Politics

Will: Iowa showdown hinges on Perry, Huntsman announcement ‘had a whiff of moral arrogance’

With the 2012 presidential election more than a year away, it is far from certain who the Republican nominee will be to challenge President Barack Obama.

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Washington Post columnist George Will explained that he has some sense of where the Republican nomination process is headed, but the precise dynamics depend on whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry decides to enter the race. (George Will wonders why liberals aren’t ‘clamoring’ for Obama’s impeachment)

“Well we’re going to come down to a binary choice and it’s probably going to come down to [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney against somebody,” Will said. “And the question is will it be [Minnesota Rep.] Michele Bachmann, who stands there right now? But, there’s also a missing piece and that’s the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, who is thinking to get in.”

Will, who said he was unsure if Perry would enter the race, argued that Perry would bring something that appeals to both Evangelical Christians and pro-economic growth conservatives.

“I don’t know,” Will said when asked if he thought Perry would enter the race. “I saw him last week and I came away with a definite maybe. In fact, Iowa is made for a showdown between Rick Perry, who has Texas job creation to match Romney, and he has Michele Bachmann’s rapport with Evangelical Christians, who are 60 percent of the participants in the Iowa caucuses. There’s two steps here. How do you get down to the binary choice?”

Later in the segment, Will addressed former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman’s entry into the race. According to Will, Huntsman’s attempt to be Reagan-esque during his announcement with the Statue of Liberty in the background fell short because his attempt to take the “high road” demonstrated a misunderstanding of what politics is all about.

“In almost every cycle there’s a Republican who appeals to people who don’t really very much like Republicans — Bruce Babbitt, John Anderson — and there’s a Democrat who appeals to people who don’t really like Democrats,” Will said. “Mr. Huntsman’s announcement that he would take the high road had a whiff of moral arrogance about it, and we will see. He said I’m not going to run down my opponent. He stood where Ronald Reagan stood. And when Ronald Reagan stood there in 1980 he said this about his opponent, Jimmy Carter: ‘A litany of broken promises of sacred trusts abandoned and forgotten.’ That’s politics.”