Following much thoughtful consternation, I have decided to pull my support and endorsement of Texas Governor Rick Perry for the GOP presidential nomination. I realize the redstate diary commenters, won’t be kind but this needs to be said. This decision wasn’t easy but a serious evaluation of the field should inform us that Rick Perry has no realistic path to victory in South Carolina, Florida and beyond.
I realize that redstate.com’s Erick Erickson continues to stick by him, that South Carolina is Perry’s state and that he has re-tooled his staff. But it is too little too late and at this point, Mitt Romney is all but certain to capture this nomination. I realize that he is one of the only smaller government conservatives in this race, but he has blown this race through his own actions and we can no longer help him.
I have been an ardent Perry supporter. On griffinelection.com, we have over 35 positive pro-Perry-for-President articles. But no matter how much we have tried to help Perry from the grassroots up, his campaign staff has been plagued with incompetency and Perry himself let us all down with his terrible debate performances.
The truth is that, this race was never about Rick Perry the person, we got behind him because he was the only candidate that had governed a state successfully and was also a strong advocate for smaller government. But his time is gone. Outside of the conservative blogosphere echo chamber, there is almost no support for Perry. As intelligent political thinkers we need to know when to fight and when to live to fight another day.
I chose Perry because I thought his bravado, record as a job creator and social conservative views would be the ultimate contrast to President Obama. Unfortunately, he has instead seemed aloof, asleep and shallow in debates. I above all people, hate to admit it, but neither Perry nor his team were ready for prime time. In fact, none of the campaigns, save Romney have been ready — but others have survived.
Perry was the ultimate Christian leader who held open prayer in Texas and held socially conservative views on almost every issue came in fifth place in Christian Iowa. In all honesty, he should have displayed the same responsibility that Ms. Bachmann displayed in bowing out then. Now, Perry goes limping into South Carolina even more injured.
He received 1% in New Hampshire last night.
But it isn’t simply his past failures that have brought me to this point. It Perry’s dismal chances of future success that has forced us to embrace someone new. Perry is polling at 5% support in South Carolina, his strongest state, his “last stand” state, the state where he announced he would run. I love Governor Perry. I wish he had never had the “oops” minute, but he is now polling at fifth place in South Carolina without any momentum at his back. With less than two weeks to go and a six person race, Perry simply has no chance to make a comeback this late in the game.
Even if Perry had a strong uptick in support, it wouldn’t be enough to slay Romney who is receiving over 30% of support in South Carolina. There is simply no alternative.
So, what candidate should voters support if they don’t support the candidate who is:
The father of universal healthcare and the individual mandate in America, the father of Gay Marriage in America, a candidate that supported abortion his entire career and still doesn’t think Roe v. Wade should be reversed. If you think gun rights are protected under the Second Amendment and that Ronald Reagan was the best modern day president, who do you go with? Certainly not Mitt Romney, he opposes your views.
There is only three other guys – Huntsman, Santorum and Gingrich.
Jon Huntsman had an above average night in New Hampshire last night, but losing to Ron Paul in his “must-win” state isn’t going to raise him above 3% support in South Carolina.
That leaves two. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are the guys left standing going into South Carolina.
They both bested Perry in Iowa and New Hampshire. They are both getting the necessary press time. And in South Carolina, they are both receiving 20% support. Rick Perry is receiving 5%. If that 5% could go to either of these candidates, we would have someone who could compete with Romney’s 30%.
Let me reiterate, that this isn’t a normal race. If there is one clear alterative to Romney, that person can rise from the ashes and still win this thing. There has never been such a weak yet inevitable frontrunner in modern American politics. Because of this Romney will lose in November. The voters who stayed home in 2000 after learning of Bush’s DUI, aren’t going to vote for a pro-abort, individual mandate, Massachusetts Moderate. Romney will campaign without a passionate base. Sure, our leaders from elected officials to tv personalities will get in line, but many conservative voters still think for themselves and won’t. So anyone interested in winning should consider alternatives.
Overall, the base is just to unenthused about Romney to give him the nomination this early. His delegate count is still very low. We need to make this a fight. After South Carolina we have Florida, where Rick Perry is garnering 4.5% support from likely voters compared with 20% apiece with Santorum and Gingrich.
I ask that all Rick Perry supporters in South Carolina and Florida join me in leading. Please make the difficult decision to back a new candidate that can actually beat Mitt Romney.
Santorum and Gingrich are both infinitely better than Romney and a two-man race will make it easier for a victor to emerge. Over half of us are against Romney, imagine what we could do if we could unite under the umbrella of conservatism. There is still time.