Seriously, Why Won’t Perry Drop Out?

January 4th, 2012 at 3:12 pm | 40 Comments |

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So it looks like the indications are that Rick Perry, former front-runner, last place finisher in the 2011 Republican Debate Tournament, is not hanging up his brush jacket yet. Despite his very melancholy nigh-concession last night, the Texas governor seems to be headed to South Carolina instead of back home to Austin.

The question is: Why?

Ostensibly, Perry got into the race because of two things, 1. he felt that the President needed to be replaced with a conservative and 2. Mitt Romney, a Bay State ex-progressive, is insufficiently conservative.

Yesterday on CNN, John King brought up the spectre of Fred Thompson. In 2008, after disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, Thompson maintained a strong enough position among conservatives to prevent Mike Huckabee from winning South Carolina. As a result, the more moderate McCain won the primary.

The thing is, Fred Thompson knew what he was doing. Thompson liked McCain (he endorsed him in 2000). Thompson knew he himself could not win, but he knew that he could take enough of the conservative vote to hand South Carolina to his mavericky friend.

In contrast, Perry pretty clearly views Romney as a aristrocratic upstart and a phony. If Perry stays in South Carolina, all he does is eat away at votes for Gingrich and Santorum. All this does in strengthen Mitt Romney.

So either Perry knows something that we don’t, or some political consultants are making a nice profit out of lying to the Texas governor. The Anybody-but-Mitt crowd probably should pick up the phone and holler at the Perryites that it’s time for the man to go back home.

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40 Comments so far ↓

  • balconesfault

    Ostensibly, Perry got into the race because of two things, 1. he felt that the President needed to be replaced with a conservative and 2. Mitt Romney, a Bay State ex-progressive, is insufficiently conservative.

    No … Perry got into the race because of one thing – his deep pocket backers who have supported his political career up to now thought they had an opening, and provided Perry the resources and staff with which to mount a campaign.

    And he will get out when they think that opening no longer exists. Clearly, right now, they don’t … and frankly I can see their point.

    • Probabilistic

      You forget. There was third reason. He was called on by God to become President, during the Reliant Park, Houston jamboree/freak show. Recently, the SNR on the God channel has been awful. That explains the oops! moment: not brain freeze, but comms timeout.

      • Giggles

        Nice, nothing like the Divine Right of Kings to stir the irony bucket.

        The Pilgrims left Plymouth in 1620 the Divine Right of Kings reaches its peak with James I (d. 1625) and Charles I (d. 1649), who had a misunderstanding with Parliament and lost his head.

  • ottovbvs

    It’s probably a mixture of political consultants who want the gravy train to continue and maybe some campaign finance laws that allow Perry to hang onto campaign contributions if he stays in the race for a certain period.

  • Saladdin

    He’s got tons of cash and advisors who are more than willing to separate him from said cash.

  • LFC

    Seriously, Why Won’t Perry Drop Out?

    Because he’s really, really stupid?

  • bdtex

    All good responses so far. If Perry had no money he’d probably pull out. Plus,he’s never lost before and I think he knows this is his last run.

  • dante

    Because he’s betting on a small number of GOP elite to pick his name out of a hat?

  • hisgirlfriday

    Per POLITICO, he’s still got $3.5 million to burn.

    • Redrabbit

      If reports are correct, Perry spent $6 million in Iowa. What did that get him?

      So, he has almost half of what he spent in one state left.

  • dugfromthearth

    We also know that in the right wing world reality makes no difference. Perry can continue running for several months and have his stature raised among the right. Maybe get a Fox tv show out of it. That he would hurt Romney’s general election chances makes no difference to the right wing crowd – they simply do not understand politics or cause and effect. When Obama wins they will simply claim he cheated.

  • rbottoms

    Egotistical Texas jerk?

    Didn’t we have one of those as president a while back? Had some guy named David Frum who worked for him?

    • Houndentenor

      Perry makes W look intelligent and sane.

    • Probabilistic

      To be fair, Perry sounds a lot more subdued these days, especially after the debate fiasco. Chest no longer puffed out. Bernanke can breathe a little easier with diminishing threat of a Texas lynching. Although, Houndentenor’s characterization is still accurate.

  • pnwguy

    I think he’s angling for the VP role, especially if a northeastern guy like Romney is inevitable. He offers those southern evangelicals someone to be excited about and give the Mormon some cover. He also reassures the business wing that crony capitalism will remain part of the GOP action plan. If he quits after one race, he doesn’t look Texas Tough, and his candidacy depends on swagger as much as anything.

    From a GOP strategic standpoint, a Romney/Perry ticket covers a lot of bases. He might be the cagey-dumb type, but as VP, that’s less of a factor for voters (Palin set the bar low). At least he has several terms of executive experience, even if much of it involves signing execution orders. For the GOP base, that’s a big plus though.

    • Geprodis

      +1 brilliant assessment

    • Graychin

      Rick Perry is still running – but for VP. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

      I sure hope that the eventual nominee picks Perry. He’d be even more of a drag on the ticket than Palin was in 2008.

    • nitrat

      John McCain set that bar that low and he should still be ashamed.

    • think4yourself

      PNW – good read.

