Ezra Klein on how a race against Rick Perry affects the “enthusiasm gap:”
Perry, by contrast [to Romney], is much more extreme than his party. His book recommends, among other things, repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments and unwinding Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. He’s much more interested in playing the cowboy-vs-cityboy culture card. And you can see the effects taking hold. My colleague Ruth Marcus, who is about as even-keeled and moderate as they come, was clearly a bit shocked reading Perry’s book. The subtitle of the Texan’s manifesto is ‘Our Fight to Save America from Washington,’ but Marcus writes that “reading it summons the image of another, urgent fight: saving America from Rick Perry.”
This is the sort of countermobilization that the Obama campaign is unlikely to see [with] Romney but can almost bet on if they run against Perry. . . . But it’s not that hard to imagine some Democrats staying home . . . unless the other name on the ballot is Perry, or someone of similar ideological leanings. Fear is as effective in getting people to vote as hope. And if the Obama campaign isn’t able to recapture the hope that turned its voters out in the 2008 campaign, it may find a candidate like Perry useful for filling in the gap.