Why Did Perry Get Into the Race, Really?

More

Republican consultants at loose ends and looking for work sold the Texas governor a bill of goods about his prospects

So I have this theory about why Gov. Rick Perry decided to run for president, despite what appeared to be his instincts telling him that the job just wasn't for him. There came a point late last Spring when, as you will recall, a number of Republicans who could have posed a challenge to Mitt Romney decided not to. Mitch Daniels's consultants no longer had a horse to ride.

Perry, I think, was sold a bill of goods. You're a governor of Texas, he was told. You have this incredible record on jobs. Romney is gonna get killed by health care and is so vulnerable. The other candidates are jokes. It's gonna be a lot easier than you think. You just have to let Romney self-destruct and you can roll. You can actually be president!

And that's basically what Perry did. He entered the race, dawdled, presented an economic plan late in the game, appeared to have no solid strategy, and thought he could coast. He didn't prepare himself for the discipline required of a modern presidential campaign.

I don't think Perry's consultants pushed him into the race just to make a buck. I legitimately think they thought that the race would be easy, and so the bar for Perry would be much lower than it turned out to be.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In