Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Perry Still In?

The news this morning is that Rick Perry, after going back to Texas to reassess his candidacy, is...staying in? That's what's apparently happening, according to multiple sources. I suppose it might even be true. On the other hand...no one says they're out until they're really out, and plenty of campaigns have pulled more sudden u-turns: I wouldn't be at all surprised if this reprieve lasts only 24 or 48 hours.

Why would a campaign do that? Well, if they really are trying to calculate their chances, then they would want potential donors and current supporters to believe that they're still in, for now. Drop this out there, and see if any money comes in over the next day or two. See, too, what their high-visibility supporters tell them. Until you're absolutely certain that you're dropping out, there's no reason to even hint at it. So they might just be making one last bluff.

And even if Perry and his staff believe they're going to stay in, that's still no guarantee that they'll still believe that after a couple of days.

So I only know what I read, but I just wouldn't take claims that he's staying in at face value.

16 comments:

  1. Genuine question (I know little about how campaign finances work): Is it possible that they crunched some numbers, realized they're deeply in debt, and this is a ploy to haul in cash from die-hards?

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  2. This may be tinfoil hat material, but you could imagine that Perry was asked by someone friendly to Romney to stay in the race on a pro forma basis for a few more days to disrupt Santorum's efforts to corral Perry's followers for NH.

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  3. There is another compelling reason: Movement conservatives are meeting in Texas this weekend to choose a "non-Romney" to back. James Dobson, Don Wilmon and Gary Bauer sent emails Wednesday morning inviting conservative leaders.

    Word of that meeting would be enough to keep Perry in until he sees if he can get that endorsement.

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  4. alkali:

    The only problem with that theory is Perry doesn't have any supporters in NH.

    If Perry still has some $$$ in the bank, I don't see why he doesn't take a shot at SC, although that arguably helps Romney by splitting the field a la McCain in 2008.

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  5. Perry has a good pitch to those unreconciled to a Romney nomination, namely that Rick Santorum probably can't stop Mitt Romney, and would be a suicidal general election nominee in the improbable event that he can. If Santorum is the nominee, then the election is not about the economy and thus it's game over.

    Also it would be pretty funny if the much-ballyhooed 'winnowing' function of the Iowa Republican caucus turns out to winnow no one but Michele Bachmann.

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  6. @Brenton - I'm no expert on campaign finances, but IIRC from Sarah Palin's extended 2012 campaign tease, there was very little constraint on the money she raised while "undecided", and there's a famous Daily Show skit skewering her for expenditures in the final months before she confirmed the inevitable.

    Longwinded way of saying there's potentially a wide range of ways Perry can use any influx of "please please don't quit" money over the next little while.

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  7. It's obvious why Perry is staying in. He reads this blog, and knows he's the only plausible alternative to Romney.

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  8. Movement conservatives are meeting in Texas this weekend to choose a "non-Romney" to back. James Dobson, Don Wilmon and Gary Bauer sent emails Wednesday morning inviting conservative leaders.

    Thanks for that information, Brent. If Perry stays in, this strikes me as the most likely reason. But, wow, what a strategic error on the part of these guys. To me, this is one of the big stories of this cycle so far. If Christian Right leaders didn't want Romney, they needed to be backing an alternative before the voting started, and it was always clear that Perry was the most plausible. Why have they waited until now? Geniuses.

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  9. The idea that Perry could still win South Carolina is highly improbable, but not impossible. Santorum could be shunted aside as all previous right-wing challenger's to Mitt's throne have been. Still, his continuing presence in the race probably speaks more to ego than anything else.

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  10. Jeff,

    According to Politico, many of the same people did meet "in secret session" with Perry last summer. I guess it just didn't work for them. (Of course, Politico doesn't specifically mention whether they had similar meetings with any other candidates.)

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  11. Scott, that's also interesting news. I wonder if they're now seeing how bad a miscalculation this was, hence the upcoming meeting. If they promptly united behind Perry now, I think he still has a chance.

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  12. @Jeff - Was it really a miscalculation? Perry fell to earth in those Iowa cornfields with quite a thud, and due to his own incompetence.

    The basic problem for Republicans who don't like Romney is that they have not been able to come up with anyone who doesn't look like road kill just waiting for Obama's truck wheels.

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  13. I think Perry would make a good President and if his debating skills would have been better I think he would have faired out better and if the news media wouldn't be pushing Romney down our throats as the candidate like they did for Obama, I think things would be much different in the polls, I do know this Iowa shouldn't be the voice for the whole nation

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  14. I wouldn't believe anyone thinks Rick Perry is a serious candidate after his debate performances, but some do. I just think he's a clown (and have the perfect picture to illustrate it here). Sorry, but just had to share.

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  15. There is no way that Perry can stay in for any length of time. Maybe till south carolina. Maybe he's setting up for 2016 and needs to at least look like he could be plausible for that run. I still say he should just step down and get the the board game version of running for president as a consolation prize. He was just sad.

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  16. Was it really a miscalculation? Perry fell to earth in those Iowa cornfields with quite a thud, and due to his own incompetence.

    He did indeed. But in my view that's in large part because nobody was backstopping him. If a chorus of Christian Right surrogates had been out there talking him up, the gaffes would have seemed less important. A team of experienced people who wanted him to win could also have made sure he was better prepped. I've coached students on debating and public speaking, and it's not that hard for people to improve. Presidential debates in particular aren't really debates anyway, they're more like joint press conferences. There have been other candidates who started out bad at them and learned enough to at least get by.

    Of course, I think a Perry presidency would be a disaster for the US. But I'm looking at this from the viewpoint of Christian right leaders. What were they doing, waiting around for Sarah Palin? They obviously don't want Romney, so they needed to promote somebody else before it was too late. It will be interesting to see what happens at this upcoming meeting; if we get a Perry endorsement, we'll know why he chose to stay in: because these guys saw the error of their ways and spent last night belatedly making some phone calls.

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