Rick Perry – out!
The new glasses apparently didn’t do the trick.
The former governor of Texas threw in the towel Friday and the Republican race is now totally lacking in candidates who claimed to have shot a coyote while jogging.
His departure is a crushing blow for those of us who have already put in the time to read “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington,” in which Perry announced that Americans were tired of being bossed around and being told “how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house” and “what kind of cars we can drive.”
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I will not even have the opportunity to point out that Washington doesn’t actually tell us any of those things.
And now the loser debate on Wednesday will feature only four candidates, one of them George Pataki.
We make fun of presidential debates, for excellent reasons. But you will remember that at this time four years ago, Rick Perry was at the top of the polls. Way ahead of the pack. Then one “Oops” and an entire major league political career was ruined forever.
Does anybody out there remember the answer he flubbed? If he became president he was going to cut back on the Cabinet, eliminating education, commerce and, what was that? Oh, yes! – energy. The Department of Energy is still with us, but the presidential candidate is no more.
Adieu, Rick Perry, adieu.
“We have a tremendous field of candidates, probably the greatest group of men and women,” he overstated in his farewell address. “I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, as long as we listen to the grass roots, listen to the cause of conservatism.”
Just so long as the roots don’t vote for Donald Trump. Rick Perry really hates Donald Trump. And maybe this could be the start of a Trump downswing. Maybe if five or six other people quit, the voters will start to get focused and look at the polls like a homeowner waking up from a drunken bender and noticing a car in the living room.
As a presidential candidate in 2015, Perry’s only talent seemed to be getting money from very rich acquaintances. His political action committee still had cash, but it wasn’t allowed to coordinate with the candidate, or give his campaign any of its money. By the end Perry had no staff, and he was wandering like a Labrador retriever being pulled around by a helium balloon attached to his collar.
Now we'll no longer have to wonder about whether it’d be constitutionally problematic to have a ticket composed of Rick Perry and Ted Cruz. Hehehehehe.
My favorite Perry memory is and always has been a 2010 interview he did when he was governor with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune. Smith expressed some doubts about the state’s policy of strongly encouraging abstinence-only sex education in the public schools.
Perry insisted things were going great.
Smith pointed out that Texas had one of the worst rates of teenage pregnancy in the country.
“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” Perry said doggedly.
Always wanted to hear the backstory on that one. Now I guess we'll never know.
Perry was governor for 14 years – he inherited the job when George W. Bush got promoted – and his entire career as a presidential candidate was based on promising to do for the United States what he did for Texas. According to his telling, the state’s economic success was based entirely on low taxes and low regulation, as opposed to being a huge, underdeveloped chunk of the Sun Belt sitting on top of a mass of oil deposits.
When you look at a booming state and wonder why it’s doing so well, the answer is almost never the governor.
But Texas has certainly done better than most of the country when it comes to job growth. If that wasn’t good enough to get even a twitch of interest from the public this time around, what does it say about others in the field? Jeb Bush’s success in Florida was mainly about a real estate bubble and Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana … wow.
So Rick Perry’s gone for good. We will never have another chance to point out that he named his boots “Freedom” and “Liberty.”
We will never again hear him explain why he thinks it would be an excellent idea to eliminate the popular election of U.S. senators and let the great minds in the state legislatures do the choosing. Although that could come up anyway. Several other candidates have the same conviction.
What a weird year.