Perry’s Money Machine Sputters

November 18th, 2011 at 12:32 am | 17 Comments |

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Back in August, which was a couple of political lifetimes ago, I wrote a piece about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s strong fundraising base, specifically his unique ability to access a key part of the GOP’s fundraising base–wealthy Republicans in Texas.

Well, it looks like that money machine is sputtering like a confused politician at a presidential debate.

According to a recent article by Richard Dunham in the Houston Chronicle, Perry’s fundraising has taken a big hit as his poll numbers have declined.  The article is worth reading in its entirety, but one quote seems to sum up the state of play:

But Perry’s loyal backers are running into resistance from Republican donors. One Perry fundraiser, who asked not to be named, said he received 15 RSVPs for a recent event from potential donors saying they might attend. But after a gaffe-marred Perry debate performance, none showed up.  “The debates have taken a toll,” the fundraiser said. “The national numbers have taken a toll. People see the campaign on a negative trajectory.”

He’s not kidding.  While it shouldn’t be any surprise that fundraising tends to be less successful as a candidate faces setbacks in the polls, this is of particular concern for Perry because one of his big strengths was supposed to be his ability to raise money.  If that is failing, particularly in Texas, that removes one possible tool for a comeback.

I’ve written several articles here at FrumForum about Perry’s likely political strengths. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’m beginning to consider the possibility that I might have overestimated Perry’s capabilities. I will reflect on this topic further and may revisit it in future works.

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Graychin

    Another one bites the dust.

    I also overestimated Perry’s chances. I knew he wasn’t very bright, but I didn’t expect him to be this dumb. When they call Bush “the smart one” in Texas, they aren’t kidding.

    Do you tribal Republicans ever stop and consider what it says about your party when it can’t find one single credible presidential candidate? While your next generation of Republican leaders is tweeting jokes about shooting the Hated Kenyan?

    • PracticalGirl

      I think even Perry’s Texas handlers overestimated his chances. That’ll happen when you live within the protective cocoon of a majority GOP voting base and conservative-leaning newspapers who never take a hard look, election time or any other time. And when you ‘misunderestimate’ the base’s tolerance for yet another Texas governor (who sounds too much like the last one) for President.

      These same handlers also made the mistake of equating Perry with W. “If W did it, then of course Slick Rick can, too!” But, even though W’s Presidential results were depolorable, he and Perry couldn’t be more different in their readiness to take on the national stage. Say what you like about W (I have), but he grew a person of privilege: Wealth, Ivy-covered halls, a political dynasty and among the sort of people that come with these environments. Even in an alcohol-and-cocaine-soaked fog, he absorbed the skills necessary to run for office (and attract money from the right set) and had the willingness to surround himself with people who knew how to capitalize on it. In comparison, Perry’s just a good ‘ol boy from a state school without the skill set or the surrounding staff necessary to make the transtition.

      • balconesfault

        I think even Perry’s Texas handlers overestimated his chances. That’ll happen when you live within the protective cocoon of a majority GOP voting base and conservative-leaning newspapers who never take a hard look, election time or any other time.

        Yep – a lot of truth to this.

        And when you ‘misunderestimate’ the base’s tolerance for yet another Texas governor (who sounds too much like the last one) for President.

        I don’t this was the problem at all. The base would gladly accept another Bush. It kind of takes a Bush to unite the businessmen and the fundamentalists.

  • SGCleveland

    This isn’t the first sign that Perry’s support among moneyed Texans (at least in the Presidential race) is somewhat soft. As I recall, there were a few articles about how several big-money Texas donors who were giving Perry money were also giving Romney a fair bit of money, and even seemed more sold on Romney than they did Perry.

    I think Perry’s big mistake was assuming, or letting himself be persuaded, that he could just parachute into this thing and handle it all fine. Running for POTUS is just a whole lot different and quite a bit harder than running for any other office. He wasn’t ready for that and, consequently, has failed to run a successful campaign so far.

    • bdtex

      Well said. In the only truly contested campaign he had in TX(2006),he only got 39% of the vote and he dodged debates and reporters in TX after that until he entered the GOP POTUS nominee race .

  • Kevin B

    Rick Perry has one advantage over Lindsay Lohan: When all this is over, he can get a job at Fox News.

  • ottovbvs

    Ok the Texas money men’s horse couldn’t make it out of the starting gate. So now they have to find someone else to put their money on that isn’t Romney. One alternative fell at the first corner so this just leaves Newt or holding onto the cash.

