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.
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.
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.
Rick Santorum is a longshot candidate in the GOP field, but in Iowa he’s gaining a little traction with his far-right views on social issues. Rick Perry complicates Santorum’s strategy, as the field is now even more crowded with Christianist candidates, so Santorum is not being shy about taking on Perry. He jumped on Perry’s outrageous comments about Ben Bernanke:
RCK SANTORUM: Gov. Perry steps into the race and he stepped on it a couple of times already. Washington DC is not Austin and my sense is that he’s gonna have a pretty good learning curve, not just on what it means to run a national campaign and have the scrutiny of the national media that he didn’t have in Texas—
JOHN KING: What do you mean by he stepped on it?
SANTORUM: Well his comments about Ben Bernanke, they were completely out of bounds. I don’t agree with Ben Bernanke’s policies… but to me the rhetoric that Rick Perry used was sort of the rhetoric I would expect from a John Conyers, talking about President Bush and saying he should be impeached. We don’t do that. We don’t impeach people, we don’t charge people with treason because we disagree with them on public policy. You might say that they’re wrong, you might say lots of things about how misguided they are, but you don’t up the ante to that type of rhetoric. It’s out of place, and hopefully Gov. Perry will step back and recognize that we’re not in Texas anymore.
It’s interesting to see the battle lines being drawn, and Perry is the prime target now that he’s getting all the buzz and good news in the polls.