Rick Perry Receives the Kiss of Death—Troy Senik

 

How do you know your dreams of reaching higher office are doomed? When Dick Morris says you have a chance. From the latest musings of the man who guaranteed a Hillary Clinton-Condoleeza Rice presidential race in 2008 (the book laying out that scenario is now available at prices starting at $0.01 from Amazon):

Of the defeated candidates left over from 2012, Santorum is probably too focused on social issues to win. Cain and Bachmann can be dismissed as flashes in the pan, and the problems that knocked them out of contention have not gone away. Romney probably won’t get a third chance. Even Nixon only got two. Newt inflicted too many wounds on others and on himself.

That leaves Rick Perry. Acceptable to Latinos based on his Texas record. Draws strong Tea Party support without being defined by it. A Southerner, he is clearly ready to play on the national stage. A big state governor whose record on jobs has only gotten better. He can’t be dismissed.

 

I know what you’re thinking: how does anyone leave Buddy Roemer out of this analysis?

While Morris is easy to dismiss on the basis of reputation alone (it’s called the “Bob Shrum effect” in the industry), none of the above analysis strikes me as glaringly wrong. There’s a long way, however, between reckoning Perry the 2012 candidate most likely to get a second look (especially given that most experts now consider that year’s field an elaborate practical joke) and thinking him a likely top-tier contender for 2016.

The biggest problem is probably the punchline factor. Yes, it’s unfair to judge Perry entirely on the basis of a few slip-ups, but once the voters get a caricature of a politician entrenched in their mind, it’s incredibly difficult to dislodge it. Mitt Romney had it right in Greg Whiteley’s documentary. While discussing his inability to shake accusations of being a flip-flopper, he observed, “It’s like trying to convince people that Dan Quayle is smart. You’re not going to convince [them].” This is probably the same reason, by the way, that Joe Biden — who’s received extra ridicule because of the comedy world’s unwillingness to lay a finger on Barack Obama — will never get off the ground as a presidential candidate. There’s no coming back from having become a joke.

I also get the sense that GOP voters are desperate for something new. You see it in the eye rolls at the mention of Jeb Bush’s name. You see it in the room-temperature reception that even a stalwart conservative like Paul Ryan gets when talk turns to a presidential bid. Given the explosion of new conservative talent that’s emerged in the past few election cycles — Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz — will Republican primary voters really flock to a guy they’ve already field-tested once … and who couldn’t secure a single Republican delegate in the midst of a historically weak presidential field?

Finally, I think Perry has a potential general election liability that many Republican voters are blind to: he’s going to remind people of George W. Bush. Yes, those of us who’ve followed the two men’s careers closely know that they don’t have all that much in common. Your average low-information voter, however — the kind who forms impressions rather than opinions — is going to see a folksy, swaggering Texas governor and feel like he’s seen this movie before. 

None of this is a reflection of my own personal views on Perry. I think he’s been a great governor for Texas and I was more than willing to entertain the idea of his presidential candidacy in 2012 before it became clear that he wasn’t up to the challenge. He increasingly feels, however, like someone who missed his moment.

What do you think? Does Perry have a reasonable shot at a comeback? Where does he rank in your estimation of potential 2016 candidates? 

There are 44 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I can’t stand Dick Morris but Rick Perry would be OK. I’d be glad to vote for him if he’s the candidate. Who cares if he couldn’t remember the names of a few departments we don’t need, anyway?

    • #1
  2. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Troy Senik, Ed.: Given the explosion of new conservative talent that’s emerged in the past few election cycles — Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz — will Republican primary voters really flock to a guy they’ve already field-tested once … and who couldn’t secure a single Republican delegate in the midst of a historically weak presidential field?

    Primary voters will probably be split, again, in a way that favors the least conservative candidate. Whoever doesn’t have to share his voters wins.

    To that end, Cruz and Perry might want to get together and decide which should carry the torch for the Texas sledgehammer crowd. Jindal and Rubio, Walker and Christie, might merit similar meetings.

