So as we might expect, opinion is divided about whether Romney committed a “gaffe” with his proposal for a $10,000 bet with Gov. Perry in the debate on Saturday. Hugh Hewitt thinks it will blow over quickly, while others think it reinforces Romney’s weakness as a rich dude. I incline to this opinion; it calls to mind a singular moment of the 1982 race for governor of New York, a close contest pitting Mario Cuomo against businessman Lew Lehrman. In a TV debate, Cuomo reached over, grabbed Lehrman’s arm and made a big deal of Lehrman’s fancy gold watch, as a means of showing that Lehrman was an out of touch rich dude, or something. I can similarly imagine Obama letting fly with sarcastic line in a fall debate about “So, Mitt, are you going to challenge me to another bet, or can we arm-wrestle?”
Meanwhile, as my pal Ben Boychuk (he of the splendidly-named Infinite Monkeys blog and podcasts) points out that among refined gentlemen, the proper amount to bet is $1. I’m guessing Romney didn’t actually want Perry to take the bet, since it would then involve parsing out the various editions of his book, but instead wanted to suggest in a subtle way that Perry is less than manly in the Texas understanding of manliness. (Think Chuck Norris.)
Second: Maybe he was thinking of Freedonia? Gov. Perry has done it again. He criticized Obama for making a loan guarantee to “the country Solyndra.” I know Perry has it in for both foreign aid and the UN, but this is more than a little ridiculous.
Last, a few commenters on my “left and right” series this morning say they missed my “Progressive versus Progressive” series from back in the spring, so for folks who missed it, or who just want to refresh themselves with its yumminess, here they are: