Let Him Run His Race: A Message to the Perry Posse

[Cross-posted from my blog at http://formidablecourage.wordpress.com/]

I’m laughing here with joy and relief because I was writing an entire defiant post about how I’d stick with Governor Rick Perry until/unless he dropped out. Well, turns out I was halfway through it and all of a sudden I see this tweet from Governor Perry:

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State…Here we come South Carolina!!!”

And so I got just a little taste of how the Filipinos must have felt, in 1945, when they heard the strong voice of General Douglas MacArthur over their radios: “People of the Philippines: I have returned!”

Last night was definitely a bummer: Governor Perry came in fifth place in Iowa. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t woken up this morning, checked Twitter, and discovered there was talk of him dropping out. I felt like I’d been hit with a ton of bricks. Governor Perry–Rick Perry, a fighting Texan–dropping out? Just because he didn’t win one state–a state that has an infamous reputation for picking losers?! It seemed unfathomable.

Praise God, it was unfathomable, and Governor Perry is pressing on. And here’s why I think he can rebound after his loss in Iowa last night (his first loss in his entire career, by the way):

1. Iowa is only one state out of forty-nine. It’s the first mile of the marathon. Moreover, Iowa has a pretty bad track record of “picking” the nominee. Ronald Reagan lost Iowa in 1980…and went on to be the nominee. George H.W. Bush lost Iowa in 1988…and went on to be the nominee. John McCain came in a dismal fourth in 2008…and went on to be the nominee. Rick Perry came in fifth with 11%, one point behind John McCain’s 12%. Who’s to say the race is over for Perry?

2. Take a good, hard look at the list of candidates in Iowa. Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, Huntsman. Now think about it.

Mitt Romney may have won, but his victory was very, very weak. He squeaked past Santorum with only a few votes and still didn’t break past 25% (that will be a joke amongst future Americans, I have no doubt).

Rick Santorum is, I’m sure, a very sweet, caring man. As a homeschool dad and father of a large family, he’s always held some degree of respect from me and my own large family. But he’s NOT a fiscal conservative and his Washington-insider, big-spending record will be his ultimate downfall. Moreover, Santorum has little money in the bank and he probably has very little appeal outside of Iowa. At least, we haven’t seen any appeal outside of Iowa. I’m leaving that open to change in the next few weeks, but I doubt we’ll see much more of the Santorum surge for this reason: he rivaled Romney. So he’ll get the same brutal treatment by the media that Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich all received.

Ron Paul. I’m still scratching my head where Ron Paul is concerned. I used to…well, admire many things about Ron Paul. I appreciated (and still do) his emphasis on Austrian economics vs. Keynesian economics. I appreciated (and still do) his passionate opposition to the Federal Reserve. But then there came that debate…you know, the one where he started talking about letting Iran have nukes and was practically shouting at Michele Bachmann. I left that debate with a bad taste in my mouth and I’ve never gotten over it, especially after hearing about his newsletters and his opposition towards American intervention in the Holocaust.

Ron Paul, I’m sorry to say, no longer has any of my support. Of course, if President Perry could put him in charge of dismantling the Fed, I’d be the first cheering Paul on. But as far as presidential aspirations go, he may not have much support outside of Iowa and New Hampshire (especially in the Deep South), thanks to his more extreme views.

Newt Gingrich. Around the breakfast table this morning, we conceded that Newt Gingrich might be a (somewhat) viable alternative if Governor Perry dropped out. But like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich doesn’t have a ton of money and we’ve seen his popularity slowly sink. I do think he can pose a challenge to Mitt Romney, and may be more concerned with taking down Romney than winning himself. I expect to see him encourage a coalescing of support around one candidate within the next few weeks.

Rick Perry. The morning started out bleak. Now it’s about 11 A.M. my time (Central) and the entire world has become a brighter place. Rick Perry just showed that a loss in Iowa does not spell the end of his campaign. I do not expect him to win New Hampshire. But I DO hope, pray, and expect he can win South Carolina. I expect (with Michele Bachmann gone and Rick Santorum about to be eaten alive by the media) to see Perry move forward with his campaign and go for the grand prize of South Carolina. He’s far more likely to do well there than in Iowa anyway. If Perry has problems in South Carolina, then he’s got serious problems. But as a Southern governor (and South Carolinians are just about as Southern as you can get!) I expect him to turn on all his charm, wit, and passion. It’ll work. See how it worked on a young Southern girl like me?

Y’all know I love to compare Rick Perry to Secretariat, the horse who defied expectations and won the Triple Crown in 1973. Well, there’s a scene in the film Secretariat in which Eddie, the horse’s caretaker, stands before the as-yet empty stadium, just as the sun is rising. Secretariat, also known as “Big Red,” has just recovered from a painful abscess in his mouth which prevented him from eating. (I compare this to Perry’s back pains that prevented him from being on top of his ball game.) Confident in Secretariat’s ability to win the final race, Eddie shouts to the audience yet to come, “Big Red done ate all his breakfast, and you gonna see something you ain’t never even seen before!”

Well, I for one think we’re about to see something we haven’t ever seen before. Governor Perry is ready to fight for this; this loss in Iowa will spur him on to greater things. And I’m with him to the end.

“This is not about going back. This is about life being ahead of you and you run at it! Because you never know how far you can run unless you run!”–Penny Chenery, Secretariat