The media seems to consider Romney the winner. Pardon the condescension, but they’re not thinking like Republican base voters. Romney approaches every question as if he is in an actual debate, trying to provide the most intellectually compelling answer available, within the bounds of political expediency. Perry treats questions as interruptions. What scientists do you trust on climate change? I don’t want to risk the economy. Are you taking a radical position on social security? We can have reasons or we can have results. His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.
...I suspect the Bush-Perry debating style broadcasts a subliminal message of strong leadership. Romney feels compelled to bind himself to the parameters of the question before him. Perry ignores them. It is, in a sense, an alpha male move. I am not going to lower myself to your premise about scientists. I am going to declare my principles.
In my view, Perry established his alpha male style, and that impression will matter more than any position or statement he’s made.
Boy, do I think this captures an important theme in our politics and culture. Whether its the poutragers calling Obama "weak" and suggesting he needs to "man up," or Republicans responding to the red meat of their alpha male. Chait is right - its all an appeal to the quintessential id over reason and maturity.
We are in a moment now when the American public is being asked to define what kind of leadership we want. I know where I come down on that question. And I sure hope we get this one right.