THE EMERGING PAULBOT MAJORITY?
Over the weekend, Zandar wrote this about attacks on Social Security by Rick Perry and Marco Rubio:
At this point, Republicans aren't just touching the third rail of American politics, they're dismantling the entire system with dynamite. And voters my age and younger are cheering them on, knowing that "they'll never see a Social Security or Medicare check" but they sure are seeing FICA come out of their current paycheck every month. If you wonder why or how anyone under the age of 35 would even consider voting Republican in 2012, the GOP assault casting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as "failed government boondoggles" and "unconstitutional taxes on the working class" is basically the entire GOP youth vote program.
And for a generation that has grown up with Reaganite "government as the problem" rhetoric all their lives, it's no big deal to talk like this.
My question is whether this might actually work in the long run -- whether the conventional view of the bright Democratic future we can look forward to when all the tea party folks in their motorized wheelchairs leave the scene is actually going to be a Ron Paul future, even though Paul himself will also be gone.
A week ago, Jonathan Chait looked at a Gallup poll of the GOP presidential race and noticed that Rick Perry led every demographic group ... except the 18-to-29-year-olds, who preferred Ron Paul:
Maybe Rick Perry figured that out -- say what you will about him, but he's been a shrewd campaigner over the years -- because he's talking this Paul-esque talk and now there's a new CNN poll showing him way out in front of the GOP field, and, as Dave Weigel notes, the guy who's losing the most as Perry gains is Ron Paul:
The trendlines are from August 5-7, the last week before Perry got into the race.
Rick Perry - 32% (+14)
Mitt Romney - 18% (-5)
Michele Bachmann - 12% (+3)
Newt Gingrich - 7% (-1)
Ron Paul - 6% (-8)
Herman Cain - 2% (-3)
Gary Johnson - 2% (+2)
Jon Huntsman - 1% (-4)
Rick Santorum - 1% (-2)
Thaddeus McCotter - 1% (+1)
Perry up 14, Paul down 8. Maybe Perry will be Elvis Presley to Ron Paul's Arthur Crudup -- the guy who makes this new thing palatable to the masses. And I say that with trepidation.