Rick Perry is out of the GOP presidential race. But quite frankly, he was out of the race the night of his “Oops moment” in Michigan. All he did today was make it official.
The Brody File has said all along that the moment Perry got into this contest it was his race to lose...and he did an excellent job of doing just that. The "Oy Vey" campaign has ended. Mercifully.
There are a few lessons to be learned in the failed candidacy of Rick Perry. First of all, it doesn’t matter how many boxes you check (and Perry checked a lot of boxes) because if you can’t consistently articulate your message, you’ve got no chance. You only get a certain amount of times you can make mistakes on the campaign trail before a narrative begins to form about you. Perry was way over the limit on mistakes.
There’s another lesson that the media might be able to learn here about evangelicals as well. Just because Rick Perry wore Jesus on his sleeve and spoke like an evangelical didn’t mean he was going to get their vote. Evangelical voters are more sophisticated than that. They are looking for a strong, competent, well-rounded candidate who is electable and is solid on both the fiscal and social issues (not just the social issues).
Most evangelicals understood that while they liked Perry and would love to have him in their Bible study, he wasn’t ready for prime time. Simply put, he didn’t measure up. If Perry had minimized his verbal mistakes and appeared relatively coherent during his run, things may have turned out differently, especially among evangelical voters. Instead, evangelicals and the broader Republican base couldn’t stomach his ineptitude on the campaign trail.
The fact that Perry will endorse Newt will give the Gingrich candidacy a major boost. Some of Perry’s supporters may go over to Santorum but most will probably head over to Gingrich (especially because Perry is throwing his support Newt’s way).
In essence, what we’re starting to see now is a Romney/Gingrich two-man battle unfolding. If Gingrich can pull it out in South Carolina, then we really have a race on our hands. Remember, Gingrich got a bounce in the polls after Monday’s debate and now with Perry off the debate stage tonight in Charleston, that just gives Gingrich more airtime to flourish in an environment that he has been so good in. It could end up making a huge difference with just 48 hours to go.
If Romney wins South Carolina, we will watch to see how close Gingrich is if he comes in second. A strong, close second place means this race probably turns into a serious Romney/Gingrich fight in Florida with Newt making an all-out effort to stop Romney along the I-4 corridor.