It was a classic story of the cruelty implicit in the American dream: Rick Perry, born son of struggling ranchers and once a serious contender for President, is now reduced to being the millionaire governor of Texas. His meteoric rise A) lasted about a week and B) only made his fall more vertiginous—and all for the simple crime of never knowing what he was doing. Perry has formally withdrawn his candidacy for the Republican nomination and, in one last act of electoral incompetence, instructed his followers to support Newt Gingrich. That’s like your dog running away and, as he goes, suggesting that you play fetch with the microwave. In a completely unrelated story, it turns out that Rick Santorum actually won Iowa.
I don’t know what happened, but Rick Santorum has somehow lost the New Hampshire primary. Given his landslide tie for victory in Iowa, I am forced to conclude that some sort of irregularity or even a natural disaster prevented people in New Hampshire from voting. Perhaps it relates to these reports I’ve been getting out of New England. It seems people out there have been succumbing to a kind of mass hysteria—Romneymania, they call it—in which registered Republicans suffer a Romnomaniacal episode and, you know, give up.
The face of his sons says it all: Mitt Romney technically won the Iowa caucuses. He got it by eight votes. It was a victory clutched in the snatch of defeat, since the real winner—the guy who worked his black slacks off to accomplish what Romney did casually—was Rick Santorum. Now it’s his turn to be the GOP front-runner who runs second to Mitt Romney. Michele Bachmann has dropped out. Newt Gingrich was eaten by a big, poop-eating snake that thought he was a poop. And Ron Paul believes that you can’t have a caucus, because they’re unconstitutional. He came in third to Santorum, proving that you can always sell nihilism to the Republican Party.
Now that Combat! blog’s endorsement of Jon Huntsman has somehow failed to catapult him to front-runner status, we are forced to consider Rick Santorum. The former Senator and Very Good Boy from Pennsylvania is running third in the most recent Iowa poll, suggesting that he might conceivably win tomorrow’s caucuses. There is still no way he will become President. He won’t win the Republican nomination, either. The man who once compared gay marriage to sex with dogs and corpses will never win a national contest, for the historical reason that bigotry only works on the state level. And bigotry is Santorum’s whole damn raison d’etre.
You can tell a lot about a person by what they think will make you happy. If every time you fight with your husband he tries to give you a pretty necklace, yours may not be the relationship of mutual respect you want it to be. We’ve all known people whose attempts to please us are less nuanced than they think. Perhaps Rick Perry is no such cynical manipulator. Maybe he’s more like the aunt who took you to a Cubs game once and now sends you jerseys and Harry Caray biographies every Christmas. Whatever he’s up to, Perry decided this week that abortions shouldn’t be legal even in cases of rape or incest, then walked back his position to theoretically allow them when a woman’s life was at risk. He also produced his last campaign advertisement before the Iowa caucuses. Video after the jump.