I have been among the Democrats most bullish on Rick Perry’s odds of catching on with Republican primary voters. Even as Perry’s fortunes have faltered, I have cautioned over and over again that Perry’s not done. I’ve usually qualified my position with, “assuming Perry doesn’t screw himself up even more.”
Last night, Perry screwed himself up even more. Even Michelle Bachmann said she feels sorry for him. Let that sink in. Perry has become such a hopeless band nerd that the crazy girl who can’t get a prom date pities him.
Perry seemingly has everything going for him. He has a very good campaign team. He has the money to compete. He has the organization to sustain and capitalize on a lead. He also has a fourth thing, but I can’t remember what it is. Oops.
The only thing the Perry campaign is missing? A candidate.
Perry probably blew any possibility of the nomination last night, as he spectacularly screwed himself up in the CNBC debate. Granted, most Republican primary voters didn’t watch the debate, but the opinion leaders in the Republican Party did, and the gaffe clip will undoubtedly go viral, in that “Holy God in Heaven, what an embarrassment this clown is!” sort of way.
Perry’s campaign team will try to make the best of it, and they’re already into full-out crisis management mode. It will only serve to remind voters that Perry is a one-man federal disaster area that FEMA couldn’t even move in and mop up off the floor.
Presidential campaigns generally don’t quit until the money runs out, so I’m guessing we have several more weeks to either look on as Rick Perry further embarrasses himself and the State of Texas, or — and this is the longest of long shots — several more weeks as Perry’s campaign slowly fixes what Perry himself has broken.
But the Vegas odds fundamentally changed last night. Republican voters will feel they’ve given Rick Perry more than enough chances to prove himself. Instead, Perry has only succeeded in proving himself to be completely unqualified.