Rick Perry drops out

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry participates in the ABC News, Yahoo! News, WMUR Republican Presidential Debate on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on January 7, 2011. New Hampshire will hold the first-in-the-nation primary on January 10. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Rick Perry’s embarrassing foray into national politics will end today according to multiple press reports. In one of the worst fields of presidential candidates in modern political history, Rick Perry stood out as one of the chief yahoos in the confederacy of dunces.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise, as Perry’s main claim to fame leading up to 2012 was his suggestion that the State of Texas might secede from the union.

His debate “performances” have become legendary. He made George W. Bush sound like Lawrence Olivier. He consistently made outrageous statements, like this past week when he suggested that the leaders of NATO ally Turkey were “Islamic terrorists.”

Perry hoped that right wing hysteria might sweep him to the nomination, but Republican voters recoiled at his utter incompetence. You can’t rally voters if you can’t manage a coherent sentence. This week, Erick Erickson of RedState.com urged Perry to drop out. Understandably, conservatives do not want Mitt Romney as their nominee. Newt Gingrich is also a disaster for the GOP, but at least he has some credibility among conservatives and can handle himself in a debate.

Rick Perry finally realized that he had no chance in South Carolina and conservatives needed to stop splitting the anti-Romney vote. Perhaps he’s not quite as dumb as he sounds.

The “oops” candidate now leaves the national stage as one of the biggest laughing stocks in American politics.

Mitt Romney and his dog

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I have a feeling this story is going to get a lot of coverage again if and when Mitt Romney locks up the GOP nomination. Watch the video as Rachel Maddow revisits the story of Mitt Romney and the unfortunate incident when he placed his dog on the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour road trip. At one point the dog became so scared or irritated that he defecated on the roof of the car. The story is pretty gross.

There are web sites sprouting up around the web (see Spreading Romney) and Newt Gingrich is also bringing this up in a web ad.

Small things like this can have a big impact on a campaign. With the Internet, you can see dog lovers making this a big issue. It doesn’t help that Romney already comes across as a stiff robot.

John McCain’s 2008 ad against Mitt Romney

The Mitt Romney flip-flop ads just write themselves as Romney is the most brazen flip-flopper in modern political history. He’s a total opportunist.

While John McCain has now endorsed Romney, it’s fun to see one of the ads he ran against him back in 2008.

Does Rick Santorum have a chance?

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum speaks at his Iowa Caucus night rally in Johnston, Iowa, January 3, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

With his surprise showing in Iowa, Rick Santorum has become the new hope of the conservative movement, or at least some in the conservative movement. Santorum has been getting pummeled at conservative sites like RedState.com for his past support for pork barrel spending and other big spending programs during the Bush years when the GOP abandoned nearly everything they claimed to stand for regarding the size of government. Santorum has not joined the anti-earmark bandwagon pushed by the Tea Party, and Erick Erickson keeps hammering him for that.

At least one prominent conservative, however, is offering support to Santorum – George Will. Will offers up a column defending Santorum’s record, so let’s see if that changes the minds of some Tea Party members who are skeptical of Santorum.

Mitt Romney’s tax return problem

Ann Romney (L) introduces her husband, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, at a campaign stop in Bethlehem, New Hampshire December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

The folks at BusinessInsider.com point out that Mitt Romney’s biggest problem might be his tax returns. So far he has refused to release his tax returns and he reiterated that position in a recent interview with Chuck Todd.

Romney’s campaign team has clearly decided that the political risk of releasing the returns outweighs the potential problems of not doing so. No one knows for sure what the documents would say, but by the candidate’s own admission, the bulk of Romney’s retirement income from Bain has been from capital gains, which are subject to 15% tax rate.

That means that for the past 10 years, Romney has likely been paying a lower tax rate than most middle class voters. If this is the case, that information could be devastating to Romney’s presidential bid.

The issue of tax fairness is huge right now, and Romney might become the poster-child for that problem. Warren Buffet has famously come out strong on this, saying that it’s not fair that he pays a lower effective tax rate on his income than his secretary.

I think this is a huge problem for Romney. If he makes it to the general election, the Obama campaign and the Democratic PACs are going to hammer him on not releasing his tax returns. If that issue catches fire and he ultimately releases them, then the story is huge.

But it’s huge regardless of when he releases them. He might want to just get it out of the way and have a response ready.

Either way this one can be problematic.

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