The collapse of Newt Gingrich along with the possible rise of Ron Paul in Iowa is scrambling the GOP presidential race, again. Mitt Romney may become the safe harbor, or voters may decide to take a second look at someone else.
Rick Perry has been positioning himself as the credible social conservative in Iowa, and is now out with a new ad that hits both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for the “streeets” they come from — Rommey, from Wall Street, and Gingrich, from K Street, according to the ad. The third street, Main Street, is where Perry is positioning himself. Will going the outsider, populist route help him move up in the polls?
Iowans do tend to respond to populist appeals; Mike Huckabee won there in 2008 by positioning himself as the social con with a populist streak. Huckabee had done better in that cycle’s debates than Perry has this year, but Perry brings a stronger governance record and better foreign policy chops to the table. Perry has a stronger Iowa organization at his disposal, too.
Is it time for a second look at Rick Perry? Jobs governors do well once they’re in office, Rick Perry is a jobs governor, and he has done well in the last couple of debates. The risk in the “Three Streets” ad is that Perry is attacking Romney from the same angle that Gingrich attacked from last week, and ended up disavowing.