The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Perry Campaign Post Mortem:
Doomed From the Start

Posted on | January 19, 2012 | 25 Comments

Several years ago I picked up a book called The Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts Of In-flight Accidents, which is a major reason why, whenever I travel by air, I always pray before takeoff.

Because what you will learn from studying air disasters is that takeoff is the most dangerous part of any flight and, in many cases, the people who died were doomed from the time they boarded the plane. An undetected mechanical malfunction or a bungle by the maintenance crew and, from the time that jet rolls away from the gate, there is no hope for anyone aboard that doomed plane. They bought their ticket, and they are going to die.

Which brings us to Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. First the headlines:

Perry quits race, backs Gingrich
The State (Columbia, S.C.)

Perry’s Speech, Dropping Out, Endorsing Newt
Ace of Spades

Perry’s Voters May Not Flock to Gingrich
New York Times

Rick Perry Announces End to His Presidential Bid

I was there at the Hyatt Park for today’s press conference, along with Dave Weigel of Slate, Byron York of the Washington Examiner, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times, Willie Geist of MSNBC and dozens of other reporters. When Perry said, “I’ve always believed the mission is more important than the man,” I remembered that Perry was an Air Force pilot, and thought about The Black Box, because Perry’s campaign was doomed from the moment it began.

Rick Perry is a good man, and he deserved a better campaign than he got, but his political advisers — Dave Carney and those other guys — had all the wrong ideas, and thus Perry’s “mission” was destined to failure from the outset. Exactly how these men, so widely hailed as shrewd strategists, got so many things so badly wrong is a story that I’m sure will be the subject of many campaign post mortems, like Jennifer Jacobs’s excellent examination of what went wrong with Michele Bachmann’s campaign. But I have neither time nor inclination to offer a full analysis today.

What is important today is to realize that there was never really any hope that Rick Perry could win the presidency. All the hype generated about Perry’s candidacy last summer was mistaken, based on a flawed assumptions about the candidate, about his campaign staff, about the entire strategic conception of the Perry campaign.

It was all wrong, wrong, wrong, from the very beginning, an utter waste of time, money and effort, and everyone involved would have been better off if Perry had never run at all. Instead of asking, “What went wrong?” we should be asking simply, “Why?”

But that question is one that Perry’s most vocal supporters — who loudly and repeatedly proclaimed  their candidate the only viable alternative to Mitt Romney — do not wish to0 contemplate. And so I will simply link my American Spectator report on the Perry press conference, which ought to be the final word on this tragic folly.

It won’t, of course, because the campaign will continue, until it is at least recognized that Perry’s endorsement of Newt “Share Me” Gingrich, like everything else about the Perry campaign, has proved to be a mistake.

And then no one will give me credit for that prediction, either.


25 Responses to “Perry Campaign Post Mortem:
Doomed From the Start”

  1. Zilla of the Resistance
    January 19th, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

    I’ve been waiting all day for you to weigh in, Stacy!

    I am happy that now hopefully people will stop proclaiming that the guy is GOP Jesus and that it is a sacrilege to believe otherwise.

  2. Brian D Paasch
    January 19th, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    I’d like to add a footnote to your Spectator piece. I received a message from Gov Perry that went as follows:

    Dear Mr. Paasch,

    I see that two of your children are adopted from nations other than the USA. I understand that you and your wife complied with all the requirements to properly and lawfully naturalize your two foreign born children. However, let me be clear, the fact that you are not willing to reward and elevate those foreign nationals who enter our country illegally means that you are Heartless! Understand me: You. Have. No. Heart.
    Now if for some odd reason, you should still want to support my candidacy, please rush you donation of $100 to me in the included envelope.

    Governor Rick Perry

    When I received that message from Perry, ANY chance of my supporting him crashed and burned beyond any chance of saving.

  3. ThePaganTemple
    January 19th, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    Actually, if Perry could have carried his weight in the debates and not come across as a country bumpkin who just fell off a beer truck, he might have been my preferred candidate next to Palin, maybe more than Bachmann. But the guy just wasn’t ready to play in the big leagues. It’s a shame, but there it is.

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  5. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    What doomed Perry from the start wasn’t any intrinsic weakness, it was the hype which preceded his entry.  Conservatives this year have been acting like teenaged girls at a pop festival, gushing and squealing with glee as they run from one stage door to the next hoping to get a glimpse of the Next Teen Heart-throb.  Too many have overstated their hero-of-the-moment’s virtues and qualifications and treated the slightest criticism as vile slander – no matter how valid or obvious it is.  At times, just the failure to be adequately effusive in praise of their idol would bring the wrath of the lovers.

