We finally found the ideal candidate to beat Rick Perry, and it turns out to be ... Rick Perry. After winning every single election since 1984, Rick Perry finally lost one in Iowa. Others may cite Perry's late entrance into the race, his recent back surgery, or the relative weakness of his Democratic opposition in Texas for his prairie flameout, but Rick Perry has no one to blame but himself.
Every politician has a fatal flaw. Bill Clinton never quenched an appetite to please while in office, and George W. Bush never stopped trying to one-up his father. It's too early to identify Barack Obama's Achilles heel, but we can safely end this therapy session with a definitive diagnosis for the Texas Governor: hubris.
Hubris helped this son of a dirt farmer become the most powerful governor in Texas history. But it also drove him to impose a hybrid vision of unregulated private enterprise and unrestrained religious dogma upon state government without regard to the real world consequences.
Perry's untethered arrogance is the only logical explanation for how a skilled politician flopped so badly as a presidential candidate. In Texas, his campaign team innovated new ways of polling and imposed a scientific rigor on paid communication unheard of at the state level. Strategically, his campaigns minimized risk and but were bold in seizing opportunity where others saw threats. In 2006, he turned a backlash on lax immigration policies into a talking point on border security. In 2009, he came from way behind against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by co-opting the Tea Party movement when no other politician would go near it.
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