Daylight for Willard? (GOP Class War)

August 16, 2011 9:51 a.m.

Benjy Sarlin noted earlier that Perry’s fusillade against Fed Chair Ben Bernanke puts Mitt Romney in a treacherous spot. He’s close to high finance in general and has been conspicuously unwilling to join the general chorus of criticism of Bernanke from the right. But there’s another dimension of this feud.For all the hoopla he’s engendered Perry is entering the campaign very late. And he needs to raise a ton of money. And the really big money doesn’t tend to come from the Tea Party. It comes from Wall Street and big business. And quite apart from a general people not liking calling major members of government establishment traitors, I don’t think the Wall Street crowd or established money in general digs that kind of red meat attack on the nation’s chief banker. For a lot of reasons.

This is one of the basic cleavages in the modern Republican party, but one that’s usually finessed but can sometimes break out in incredibly divisive ways.

Mitt’s the ultimate establishment Republican, certainly in the old-style sense, as much as he tries to remake himself as something else. There’s one Republican party. And then there’s the more culturally alienated anti-Wall Street Republican party that is suspicious of the Fed and wants the country back on the gold standard if not actually back to an economy monetized on gold ingots.

Romney looks weak and like a punching bag at the moment. But there’s more vulnerability here for Perry than it might seem.

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