His attacks on Romney for being a “vulture capitalist” have not gone over well with other Republicans, and they cost him the support of a major backer in South Carolina:
Investment fund executive and top GOP donor Barry Wynn told the Associated Press he was leaving the Perry fold to endorse Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. Wynn said Perry’s attacks on Romney’s time at the helm of the private equity firm Bain Capital had crossed the line in a political party that values free-market capitalism.
The flap over the defection of Wynn calls to mind one of the more humorous observations of the campaign season: that on consecutive days, Perry attacked Obama for being a socialist and Romney for being a capitalist.
Why is Perry going after Romney with such vituperation, shortly after making the decision to stay in the race? His behavior may seem to be inconsistent, since he helps Romney by staying in the race, thereby splitting the conservative vote in South Carolina, but hurts Romney by his attacks on the front-runner’s role at Bain Capital. But it isn’t inconsistent. In fact, it may reveal Perry’s long-term strategy.
Perry has to know he is done for in 2012. So the attacks on Romney suggest that he has already turned his focus to 2016. Why? Because Perry has no chance to be president if Romney defeats Obama. The sequence of events that he needs is for Romney to be weakened by Perry’s (and Gingrich’s) attacks, so that Romney will lose the 2012 election. Indeed, the attacks on Romney’s actions at Bain practically hand Obama a road map on how to beat Romney. The worst outcome for Perry (or any 2016 Republican aspirant) is for Romney to beat Obama and run for a second term, at which point the wannabes are frozen out until 2020. Perry’s ambitions can come to fruition only if Obama wins in 2012. So the answer to the question in the headline is yes: Perry wants–and needs–Obama to win. With Romney out of the way, Perry can start his campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination. If there is anything left of his reputation, that is.
Oh, one more thing. If Perry is truly following a 2016 strategy, it means he will be running for reelection as governor in 2014. Too bad, Greg Abbott. Too bad, Texas.