    If Jeb Bush runs, I suspect he will steal votes mostly from Christie, Walker, certainly Rubio and perhaps Jindal. But I could be wrong.

    Palin should wait until the last moment to throw her hat in the ring and pick up the scraps from all the in-fighting. 

    • #2
  3. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    I like Scott Walker. If he runs, and he’s still in the race when the primary comes to the People’s Republic of Illinois, I’ll vote for him.

    It’ll be swimming up Niagara Falls to tow Perry across the Presidential electoral finish line but if he’s the nominee, I’ll support him if he demonstrates he’s willing to fight (e.g. will get right up into Clinton’s face about Benghazi, where she was and what she was doing that night and for the following two days).

    • #3
  4. Pilli Inactive
    Pilli
    @Pilli

    You see it in the eye rolls at the mention of Jeb Bush’s name.

    And yet, I will take bets that he is our candidate.  (I hope I’m wrong.)   He appeals to the Republican power brokers as did Dole, McCain and Romney.  And for the same reasons…he’s a know quantity.

    • #4
  5. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    One thing’s for sure:  Dick Morris will never, ever go away.

    Perry had a rough ride but it’s over for him, I think.  If you run a campaign and the result is that people don’t think you’re up for the job, that’s the lasting impression that guarantees you won’t get looked at again.  Fair has nothing to do with it.

    Oh, and here’s where I put my vote in to not have Republican debates moderated by liberals.  Just a thought.

    • #5
  6. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I agree with your analysis, Troy.  And I would add that it is time to move on from Bushes and Boomers.  There are plenty of great candidates for us, but, happily, as AB Stoddard observed on Special Report one day, Hillary is all the Dems have got.  What with Benghazi finally decimating (we hope) her chances, I’m hoping for a Walker/Haley ticket or maybe even better, Walker/Martinez.

    • #6
  7. Scott Reusser Member
    Scott Reusser
    @ScottR

    If ever there was a man put on this earth to be governor of Texas, it was Rick Perry, and he was a great one apparently — which is why it was so excruciating to witness “oops” and the ridicule. 

    His dignity restored, he’ll hopefully be content with his accomplishments and his life well-lived and let the new guys get a whack at the presidency. No shame in that. And if he plays his cards right he might just position himself as the GOP’s kingmaker.

    • #7
  8. user_333118 Inactive
    user_333118
    @BarbaraKidder

    Today, on his ‘Lunch Alert’ (The collapse of the Republican Mainstream),  Dick Morris said he believes Rick Perry can’t win the Republican primary because the voters remember his poor performance in the debates in 2012.
    Morris belongs in a group of famous political commentators and writers, some of whom were writing on Ricochet, who were overly optimistic about Mitt Romney, right up until he lost to Obama.
    First, I believe that Rick Perry is too old for the rigors of the campaign.  He does not do well speaking extemporaneously and Hillary Clinton (if she is the Democrats’ candidate), will talk circles around him.
    Mr. Perry may perform well as the next president, but not as a campaigner for the office.

    • #8
  9. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    I don’t think enough time has passed since “Oops” for people to shake that impression of him.

    • #9
  10. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    Aaron Miller: Palin should wait until the last moment to throw her hat in the ring and pick up the scraps from all the in-fighting.

     Wasn’t that suggested in 2012?

    • #10
  11. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Yeah, but it’s unclear if she passed in 2012 because she didn’t want it or because she didn’t think the time is right. It’s possible she’s happy being the kingmaker instead of the queen. Even so, she might accept a VP position.

    In any case, 2016 is already looking crowded.

    • #11
  12. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    If memory serves, didn’t Perry have back surgery just before the debates?  Tho even an attempt at an explanation may not have much of an effect this time around.

    • #12
  13. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Aaron Miller:

    Palin should wait until the last moment to throw her hat in the ring and pick up the scraps from all the in-fighting.

     Palin, in my judgment, has the same problem as Perry on a dramatically larger scale. The vast majority of the public has made up their mind on her — and their conclusion is that she’s something less than presidential material.

