As Rick Perry ignominiously departs the presidential race
and sheepishly returns to Texas, his oh-so-short campaign should serve as a humbling
reminder to those who prognosticate about politics. For when Perry burst on the
scene with an Aug. 13th announcement in South Carolina that
overshadowed the Iowa Straw Poll, no one foresaw that he would crash and burn
only 159 days later, not even making it to the South Carolina primary.
The experts inside the Republican Party, political analysts
and journalists were aware of potential pitfalls for Perry when he announced.
But they were all more impressed by his executive experience in Austin, his
ability to raise money, his influential backers and a jobs record he could
highlight in an election that all expected would be dominated by the economy.
Fueled by the high expectations and advance reviews, everything seemed to be
falling into place. Only ten days after his announcement, Gallup reported "Perry
Zooms to the Front of the Pack for 2012 GOP Nomination." He was beating
second-place Mitt Romney by 12 points, 29 to 17 percent.
But the collapse was almost as quick and agonizingly inexorable. Accusing the head of the Federal Reserve of treason; calling Social Security "a Ponzi scheme"; aligning himself with the already-discredited birthers. And all that long before that "oops" moment or any of his other missteps in the many debates.
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