    Palin, Perry, Cain,  and now Gingrich all attracted a following of these people so hungry for another Reagan they cannot accept the fact there is not going to be one this cycle.  (Bachmann and Santorum also had some, but not so many as to create a lynch mob for critics).

    If Perry had been able to enter normally without the brass band and chorus of angels and Busby Berkeley opening entrance, he would have come into the race with around 10% support.  His early gaffes wouldn’t have seemed so important from one “in the pack,” and some might not have even happened since he wouldn’t have been a target (say, on immigration) so early.  He would have had a  learning curve.  He might have been able to get better at the short-answer debate format in time for “his turn” to be the Not Romney.

  6. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    Would have been nice if he endorsed Santorum, but at least he did not go for Mitt.  

  7. Zilla of the Resistance
    January 19th, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    It also might have helped if he weren’t an islamocoddler. It wasn’t until some Marines peed on a few dead jihadis that Rick Perry got on the right side of the issue versus islam, until that point he was spewing that ‘islam is a religion of peace’. Just sayin’.

  8. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Hey, I didn’t say he was perfect any more than the rest.  I said he could have been viable if not for being billed as The Second Coming of Reagan.

  9. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

    It’s a fitting end to a campaign which has done almost everything wrong from start to finish.

    Whether it’s the team, as Stacy suggests, the candidate, or all Erickson’s fault, it’s been one disaster of a run.

  10. Pathfinder's wife
    January 19th, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    Perry was a flawed man who ran a (very) flawed campaign.  We should be thankful he’s out.

    No, he was not the great conservative hope, and in many regards he’s just as “establishment” as the rest of them (moreso than others).

    You are correct: this Newt endorsement will likely not end well either (Newt’s “whore” slip is beginning to show too much — heh, in more ways than one; and getting an endorsement from another harlot won’t be much help for him).

    Sadly, it is likely Mitt who will end up benefitting from this (for the primaries, he’s likely a dead man walking now in the general), and Santorum and Paul who will be hurt (I wonder if that isn’t the master plan all along?).

  11. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    There’s already an item on Hotair that a major Perry backer is going to Romney.  So, its not a shoo-in for Gingrich.  

  12. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    “master plan”?

    Go look under your bed – there might be a Bilderberger there.

  13. Tennwriter
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    Makes sense to me.

    I still say Santorum supporters are more rational/skeptical than others with perhaps Perrybots or Ronulans at the other end of the spectrum of reasonableness.

  14. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:29 pm


  15. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    What Perry really wants to do.

  16. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

    Yeah, I know how critical the David Wilkins endorsement was…who is David Wilkins again?  

  17. Edward
    January 19th, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    Hey that’s actually a positive.  Evidently being a Republican also means you have to be a masochist.

    Or at least that’s how it seems lately.

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  19. Anonymous
    January 19th, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

    RSM, this Santorum chap sure seems to be sucking up a storm down in South Carolina, is he not?  The Realclearpolitics average for SC has him in 4th place.  Santorum can’t even beat Ron Paul.  And South Carolinians don’t even like Ron Paul.

  20. Pathfinder's wife
    January 19th, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    Hey, I”ve heard so many freaking conspiracy theories about why canidate X is staying in, attacking Y, getting out now that I might as well contribute one of my own rather than just sit by and passively listen to them.

    But in one thing I know I’m correct, and it’s no conspiracy: politics is a parliment of whores.

  21. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    Most Santorum supporters appear to quite rational.  He’d score well on the old Dave Barry  “Percentage of supporters who appear to be weenies” scale.

    You and Stacy, not so much, though.

  22. Adjoran
    January 19th, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

    And now you speak disparagingly of the world’s oldest profession!


  23. Katja
    January 20th, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    I always pray before taking off on planes too.  (I also pray before driving anywhere.)  One time, I actually had a snotty flight attendant sarcastically say to me “Oh, I see you don’t do a lot of flying”. On the other hand, one of the best experiences was sitting next to a Greek-American man who was 92 years old on a flight from Germany to the US and seeing him cross himself as I was doing before takeoff.  I suppose it does make some people nervous; then again for many people, any reminder of mortality will do that.

  24. Anonymous
    January 20th, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    Don’t take it so hard i’m sure the any  number of  people left or right who would love to purchase a damaging letter such as this.

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