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Tea Party Sees Perry as Only Horse Left in the Race

4 October 2011 6 Comments
Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie

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It should come as no surprise to anyone  who is following the Republicans’  contest  for the presidential nomination,  that ultra-conservative Governor Rick Perry‘s “star” has fallen almost as fast as it rose.   In fact, it seems as if Perry has set an all-time record for losing his political edge by falling off his horse before it even left the barn.  The governor’s rapid loss of support is reminiscent of  Fred Thompson‘s unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in 2008.  In Thompson’s case, he shot to near the top of the Republican pack of candidates, but immediately lost his popular  support as soon as he opened his mouth.  Pretty much the same thing can be said of Rick Perry.  No sooner had he been anointed by the ultra-conservative Tea Party faction as their new standard bearer, than he suggested turning Social Security over to the states, defended highly unpopular immigration policies,  supported mandatory STD inoculations for 9 year old girls, and was forced to spend time and energy defending himself against charges of racism.   Once Rick Perry had become publicly vetted, and the truth about his character and political cronyism were made public, his  support among the Republican faithful quickly began to fade.

According to the latest polls, Governor Perry’s popularity rating is  tied with Herman Cain at 14%,  and is now a full 7% behind Mitt Romney, who is once again the leading candidate among Republicans.  Even more troublesome for the Perry campaign are polling data that shows he is trailing Barack Obama by six percentage points, and the gap is widening.   Although there is still plenty of time left before the primaries begin in earnest in January 2012, the Perry campaign is clearly in big trouble.   Given the fact that Michelle Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Perry are all apparently unelectable due to a number of character flaws, what can the Tea Party do to get a “horse” back in the GOP race?  The answer to that question may be “absolutely nothing can be done”.

In a final act of desperation, the Tea Party movement tried to convince New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to throw his hat into the presidential campaign ring.  Governor Christie very wisely responded “no”.   With almost no other viable, ultra-conservative candidates on the horizon, the Tea Party  will now be forced to either hold their noses and flock back to the Perry campaign, or compromise their conservative ideology and move their support to Mitt Romney. Given their near  fanatical quest for ideological purity, it is most likely that ultra-conservatives will jump back on the Perry bandwagon, rather than support Mitt.  As damaged as the Perry campaign has become, the Tea Party and their ideological godfather, Rush Limbaugh, will do everything possible to block Romney’s nomination.  With no-where else to turn, the Tea Party will ensure that Rick Perry limps to the finish line.



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