Six months ago Rick Perry was on top of the world and seemed like he had the best chance to be the anti-Romney if he decided to enter the GOP presidential primary. But that was last summer and probably seems like an eternity to Perry loyalists and supporters. His decline, now complete, was swift.
One interesting dynamic of the GOP Primary is the connection between Perry and Newt Gingrich’s campaign. It seems that when one was up the other was down, and vice versa. Also in June of last year Perry’s campaign “brain trust” exited the Gingrich campaign. It’s very interesting to look back at how Gingrich and Perry were perceived by the right wing a little over six months ago.
It is not news that Newt Gingrich is disorganized and undisciplined – his 1,000-ideas-a-minute pace all but ensures it. His time away from active politics seems to have made that worse. Staffers have been highly critical of his management style, to say the least, and Newt has been all over the map, from veering toward the fringe with that “Kenyan anti-colonialist” business to veering into RINO territory denouncing “right-wing social engineering.”
I’d endorse Newt Gingrich for president . . . of a very good college. It is impossible to imagine him president of the United States.
I don’t know why Perry isn’t in, and I don’t know why Gingrich is.
Those staffers that were criticizing Gingrich back then, were the same ones that defected, and wound up running Perry’s campaign. It looks like Carney and crew didn’t fare too well in the 2012 GOP Primary. (Carney’s preception has certainly taken a hit since last summer, The Outsider.) Now Perry’s “gurus” are perceived as a bunch of Texas “rubes” and Gingrich won South Carolina by 10 plus. What a difference six months makes.
Reading this article in the Texas Tribune, Back in Texas, Rick Perry Has Relationships to Repair, about Perry’s failed presidential run – never going to get tired of typing that – there are a few other interesting items. It’s apparent now that Perry will say anything to try and win an election, (shocking isn’t it!?). Remember it wasn’t long ago that Perry was the tea party darling.
In his five-month run for the White House, he called Turkey’s leaders “Islamic terrorists,” blasted Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s fiscal strategy as “treasonous,” and slammed gays serving openly in the military, moves that made some moderate Republicans choke on their lunch.
He offended Tea Partiers and some of his social conservative fans by saying opponents of in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants were heartless.
And he alienated big business Republicans by going after so-called “vulture capitalists,” prompting Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host, to compare Perry to Fidel Castro.
But when the going got tough Texas’ tea party governor folded like a pair of deuces.
But Texans learned something too — how their usually unflappable governor performs under national pressure.
They winced at the gaffes and unforced errors: When Perry misstated the voting age and the number of justices on the Supreme Court. When he said Texas teaches creationism in public schools. When he forgot the third agency he wanted to shutter during a presidential debate, prompting the “oops” heard around the cable news world.
And they cringed as Perry’s campaign rhetoric and candidate attacks grew more desperate.
There was the December “Strong” ad where Perry states, “There’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military” — which his advisers quietly called a blatant grasp at Christian conservatives.
When he was under fire in a Republican debate, his statement that those who opposed in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants did not have “a heart” rankled the same anti-immigration voters he was trying to court. And Perry’s allegation, with his back against the wall in South Carolina, that firms like the financial services company his opponent Mitt Romney founded were “vulture capitalists” outraged some Republican business leaders, in addition to the Republican pundit class.
JoAnn Fleming, chairwoman of the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, said Perry has some explaining to do back in Texas. She called his “vulture capitalism” comments the kind of attack a liberal would make, and said that although Perry defended Texas’ in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants on the campaign trail, she and other Tea Party activists will be calling on him to repeal it in the next legislative session.
News reports that Perry had begun drawing down his pension to supplement his gubernatorial salary did not sit well with small-government conservatives either, she said.
“He has some cleaning up of his own doorstep he needs to do,” Fleming said.
The tea party and the Texas GOP shouldn’t be surprised that their governor, that used to be a Democrat, was willing to change his positions on the issue most important to them. Perry has always been a political opportunist and changes his positions as often as the Texas weather. After all that is Perry’s political MO. All we can hope is that Texans finally see him for what he is.
My thoughts on whether Perry will run again in the future are these. Perry won’t leave until the voters make him. Until he says he isn’t running assume he is running for reelection in 2014. He knows nothing other than politics, and running the next race. At this point he’s like an aging athlete that doesn’t know when to quit. He’s accustomed to the lifestyle of bodyguards, drivers, chefs, etc…and doesn’t want to give it up. The earliest he would announce he’s not running would be after the next legislative session. A lame duck Perry would have no power. If he can’t mend those fences, mentioned above, and runs again he could finally get beat in Texas.
Allbaugh Caused Campaign Tensions, Perry Advisers Say. A few choice quotes from the article.
“We’ve got to make sure we put our best foot forward for Rick and Penny,” a senior adviser recalls Allbaugh telling the gathering.
Rick and Penny?
Presumably, he meant Anita Perry, the governor’s wife.
In the wake of the Perry’s gaffe-infused implosion, identifying which strategic move hurt the most is a difficult task, and one that may be impossible without more information and the benefit of historical reflection.
Perry’s own string of verbal goofs, probably some of the worst in modern American political history, were so crippling that it is questionable whether any paid professionals could have pulled him out of the ditch.
And from Peggy Fikac, The unraveling of Perry’s tight-knit team?
Maybe Perry would’ve done better nationally if staffers in his state races had pushed him into general-election debates, unfettered public discussion of his positions and more media access. Or maybe now we now know why they didn’t.
Regardless, his tight-knit team looks a bit unraveled. And for Perry, at least in Texas, that may turn out to be the biggest loss of all.