The travesty of Rick Perry’s failed campaign

From:,  by Michael Brendan Dougherty,  on Sep 14, 2015,  see the article HERE.


Rick Perry dropping out of the 2016 presidential race is a damn shame. It’s an indictment of Republican voters, who express a preference for entertainers and oddities, of the Republican Party apparatus that allowed Perry to languish at a “kid’s table” debate, and the media institutions that spent more time talking about Donald Trump’s hat than the success of governors.

The GOP needed Rick Perry in these debates. Not because he is particularly great at debating — he’s not. And not because he has experienced any of the normal upward twitches associated with a successful campaign — he didn’t. He should have been up there because anyone with any damn sense in their head knows he’s better qualified than half of the people on the stage, and he has a better story to tell.

Do people really believe Rick Perry is a less credible presidential candidate than Ben Carson? Does anyone think Carly Fiorina is more credible in America’s high politics than Perry? Or that Chris Christie has a better shot at uniting the party’s various factions and winning the White House?

Obviously idiots who answer polls think so.

But I’m addressing myself to the people who matter. And I mean that to sound contemptuous. I don’t feel any democratic angst to respect the opinions expressed in polls in the first weeks of September. If you surveyed likely voters, asking them to hum a few notes from a famous piece of music, the NBC chimes would outpoll Mozart and Beethoven every time.

There are people who matter in this process, the people who populate the mediating institutions of our politics in the Republican National Committee and in the media organizations that come up with rules for entry. And stupidly, these mediating institutions surrendered their own authority to that of opinion polls during a time when almost no one is paying attention to the election. They think it makes them look impartial and fair. It doesn’t. With 17 candidates, and so little mental energy to sort between them, any low-polling candidate could rip a memorable fart in the undercard debate and get enough free press and a subsequent polling bump to get into the top tier.

I don’t know why Rick Perry didn’t do so himself. But it doesn’t matter. He was until recently the long-serving governor of Texas. That state’s governance is the best argument for his candidacy and for Republican control of the levers of state power. Texas has thriving, growing cities where middle-class families experience upward mobility and find employment. Texas was one of the first states to bounce back economically — yes, partly because the energy sector bounced back first. And Texas made up an oversized portion of the overall American economic recovery under Obama. And the recovery in Texas is is far more equitable than it is nationwide, reaching middle- and lower-class families, too.

Texas has a story Republicans should be anxious to share with the rest of the country. Unlike the Mormon-Mountain West, whose success may be partially attributable to strong bonds of social cohesion that cannot be replicated by a political program, Texas is a diverse state, ethnically, religiously, and culturally. Texas looks like a possible future in which America is thriving.

That record of success should have been enough to overcome some of Rick Perry’s deficiencies in the highly unusual environment of a podium debate. The debates are a necessary evil, but it is stupid to pretend that being good in them is the measure of a presidency. If the best debaters made the best presidents, we’d be living at the tail end of unprecedented conservative governance led by successive Pat Buchanan and Alan Keyes administrations.

That Rick Perry’s candidacy was buried by early polling numbers is a travesty. It’s an over-worshipful deference to democratic-looking tools, like opinion polls. The result is a process that unnaturally favors electoral-curiosities like Ben Carson, or candidates who can only credibly represent one sect within the national party, like Mike Huckabee. Or free-media bonanza candidates like Donald Trump.

Four years ago I trashed Rick Perry’s tax plan, and his performance as a campaigner. But he made credible moves to improve his policy shop, and became one of the brainier candidates in the race. The records that Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal are touting are far more ambiguous than Perry’s.

For the sake of the party, for the sake of honoring the success of Republican governance in a large state, Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations needed to be protected from the hurricane-season of stupidity. He didn’t lose because he is a loser. He lost the way great poker players lose at tournaments with too many players. Pure dumb luck.


Even though I preferred Ted Cruz to be the Republican candidate, I do like Rick Perry. As a Texan, I’m proud to have voted for him every time he ran for Governor and although he is not without his warts, he was a good Governor and what other experience is more comparable to the presidency? As the author correctly points out, just look at Texas. To be sure, Perry isn’t the sole reason that Texas has led the nation in so many positive categories, but he deserves credit for some percentage of that success. I firmly believe that among the 17 candidates, he was probably the most qualified and had the most impressive story to tell. 

If the RNC had chosen more wisely and decided to back Perry rather than Jeb Bush, Republican chances would be better, even with Donald Trump hogging the spotlight.

The only reason that I preferred Ted Cruz is that Cruz is a bona fide conservative through and through and has the backbone to stand up to the progressives. Perry is less conservative and is more “negotiable” to outside influences. Another thing I liked about Perry is that he served in the military.

Nevertheless, Perry’s exit is not good for the country. The shame is that so many far less qualified candidates remain in the running, not the least of which is Donald Trump.






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10 Responses to The travesty of Rick Perry’s failed campaign

  1. Hardnox says:

    I too was disappointed that he dropped out. I think he would have made a good president. Sadly he shot himself in the foot when he came out to defend McCain. I thought his parting shot at Trump was low class.

  2. Kathy says:

    I thought he would have gotten more mileage out his accomplishments as governor than he did, but there were/are just too many candidates this time. He should have bitten his tongue when it came to bashing Trump and let nature take its course.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Even before Trump, I don’t think that Perry was considered a strong candidate based on his “oops” moment in 2012. I don’t think that he could shake that. Too bad.

  3. Uriel says:

    That I agree. Rep party is going the path of the Demos. Emphasizing the weak as strong and losing the strong who are unwilling to spar with the stupid. I think Perry is a solid guy and certainly has charted a decent course for Texas and Texas values. The one area I feel lacking there is the surging influence of Moslems We have heard little out of Texas on this. But hints suggest Moslem practices and influence is strengthening there.

    • Garnet92 says:

      As I’ve said before, I think that he could have been an above average president – certainly many heads and shoulders above the traitorous, lying community organizer occupying the White House now and many times better than the traitorous, lying Hillary as well. Too bad, now he’s history.

  4. Buck says:

    Rick Perry lost me a bit back. He is only slightly to the right of Jeb Bush.

  5. Buck says:

    I agree Perry has his warts. But his warts are under my saddle blanket.