  • LFC

    Rick proved himself to be dumb as a stump and too lazy to spend the time required to learn what he needed to address a national audience. I think it says a lot about Texas that this man was elected governor. Ditto for Bush before him.

  • Nanotek

    “I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’m beginning to consider the possibility that I might have overestimated Perry’s capabilities.”

    If you conclude that you did, I’d be interested in what caused your misread.

  • Lonewolf

    I’m donating to Perry for three reasons: he’s handsome, he’s against gun control, and I forget the third …

  • mlindroo

    Hmmm… As weak/bad as Perry seems right now, I’m starting to think GOP partisans have swung too far away from him! Conservatives like to think Obama is a pathetic, overrated African American nonentity who cannot do anything apart from reading speeches from a teleprompter. They think GOP intellectuals like Gingrich, Chris Christie or Paul Ryan would wipe the floor with O in the debates, which explains why Bill Kristol & co. have an obsession with the aforementioned candidates.

    Really, Perry’s only unexpected problem has been that he has been disastrously weak in the GOP debates so far. But W was not a formidable debater either, and Perry would at most face Obama three times next fall. If the candidates are almost tied in the polls, the general election debates will matter. So Perry had better do his homework by then, but there is little reason to believe he could not raise his game to the same level as Sarah Palin did against Biden. Which means persuading the partisans on your own (Tea Party Republican-) side that you are a credible candidate despite low expectations … how difficult is *that*, really? Most of the “persuasion” will be done by other means anyway (negative ads, get out the vote campaigns etc.).

    Mind you, I don’t think Perry’s fundamentals as a general election candidate are that good! But if the Tea Party/evangelical base seriously thinks a white Southern deeply religious anti government populist would win, Perry ought to be their man… He might not be articulate but be has relevant experience as Governor of Texas. Newt Gingrich might be a smooth talker and debater, but he is Perry’s inferior in all other aspects.

    MARCU$

    • KW

      “They think GOP intellectuals like Gingrich, Chris Christie or Paul Ryan would wipe the floor with O in the debates.”

      This is just the funniest, FUNNIEST meme of all. To think that Gingrich — Gingrich!!! — is an intellectual! Oh, how the once-mighty Republicans have fallen. Gingrich is nothing more than a fast-talking snake oil salesman — if you haven’t gotten out in a while it may sound like “smarts,” but sheesh, the half-baked pretension just drips from his pasty brow.

  • Traveler51

    I’ve written several articles here at FrumForum about Perry’s likely political strengths. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I’m beginning to consider the possibility that I might have overestimated Perry’s capabilities. I will reflect on this topic further and may revisit it in future works.
    For being a paid pundit, you sure are slow to accept what most others saw instantly. Perry is a fool as soon as he attempts to speak. He has no logical thought process and looks and acts like a total clown. If he is what you believe is or ever was Presidential material, maybe you should burn your voters card, you don’t deserve it.

  • westony

    The GOP is stuck with Romney. Huntsman is a good choice. But he won’t sell to the “far right extremist” who OWN the Republican Party. Where is the Party of Reagan and what is to become of the “Palinization” of the GOP. Or as Paul Bagalia wrote in Newsweek “The Stupid Party”.

  • Redrabbit

    The only reason this is a surprise to anyone in the punditry is because they never even bothered to scrutinize Perry. He was treated as the de-facto front runner, and even the president-elect within days. I’m sure many of you recall that more than a few people were ready to declare the Romney campaign a failure within hours of the Perry announcement.

    Then, of course, he fell out of favor with the voters. His numbers collapsed in a truly amazing way. So…why is he still taken seriously by the punditry?

    Why are Gingrich and Cain considered ‘bubbles’ while Perry, so low in the polls and polling so badly in Iowa and New Hampshire, is still viable in the minds of the press?

    I mean, Ron Paul is polling better than Perry in Iowa, and if the pattern of this primary cycle keeps up, he might see a ‘bubble’ too, but you would be forgiven for thinking the punditry would sooner expect a Perry comeback than even a small bubble for Ron Paul.

    But seriously…can someone explain to me why the press has taken Perry so seriously, even though he has plummeted so badly? All his advantages seem to have evaporated, or have proven illusory to begin with. So why is he STILL treated as a ‘serious’ candidate when candidates who are doing better than him, AND have weathered their own problems much better (Cain)?

    I’m entirely serious. Does anyone have an answer to this question? Why is Perry treated like a ‘serious’ candidate, when pretty much anyone else who fumbled like this would have been declared a loser by the punditry long ago?