Rick Perry is out of the race for President having failed to to resuscitate his national image and campaign — but he is not out of trouble. The longest serving Governor of Texas blamed his indictment for his lack of fundraising telling Sean Hannity that, “the political opponents, they did their damage…” And though his indictment is very real, it is more likely the the distrust of government sown by his party that was his ultimate demise. (And here is some data by the Washington Post to back it up.)
His 2016 oops wasn’t a moment, it was a movement. The GOP has poisoned the well of government while assuming its own immunity even though they occupy a majority of Congress and Governors’ mansions. That makes it all the more poetic that in 2012 Perry couldn’t remember the third government agency he would scrap if President. It also explains why half a dozen GOP governors hover around the margin of error in the polls.
Still, Perry’s real 2012 oops moment was when he said folks didn’t have a heart when it came to undocumented children. If he would have cued on that point he may have cracked the top ten, but in true Perry fashion, he chose to break before bending. That’s of course something we had never seen in Texas despite Democrats best efforts to paint Perry as a corrupt crony capitalist. Democrats’ failure to gain traction against Perry might have also given him a false sense of security. When you’re explaining you are losing and Trump had Perry constantly defending his record in Texas, where before his only mode was attack.
From the outset of his indictment in 2014, Perry and the GOP at large have maintained that it’s only political and some political observers even wondered if that perception could help him. The one thing the pundit class and Perry agreed on was that this time he was more prepared.
Politico’s Katie Glueck said, “Rick Perry’s still got it…when it comes to glad-handing and working a crowd, Perry still sets the gold standard even if he trails in the polls.” The problem for Perry is that there is a new standard in 2016 — who has the least government on their hands, and unfortunately for Perry he is the definition of a career politician. In his years of public service from 1972 – 2015 only 8 were spent not working for the man. In this year’s GOP primary — experience is only a fool’s gold.
Perry struggled to raise money from the grassroots, but he did have a couple of mega donors propping up his Super PAC. Now, as at least one of them wants his $5 million back, we could see some new precedent on what a single purpose Super PAC does with it single purpose no longer exists.
As the money dried up and staff was let go, his legal bills surpassed $2 million. He was able to pay for them through his state campaign funds, and not his Presidential account, but it surely had some effect on whether or not large donors wanted invest in what would become a toxic asset.
There was a time when Perry was ahead of the Tea Party curve, and refused to debate. Now his best hustle couldn’t get him a spot on the main stage, it’s now come full circle and he’s the moderate the party loves to hate. You can help create the monster, but you don’t get to control it.
Perry’s legal woes are now his only concern. He no longer has to worry about the over regulation of an oppressive federal government. His rhetorical legacy has crystallized into the shiny new gem we call Donald Trump — and the base loves it.