Texas Gov. Rick Perry enjoyed one month as the heartthrob of the Republican Party. He announced his presidential bid on August 13, overshadowing Rep. Michele Bachmann’s narrow victory over Rep. Ron Paul in the Ames Straw Poll. By September 15, a Bloomberg National Poll showed him leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Eastern establishment candidate, 26 to 22 percent among GOP primary voters.
Then on September 24, he lost the Florida straw poll, 37 to 15 percent, to Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza magnate and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. On October 8, he was wiped out in the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. Garnering just 8 percent, he finished far behind Paul at 37 percent, Cain at 23 percent, and even former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 16 percent.
Granted, these straw polls and other national polls mainly show the intensity of support and a candidate’s organizational ability. The choosing of actual delegates doesn’t begin until the Iowa caucuses on February 6 (which could be moved to January 3).
What happened? Seemingly, Perry did everything right. He presided over the state that created 40 percent of the new jobs in America in recent years (although almost all the new jobs went to immigrants, legal and illegal). He kept taxes low, with no state income tax. He’s...