Last Sunday, Rick Perry – the gaffe-prone governor of Texas – sat with Fox News’ Chris Wallace to try to reboot his wobbly presidential campaign. However, as the clock ticks towards January 3, the day when Iowa GOP caucus-goers will cast the first votes of the election season, the Lone Star governor faces the stark reality of his campaign crumbling and trailing frontrunner Mitt Romney and dark horse Herman Cain, even in his home state of Texas.
At this point, Perry’s presidential campaign is damaged beyond repair and no amount of “fundraising prowess” or “retailing politics” will fix it in time for the first votes to be cast. Perry’s indelible and never-ending gaffes, his painfully inconsistent and substance-free message, and his “bizarre” New Hampshire speech are killing the chances of the man who once stood as the Republican Party’s most viable anti-Romney candidate.
Perry’s problems started with the inconsistency of his campaign message. While Cain – an equally gaffe-prone unsubstantiated candidate himself – rode his catchy 9-9-9 tax plan all the way to the first-tier of the field, Perry went from the “Texas Miracle” to “Let’s Get America Working Again” to – most recently – “Live Free or Die” with a lack of discipline, specifics, and even grammar.
The Texas governor, who has called out Romney’s “inconsistency,” has some glaring flip-flops himself, most recently his decision to skip upcoming presidential debates. The debates – widely believed to be Perry’s “Waterloo” – have served as springboards for some of Perry’s most infamous blunders – such as when he said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s monetary policy was “treasonous,” described Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme,” and when he called fellow conservatives “heartless” for opposing free college tuition for illegal immigrants or HPV vaccines for 14-year-old girls.
But the gaffes are not limited to debates. Facing scrutiny from Fox News’ Wallace over his Forbes-backed optional flat tax plan (which would lower revenue by almost $5 trillion over the first six years), Perry declared “there’s nothing wrong with lower revenue” – as he tried to make the case for curbing what he believes is Washington D.C.’s spending binge.
And then is the bizarre (and viral) New Hampshire speech before the conservative group Cornerstone Action, which has already been labeled as Perry’s “Howard Dean moment” in reference to the former Democratic presidential candidate’s screaming media gaffe after a disappointing third place in the 2004 Democratic Iowa caucuses.
Numbers don’t lie and if Perry – whose approval rating remains stuck in the single digits without sign of reversing – is expected to spend the reported $55 million in attack ads while he keeps on floundering in the national stage, his would be the most expensive unsuccessful presidential bid in American history. He should reconsider and save our times as well as his donors' money.
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