In what looks to be a metaphor for his campaign, Rick Perry got plenty of attention yesterday but it was only because Donald Trump was trolling him, and in the end it was a verbal gaffe by Perry that got more attention than his substantive response. Via The Hill:

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday gave a puzzling response to Donald Trump’s assertion that he is dropping out of the presidential race.

“You know, a broken clock is right once a day,” Perry told Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson.

The saying, typically used to describe someone who finally gets something right, is “a broken clock is right twice a day.”

“The bottom line is I’m still here and I’m still working and we need to be talking about solutions and not just rhetoric out there,” Perry later added.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said Thursday during a press conference in New York that Perry is “getting out of the race.”

“Perry attacked me; now he’s getting out of the race,” Trump said. “He was at 4 or 5 percent, now he’s getting out of the race, he was at zero.”

In recent weeks, Perry has suffered a series of body blows. Jack Shafer, writing in POLITICO, offers this brutal assessment:

Just how dead is Rick Perry’s presidential campaign? His fingers and toes have gone cold, he can no longer keep solid food down, and his gurling inhalations signal his imminent relocation to a hospice and not the White House. I kid. But not much. His presidential campaign, experiencing fundraising shortfalls, has stopped paying its staff, and they’re fleeing. Perry’s Iowa campaign co-chairs have exited to the Donald Trump and Rick Santorum campaigns, and his New Hampshire political director has defected to John Kasich. He has basically written off the New Hampshire primary, planning no future visits to the state, a sneaky way of conceding defeat five months out from that election. Thanks to the low, single-digit numbers he has recorded in the national polls, he remains relegated him to the under-watched undercard presidential debates, amplifying the stench of death that cloaks his campaign.

Perry does, however, enjoy leader status on one important tally—CNN’s “Political Prophesy“ site. It gives his campaign a 50 percent chance of being the first GOP campaign to end or suspend. For a frame of reference, his closest competitors in this sweepstakes, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum, each have a 9 percent chance of being the first to drop out.

This is far removed from a TIME magazine profile from 2013 titled Can Anyone Stop Rick Perry in 2016:

It looks like everything is aligned for Rick Perry to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

He’ll be a 14-year retired governor of a prosperous state with a long list of accomplishments following on a former Senator who has demonstrated difficulty managing the federal government. He can start his campaign early this time and has his back condition under control (so no pain, or painkillers). He’s run for president once before — a tried and true way to build name recognition. And there’s been a Texan on the ticket in six of the last 14 presidential cycles — and there were two in 1988. He’s a prodigious fundraiser, tapping into Texas wealth like no other.

The contrast between high expectations and sub-par performance has left the Perry campaign limping along, unable to live and also unable to die:

The thing about a zombie apocalypse is that no one sees it coming until it’s already upon us. It starts out with an experiment, usually benevolent by design: an attempt to cure a disease, or study a monkey, or help fund presidential candidates who can’t raise enough money on their own. But without warning, things take a turn for the worse.

Last week the public received reason to worry that a new epidemic is upon us. According to reports from National Journal, a respected publication in the field of politics, and later expounded upon by The Washington Post, former Texas governor Rick Perry was pronounced politically “undead.” His campaign had run out of money. He could no longer afford to pay his staff.

And yet, due to a relatively recent political experiment known as super PACs, Perry’s zombie campaign lurches forward. He may have no money, but there’s $17 million from super PACs propping him up. Like a brain that can no longer coordinate with its body, Perry has no control over how this money is spent. But just the promise of additional ground support and advertising has allowed Perry to survive.

 

It is difficult to see how Perry’s campaign remains alive even until the first votes are counted. Ultimately volunteers, no matter how motivated, have to eat. Without sufficient fundraising to pay for staff and infrastructure and legally prohibited from working with his Super PAC there doesn’t seem to be a way forward for him.

The one really big shame of the 2016 election year is that the GOP has more good candidates to choose from than it has had in last 6 or 7 presidential campaign combined. In 2008 and 2012 we were in the position of choosing the least putrid of an decomposing lot. I can’t begin to understand the reason the Perry campaign never caught on this year. To me he remains the best candidate in the entire field. But he was by far and away the best candidate in 2012, too. Right now Perry should seriously consider endorsing someone else and bow out gracefully while he still can.