Could Rick Perry really beat Obama?

His credentials impress Christians and fiscal conservatives. But how would the Texas governor's politics go over in a general election?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his long-anticipated presidential campaign on Saturday, instantly shaking up the race for the Republican nomination. In a year when conservatives complain that Mitt Romney is too moderate, and centrists consider Michele Bachmann a Tea Party extremist, Perry boasts a resume that offers something to both crowds. Is Perry the "superhero" Republicans have been waiting for to take on President Obama?

No way. He is too extreme: "Perry may come out of the gate strong," says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, "but he might not wear well once the national spotlight is on him." His overt, "fire-and-brimstone" Christianity won't go over well outside the Bible Belt. And some of his more outrageous declarations — "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme," Texas might secede from the union — are too extreme, even for most Republicans. He'd never survive a general election.

"Why Rick Perry won't win"

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Actually, Perry could be the guy to defeat Obama: Rick Perry didn't come out of nowhere, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. He has spent the last year "picking very national fights with the Obama administration" over regulation and federal trampling of states' rights. His legislative agenda has included border security and abortion, plus he has a "jobs record for which Obama will have no answer at all." This guy's the "real deal."

"Why Perry may be the real deal"

One thing is certain — Perry vs. Obama would not be pretty: Rick Perry is just the kind of Texas "shit-kicker" Republicans love, says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, which is precisely why he makes liberals' skin crawl. And I know full well that Republicans' "conservatives feel similarly about Obama," whom they see as a Chardonnay-swilling elitist. That's why I don't relish the prospect of a general election pitting Perry against Obama. "We're divided enough, thanks."

"Rick Perry: Red-state warrior"

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