Rick Perry was really supposed to be the last one in the pool for the GOP nomination next year, but apparently he isn’t. The Texas governor was supposed to show the GOP how to be run against Obama, instead it simply led to speculation that others would soon be joining the fray. The fact that rumors of political runs from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie or Rep. Paul Ryan (D-Wis.) resurfaced after Gov. Perry entered the race says that Republican insiders still think this is a pretty weak field. If Rick Perry was supposed to be the 300-pound gorilla, why are all of these chimps showing up at the last minute? Rep. Ryan announced today that he was not running, but just the fact he had to make that denial is proof that Perry’s entry was somewhat of a disappointment for those who expected him to be the beginning of the end.
This goes back to the spring months when this election was still in flux. Several prominent Republicans, and people who might actually have a chance, all either bowed out early or blew their chances. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said no, and Mike Huckabee wanted some of that Fox money instead. Jeb Bush knew that he’d get laughed off the stage for even thinking about it. The hot new GOP governors had quickly soured on their constituents in Ohio, Michigan and Florida, and didn’t think they’d be able to pull it off either. Mind you all of these potentials dropped out in May when Obama was doing better than he is now. So what does that tell you?
The Republican Party isn’t suffering from a lack of candidates. Their best candidates obviously have come to a sobering conclusion. They must believe that Obama is going to be tough to beat in 2012 despite his poor numbers and the lousy economy. If no one is chomping at the bit to come wipe the floor with this motley crew of candidates, it’s not because they’re intimidated by the GOP field, but the guy they’ll have to face afterwards.
This article originally appeared in Loop21.com under the headline “Where’s the GOP’s Great White Hope?”