Rick Perry’s second run for the presidency lasted all of 3 months last year (he could barely count all of them). He later was the first Republican to hold his nose and endorse his former rival Ted Cruz, and has campaigning for Cruz ever since.
Yet for some conservatives, absence has made the heart grow fonder, and they are now turning to Perry as a possible new alternative to the two terrible choices with which they’ve left themselves. This week, establishment Republicans like Bill Kristol and Tom Coburn floated Perry’s name as a possible brokered convention alternative, or as a possibility for a third-party run. Indeed, things have gotten so bad that Republicans are desperately turning back to a guy whose first two campaigns flamed out spectacularly — the second time around, Rick Perry couldn’t even make it to the first primary vote. But given the prospect of Donald Trump as their nominee, Republicans are getting desperate for whatever scraps they can get.
Sadly for them, Rick Perry himself definitively shut down speculation of a third-party run this week on MSNBC (and not just because adding another party to the race is beyond his mathematical abilities). Watch the clip below:
So a third-party run is out. But what about stepping in at a brokered convention? Some, like the Houston Chronicle’s Brian Rosenthal, think that Perry’s answer was worded in a way that perhaps left the possibility open:
— Brian M. Rosenthal (@brianmrosenthal) March 21, 2016
“At this particular time,” Perry thinks he’s serving his country best by helping Ted Cruz. (TBH, he probably is, because a Cruz-led ticket would be so unelectable that it would be crushed by both Bernie and Hillary.) But that does leave the door open to a future time, when helping Cruz could no longer be the best way for Perry to serve his country. Is that at a brokered convention? Probably not, but with the way this Republican presidential race has played out, who even knows anymore? The sad thing is that Republicans have dug themselves into so deep a hole that Rick Perry seems like an attractive option for them to get out. If Rick Perry couldn’t stop Trump last summer, why would he be able to now? Seems like the GOP is so desperate that logic, always a weak presence in their party, is now completely gone.
Of course, Perry may just have been referring to the time when he will have to accept the inevitable and embrace Donald Trump as the standard-bearer of the Republican party, as he promised to do in the MSNBC clip. You know, the guy he once called a “barking carnival act.” That carnival act is now the GOP’s frontrunner for the presidential nomination. And it is looking increasingly like no one, not even Rick Perry, can stop him.