysis of the CBO. That won’t force them to go big, or do anything significant to create jobs. But it’s a small step in the right direction. And realistically, that may be all we can ask for from the supercommittee.
Exactly right. Look for more on this today.
* Labor’s view of the NY-9 loss: Union leaders put Obama and Dems on notice: If you don’t draw a sharper, more aggressive contrast with Republicans on jobs, and give Dems and union members a reason to vote for you, expect a lot more NY-9s next year.
* Media echoing line that Obama has “Jewish problem”: Republicans seem to be having great success in getting news orgs to echo their spin that the big upset in Anthony Weiner’s district means Obama will have a Jewish problem heading into 2012.
I don’t know if NY-9 portends that or not, and it’s true that the Obama campaign is treating this as a very serious possibility, as well it should. But I do know that the prediction that Jewish voters are on the verge of abandoning the Dem presidential candidate has been made countless times for many years now, and stories on this should include that key context.
* Jewish Dems worry about NY-9: It’s not just Republicans: Dem Rep. Eliot Engel is also warning the Obama reelect team that Tuesday’s results may portend a problem for 2012.
* About that GOP electoral-vote scheme in Pennsylvania: Dave Weigel has all you need to know about it.
* And the most deranged right-wing attack line yet? I’d missed this yesterday, but apparently some conservatives think they’ve landed a huge scandal by lip-reading Michelle Obama’s supposed disrespecting of the flag at a 9/11 ceremony. Just wow.
What else is happening?