Can money save Rick Perry?

Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS PROFILE)

Rick Perry has been taking a beating, and not from Democrats. Perry has been pounded by his rivals for the GOP nomination and also by other conservatives after a string of humiliating debate performances. His comments on Social Security along with past positions on issues like HPV vaccines and permitting illegals to get in-state tuition rates in Texas have made him a target. He’s plunging in the polls and his wife is complaining that they’re being targeted for their religious beliefs.

But it’s still too early to count Rick Perry out, mostly because he has a ton of money. He raised $17 million last quarter, and he has a ton of cash on hand to go after Mitt Romney. Of course this is bad news for Romney and good news for Barack Obama, as it raises the possibility that Perry will use his money to weaken Romney and hammer him for his countless flip-flops.

The rise of Herman Cain and Romney’s flat poll numbers suggest that the GOP electorate is desperate for a conservative to emerge to take on Obama. Again, this is great news for Obama. This should also give Perry some hope, as Cain says things on a daily basis that disqualify him as a serious candidate.

That said, we can’t count Cain out either. We’ve seen that the Tea Party wing will nominate anyone as long as they come across as pure enough (see Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell), so maybe Cain will last longer that we expect.

In the end, the entire field is looking more and more like a confederacy of dunces. We knew we would have some wackos like Michele Bachmann and some earnest yet strange candidates like Rick Santorum, but this field looks worse and worse each day.

Rick Perry’s negatives rising

Republican Presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks at a news conference in New York September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Thayer (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

Say crazy stuff, and people will start to notice. Say that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and should be transferred to the states, and people listen up some more.

Rick Perry’s surge in the GOP race is being fueled by the Tea Party, but everyone else is paying attention as well, and his negatives are starting to go up in polls.

For the GOP, right now he looks like their Howard Dean or their George McGovern.

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