    There may have been a time when the intensity of her support within a segment of the conservative base could have propelled her to a serious shot at the nomination, though it would have culminated in a (likely lopsided) defeat in the general election. These days, I doubt even that’s true. 

    She’s chosen to be an activist rather than a stateswoman. It’s a better fit for her natural skill set.

    • #13
  14. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Pilli:

    You see it in the eye rolls at the mention of Jeb Bush’s name.

    And yet, I will take bets that he is our candidate. (I hope I’m wrong.) He appeals to the Republican power brokers as did Dole, McCain and Romney. And for the same reasons…he’s a know quantity.

     Interesting. I’d probably take the other side of that bet. In fact — while I wouldn’t be confident enough to lay money on it — I’ve long suspected we won’t see Jeb run at all. 

    Regardless of what you think of him (and I’m basically fond of Jeb, though I disagree with him on Common Core and immigration), I can’t imagine a Republican electorate with a range of choices as wide as we’re likely to have in 2016 deciding that their salvation will come via a third member of the Bush family.

    • #14
  15. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    barbara lydick:

    If memory serves, didn’t Perry have back surgery just before the debates? Tho even an attempt at an explanation may not have much of an effect this time around.

     Yes, and his camp hasn’t been shy about floating that explanation when the 2012 disaster comes up. I’ve never really liked that rationalization. You can either do the job or you can’t. Don’t whine because you were playing hurt.

    • #15
  16. user_928618 Inactive
    user_928618
    @JimLion

    Well, I’m looking at Perry and Scott Walker, with Cruz or Rand Paul at VP.

    • #16
  17. user_50776 Inactive
    user_50776
    @AlKennedy

    I think we will have a more informed opinion on this after the 2014 election. Perry will be very active for Republican candidates across the nation. We’ll see him speaking and campaigning in different parts of the country and we’ll be better able to measure his appeal.

     If he runs, I think he can be a strong candidate but will have formidable competition. At this point he has few detailed policy positions.

     Positives: will raise a lot of money; has an excellent record on and can talk about energy and jobs; excellent retail politician-can work a room and a campaign event like Bill Clinton; relates to the blue-collar middle class voter; won’t automatically be written off by Hispanics.

     Negatives: no foreign policy experience; some will remember 2012; may still be susceptible to verbal gaffes.

    • #17
  18. robertm7575@gmail.com Inactive
    robertm7575@gmail.com
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Why is that Morris always looks like he just got out of a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing where he played Frankfurter?

    • #18
  19. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    It seems to me that Perry, although a good governor, made some serious gaffes on the national stage and that means he’s done.  He is a buffoon.  We don’t need a buffoon going against Putin.

    The only republican that has actually done anything of note is Scott Walker.  Why anyone would consider anyone else, I couldn’t say.  Walker fought a powerful enemy.  In the heart of union country, he gave a shellacking to unions.  He wasn’t all mouth like Palin.  He wasn’t flashy like Cruz (who is my second choice).  He won’t scare people with isolationism like Rand Paul.  Scott Walker is the man.  

    I actually like that he didn’t go to college.  We could us a self made man and damn the ivy league’s snobbery.

    • #19
  20. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Palin self-destructed last weekend at the NRA Convention with her waterboarding/baptism comment.

    • #20
  21. The Mugwump Inactive
    The Mugwump
    @TheMugwump

    I was an early Perry supporter largely because he was and remains a rock-ribbed conservative.  Last year’s primary season was as fascinating as it was excruciating, but I don’t see that Perry in any way disqualified himself.  We know what the press is likely to do, but that’s part of the battle, innit?  I would vote enthusiastically for a Perry/Walker or Walker/Perry ticket.  I think Hillary comes off as far too shrill to be president.  The more she appears in the public eye, the less appealing she becomes.

    • #21
  22. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    As Troy said, it’ll be a lot of work for Perry to overcome the shallow-but-unavoidable comparisons to GWB as well as his own fizzle in 2012.  That said, I’d like to see him give it another try and I’d be very happy to hear him out.

    • #22
  23. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Skyler:

    It seems to me that Perry, although a good governor, made some serious gaffes on the national stage and that means he’s done. He is a buffoon. We don’t need a buffoon going against Putin.

