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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rick Perry's Path to Victory

(Editor's note: This post will be the first in a six-part series between now and next Saturday's South Carolina Primary. Each part will examine how each candidate might pull off a nomination.)

On August 27, you wake up out of a 30-week coma. Incredibly, you've retained all of your faculties. You put CNN on your hospital room's television to see what you've missed. You see its hosts at the Republican National Convention, getting ready for Day One. You see Anderson Cooper, the silver fox, staring at you with his miraculous blue eyes, and you don't quite believe the last four words out his mouth, spoken so confidently and without surprise. It's not until gnomish Wolf Blitzer confirms Cooper's matter-of-fact revelation that you believe it could actually be true. Somewhere, in the 30 weeks since January 14, the Governor of Texas became . . .

" . . . presumptive nominee, Rick Perry."

"How did this happen?!" you yell at your gorgeous brunette nurse during your subsequent bath.

"Well, I'll tell you," she seductively replies. "It all started when..."

Mitt Romney didn't have the Republican nomination in the bag after his narrow Iowa victory. He was out-raising everybody. He had a national lead in the polls. His SuperPAC was relentlessly negative against his chief rival, Newt Gingrich. He was airing ads in future states as nearly every other candidate was forced to live off the land. It seemed inevitable.

When he won the New Hampshire Primary on January 10, he moved to 2-0 after the first two primaries. But was the Republican Party satisfied? Not at all. They continued to be skeptical. They wanted their conservative alternative. In search for one, they had gone through the cycle of Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Gingrich, and most recently, Rick Santorum. Some even thought Jon Huntsman was on deck, but that never really took. Santorum's surge in Iowa was supposed to make him the one, but he never quite had the staying power. Romney's nominated seemed inevitable. Even the now enormously popular Presidential Politics for America thought Romney might even win all fifty states of the Republican Primary.

But he didn't. In South Carolina and beyond, the conservative base turned to the only candidate that they felt could compete with Mitt Romney across the nation. That candidate was Rick Perry.

You cough and hack the bath water after your attempted self-drowning was thwarted by the nurse and her buxom blonde colleague whom she called for help. "Rick Perry?! 'OOPS' Rick Perry? 'Kim Jong The Second' Rick Perry? 'I don't know anything about one-third of the US government's branches' RICK PERRY?! Blub blub blub."

Once again they pull your head out of the bath, pick up their sponges, and explain.

He just seemed to be this perfect candidate for the Republicans. He was this chief executive of a huge state that added jobs during a recession. He believed in conservative values. He talked tough. He hunted. He wore such relaxed clothing in his commercials. This guy was in their conservative wheel house.

But most importantly, he had campaign funds. Romney had raised the most amount of money, but Perry raise the second most. He even outraised Ron Paul and his fanatical base by millions of dollars. He far outpaced conservative alternatives Gingrich and Santorum. The conservative base simply realized that if anyone was going to take down Mitt Romney, it had to be the guy with money. It had to be Governor Rick Perry.

So in South Carolina, he placed third. In Florida, he placed second. One by one, the underfunded Gingrich, Santorum, and Jon Huntsman dropped out. No more mainstream conservatives left.

Except Rick Perry.

In the month after Florida, a conservative axis steadily coalesced around the Texas Governor. By Super Tuesday, Perry and Romney were not only neck and neck in the national polls, but they were neck and neck in fundraising. Romney continued to lose momentum throughout the month of March. By the end of April, it was over. He conceded. Rick Perry was the presumptive nominee.

Of course, Romney, at the end of his political career, positioned himself to be the VP choice. When asked who would be his vice-presidential nominee, however, Perry responded with, "Well, I have three people in mind. There's Marco Rubio, Jon Huntsman, and, um, who was that guy that was leading most of the time? I can't remember. Oops."

And that's how Rick Perry became the Republican nominee for President.

At this point, the two nurses help you back into bed. You ask for a computer. They buzz a colleague, and a beautiful redhead walks into the room with a laptop. "Ladies, can you get out of my hair please? I need to catch up on presidential politics." They walk out. You turn off Anderson Cooper and you google "Presidential Politics for America."

"Much better."

(Editor's note: This was the first in a six-part series on each candidate before the South Carolina Primary. Also, don't forget, I've been picked up by Construction online magazine and will write once a week for them with my friend and colleague, Stephen Kurczy. My first column ran yesterday. I hope to see you over there.)

4 comments:

RA said...

Wow, Very funny.

Anonymous said...

Yea, very funny, but only if it doesn't become true. Aside from the nurses. They can come true.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the nurses and the insight. Would it be too audacious to hope Perry's Obama's opposition?

IC said...

Thank you, R, and Anon 1!

Democrats should be careful what they wish for, no matter who the nominee. The election could very well be more about the President and economy, leaving the Republican nominee--whomever it might be--rather inconsequential.

But it's much too soon to talk about the general.

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