      And/Or he is setting himself up for 2016 ala Romney. If he folds after one state caucus, he’s an not even a footnote. If he makes it through a couple of states, shows he’s the Marlboro Man alternative to sweater-vest Santorum (who hasn’t been the focus of the other candidates attack ads yet), given the othe candidates he should be a strong second.

      Oh wait – those debates.

    • Grace

      I’ve assumed this from the beginning. It’s clear that the The Money Boyz have chosen Mitt, and Mitt they will get. The vast majority of the wingnut rubes will dutifully fall in line, grumbling as they do it, but they won’t put boots on the ground for Romney if there isn’t a lot of sumpin-sumpin in the VP pick. This means a fire-breathing Southerner who can throw the red meat with the best of ‘em and impeccable Christianist cred to make up for Mitt’s unfortunate cult membership.

      Perry seems to fit all these criteria perfectly. I’m sure The Money Boyz knew going in that he isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, but all the better to avoid completely outshining Multiple-Choice Mitt. Only drawback I can see is that he doesn’t deliver a key swing state but I can’t think of any other southerner who fills the bill as well as Perry. Barbour? Are you kidding, a real-life Boss Hogg? Jindal? That sorta brown guy who does exorcisms and is best known for his Kenneth-the-Page impression? Rubio? Too soon, also too brown. McDonnell might be an option, but he’s never struck me as enough of a firebreathing meat-thrower and I haven’t gotten the impression his fundie-fu is as awesome as Perry’s .

      If McCain needed Palin to generate any kind of enthusiasm, imagine how much compensation will be needed for Flipper. McCain at least had the war hero thing going and while he liked to poke the GOP in the eye occasionally, he was a piker compared to the early versions of the Mittbot. The VP nominee will have to be able to check every single wingnut box, and with rip roarin’ gusto. That’s Rick Perry. He’ll deliver the South even after Mittbot v.2012 shuffles robotically to the center.

  • Houndentenor

    The other day I heard someone talking about a reality show. The people on the show all complained about how they were portrayed by the producers, but every one of them signed up for another season.

    Why don’t most candidates know when it’s time to drop out? Almost none of them do. Usually they are in until they run out of money. Thompson looked bored and annoyed on the campaign trail. He wanted out as soon as he could. Perry will be in until his staff tells him they are quitting because there’s no more cash to pay them and not a second before.

  • Geprodis

    Rick Perry could be the new Dan Quayle.

  • jakester

    Comedy Central and SNL are keeping him going for more jokes and satire

  • Stewardship

    It’s a head scratcher. We’ll learn more in the NH debates by who Perry tees off on.

    • Graychin

      Or who Perry sucks up to.

      • PracticalGirl

        NOW we’re talkin’.

        Is he, as PNW lays out, angling for VP?

        Or is he just hedging his bets? Governor Perry still has 3 years left of his term. If we end up with a Republican President, his lobbying efforts for Federal dollars will benefit from a friendly in the White House. Because God knows, if we end up with 4 more years of Obama (and some Democratic control in Congress), Governor Perry and his lobbyists are going to be seriously challenged. And and the Federal money helps fuel state investment, which keeps the Perry jobs narrative alive for 2016

        To whom, how much and what type of sucking up Perry offers in the next debate will probably tell the tale.

  • valkayec

    It appears everyone else here has stated everything I would say. Perry is as dumb as saltine crackers. His political career is over so I’m sure he’s angling for some important spot with which to make a bundle of dough.

    One of the things that’s interested me about Perry is that the Texas governorship is relatively powerless when it comes to running the state government. Yet, Perry has managed, through his form of crony capitalism, to install department heads that have determined the nature the nature of Texas. I suspect that Perry’s political team has much more to do with how Texas works than Perry himself. Now that he’s on his own on stage, he can’t rely on his expert team to pull the strings to get Perry in the lead.

    So, why won’t Perry quit? Ego? Hoping for some important position? Who knows. What we do know is that the longer he stays in the race, the further this personal political prestige will fall.

  • Gus

    I assume that at least in part he thinks he’ll grab Bachmann’s supporters. South Carolinians are likely to be friendlier to someone with a Southern accent. Plus, as others have pointed out, he has money.

  • Sinan

    The guy is so stupid he thinks he is winning.

  • nitrat

    Rick has decided that since he was called by God, he will stay in.

    Has anyone asked Michelle what God had to say about her dropping out?

    I am a heathen, but why don’t these people realize they trivialize their God and religions as much as that Tebow fella, by deluding themselves that God cares about politics or football or how they do in either. God cares about how they treat their fellow man. Don’t ya think?

    • think4yourself

      As a Christian – +1

      • PracticalGirl

        +1, as a heathen.

        God called a lot of these candidates into the race, but I assume he’s chosen only one winner. If it is Obama, will we hear Bachmann, Perry et al speaking of “God’s will”?

        I won’t be holding my breath.

  • gover

    Looking at the long list of third party candidates and major party primary candidates over the last several elections, I’m forced to conclude one can make a good living running for president, even as a hopeless candidate. Even Alan Keyes ran three times.

  • PingGuy

    I spent a few days reading RedState, because the arguments in the comments between the TP’ers and moderates is hilarious. What I learned is that RS is in full on Rick Perry promotion mode. They’ve even been banning “trolls” who dare to state that Romney is more electable than Rick Perry. It’s like they live in a parallel universe.

    Anyway, I hate to give them any free hits but if you need a laugh there are plenty to be had there.

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