Yes, I’m the person who thought he was going to get a solid 3rd place in Iowa, so what the fuck do I know? But seeing Perry screw up the what departments would you eliminate (h/t) question again I think he’s not in it to win it. I think the whole project is one of running for 2016.
Now hear me out: When he got into the race late, we all assumed he looked at that weak field, figured “all of these anti-Romneys are awful so it may as well be me.” But what if he saw that same weak field and thought, “there’s no heir apparent when Romeny loses, why not me?”
Now for this to work, you have to accept that the Republican party supports whoever it has felt it’s their time. This year it’s Romeny’s time because he lost to McCain in 2008. In 2008, it was McCain’s time because he lost to W. Bush in 2000. In 2000 it was Bush II’s time because the GOP will support a dynasty. Dole and Pops Bush had been VP nominees and thus it was their time when they were picked, etc.
That’s a bit esoteric, and not everybody buys it. But perhaps Perry looked at that crowd and thought Romney can fuck up in the general, and if I run and lose the nomination, I can be the next in line. Huntsman was never going to be next in line. Bachmann was never going to expand past her Tea Party base. Santorum and Gingrich left DC in disgrace, so it wasn’t going to be them.
And this actually explains a bit about the Perry campaign. The gaffs serve 2 functions: first they make sure he didn’t screw it up by winning this time. He doesn’t have the money or the organization to do his best in a general election, so he doesn’t want to win the primary and screw it up. It also sets the bar incredibly low next time. If he can count to 3, people will remark on how improved his 2016 version run is over 2012. It also explains why he ever went negative on Romney as fiercely as Newt. He doesn’t want to upset the insiders who support Romney this time around.
Of course, there are a few things that don’t fit. The most likely next in line is whoever Romney picks as VP. If it’s someone who can run successfully on their own, well, they’re the next in line. But, Palin, Cheney, Kemp, and Quayle haven’t run for President, so it’s not a given. The most likely answer to why he keeps screwing up may be as a friend of mine, a recent Austin transplant, explained to me, “he’s just dumb.”