    The only republican that has actually done anything of note is Scott Walker. Why anyone would consider anyone else, I couldn’t say. Walker fought a powerful enemy. In the heart of union country, he gave a shellacking to unions. He wasn’t all mouth like Palin. He wasn’t flashy like Cruz (who is my second choice). He won’t scare people with isolationism like Rand Paul. Scott Walker is the man.

    Based on what little I know of him, I think Scott Walker is just fine.  But what if once he starts getting national exposure, he has an “oops moment”?  Do we denounce him as a buffoon and drop him like a hot potato?  It’s easy to be supportive of someone when you only know their position on one issue.  As we come to know all of the candidates better, we’re going to find things we like and dislike about each of them.

    • #23
  24. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Umm….Troy. Let’s not forget who else was a punchline before securing the Republican nomination….in 1980.

    • #24
  25. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Umm….Troy. Let’s not forget who else was a punchline before securing the Republican nomination….in 1980.

    This strikes me as revisionist history. Didn’t Reagan’s concession speech in 1976 prompt buyers’ remorse, once the delegates realized that they were stuck with a Ford?

    And my memory may be playing tricks, but as I recall, even my ward-heeler-for-JFK father was transfixed (my mom’s a definite Reagan Dem/Independent).

    • #25
  26. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    I certainly don’t count Perry out, though the Morris report is portentous for him.

    • #26
  27. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Fricosis Guy:

    Hartmann von Aue:

    Umm….Troy. Let’s not forget who else was a punchline before securing the Republican nomination….in 1980.

    This strikes me as revisionist history. Didn’t Reagan’s concession speech in 1976 prompt buyers’ remorse, once the delegates realized that they were stuck with a Ford?

    And my memory may be playing tricks, but as I recall, even my ward-heeler-for-JFK father was transfixed (my mom’s a definite Reagan Dem/Independent).

     No, I’m not talking about the Republican response to Reagan. I’m talking about the press casting him as a doddering old man or an “insane anglo warlord” as one t-shirt for sale before the election did, re-arranging the letters of “Ronald Wilson Reagan”.  And prior to his re-election in 84, we had even more disparaging and downright slanderous attacks on him to deal with….and he won in a landslide. My point is, with the right man, the kind of attacks Troy is rightly predicting can be nullified. The question becomes, then: Is Rick Perry the right man? He’s been a great governor here, but so was W.

    • #27
  28. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    Finally, I think Perry has a potential general election liability that many Republican voters are blind to: he’s going to remind people of George W. Bush.

    I couldn’t agree more.  That Texas swagger and history as governor makes them the same for your average normal person (not fascinated by politics) and low info voter.  Good point I haven’t heard anywhere else.

    • #28
  29. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Hartmann von Aue:

    My point is, with the right man, the kind of attacks Troy is rightly predicting can be nullified. The question becomes, then: Is Rick Perry the right man? He’s been a great governor here, but so was W.

    We agree on this last point, which is why I pointed out that Reagan reached my dad: a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. 

    I doubt that Perry can, because of my theory of Texas. Texas is what makes Texas great: its constitution, its geography, and its history.  In other words, the very uniqueness Texans take pride in — and insist upon — is what makes it hard for them to be effective national leaders.

    Texas can absorb leaders like W and Perry because it doesn’t need a strong leader to show it the way. Unfortunately, the US is at a pass where we need consistent, steadfast direction (IMO, W’s huge flaw: e.g., campaigned as war leader, then pivoted immediately after the election to social security reform).

    • #29
  30. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Randy Weivoda: Based on what little I know of him, I think Scott Walker is just fine.  But what if once he starts getting national exposure, he has an “oops moment”?  Do we denounce him as a buffoon and drop him like a hot potato? 

     You have a good point, but Rick Perry had more than a moment of oops.  His insistence that my daughter is a slut and needed a vaccination for that problem was the first oops, and a big one in my book.  And he looked bad again and again during the last campaign.  It was not one misstatement, it was a bunch of them.

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.