If I were advising Ron Paul on how to best attack Rick Perry in, say, a one minute advertisement, I might go with something like: "Hello, I'm Ron Paul. You know all of those policy positions I've held consistently my entire career? Well, Rick Perry is a Johnny-come-lately opportunist in embracing these issues. Plus he actually thinks that Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke deserves to be physically harmed, which I do not support, because that's just nuts. Ol' nutbag Rick Perry thinks that, and Texans like him less than me. So, LOL."
But Paul, recognizing that this week's upcoming debate is at the Reagan Library and that everyone who is participating will be trying to out-Reagan one another (and in the case of Newt Gingrich, actually "Reaganing") despite the fact that they might not have been huge fans of Reagan themselves, is doing his best to synergize. So instead, his new ad refers to Rick Perry as the "cheerleader" who "helped lead Al Gore's campaign to undo the Reagan revolution." (Surely you remember that time that Al Gore, just by unsuccessfully running for president in 1988, destroyed the "Reagan revolution!")
Ron Paul endorsed Reagan's campaign for president way back when. Now, Ron Paul is calling himself "the one who stood with Reagan." But the Perry campaign was quick to note that at some point in between then and now was that time when Paul quit the GOP over Reagan, and another time when he said, "I want to totally disassociate myself from the Reagan Administration." I guess Paul was always in favor of the Platonic Ideal of Reagan.
Here's an interesting sidenote. As for the people who used to cheer on the long-forgotten Gore campaign, Mother Jones' Andy Kroll finds the most eye-popping former supporter of all:
Perry, it's worth noting, wasn't the only unlikely supporter of Gore's '88 campaign. Fred Phelps, the patriarch of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., housed campaign workers for Gore's presidential bid in 1988. And in 1989 Phelps' son, Fred Jr., threw a fundraiser for Gore's Senate run at his home.
So, in many ways, I'm not sure it's physiologically possible to understand contemporary American politics.