AJR  Features
From AJR,   February/March 2012

The Liberal Media Strike Again!   

A Rick Perry fan blames the press for his candidate’s demise. Right. Thurs., January 19, 2012.

By Rem Rieder
Rem Rieder (rrieder@ajr.umd.edu) is AJR's editor and senior vice president.     

If there were a Pulitzer Prize for humor, it should go to one Katon Dawson.

Dawson, a former South Carolina Republican chairman and an ally of the star-crossed Rick Perry, trotted out a familiar villain to blame for the Texas governor's spectacularly unsuccessful quest for the GOP presidential nomination.

"We were," he told Slate's David Weigel as Perry dropped out of the race Thursday, "victims of a drive-by shooting by the liberal press."

As we all know, the press, both liberal and otherwise, has no shortage of things on its collective conscience.

But Perry's cringe-inducing flameout? Not so much.

Success, they say, has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. There was only one reason for Perry's crash and burn: Rick Perry. Perry simply turned out to be one of the worst, most ill-prepared candidates in recent memory.

Like a similarly overhyped Republican hopeful four years ago, Fred Thompson, Perry was regarded as a major contender when he entered the race in August. Poor Michele Bachmann had her one moment of glory when she won Iowa's Ames Straw Poll, but her triumph was quickly overshadowed by the great man's emergence.

However, like Thompson four years before, the Texas governor quickly proved, as they say in his home state, to be all hat and no cattle. In fact, he made Fred Thompson look like Ronald Reagan.

Perry instantly established himself as the frontrunner in the mercurial GOP contest. But it took little time for him to fall apart. He was lethargic at best in debates. He was a gaffe machine, never more so than when he couldn't think of the third federal agency he wanted to abolish. Not to mention the New Hampshire appearance when he seemed to be really goofy, really drunk – or both.

Perry appeared to be on the verge of quitting two weeks ago, then did a rapid about-face. Now he's done the deed. Just as well. If this had been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight.

So when the next federal indictment of the liberal media comes down, don't expect mistreating Rick Perry to be one of the overt acts. Besides, with its wooly headed love of gun control, it's doubtful the liberal press would be all that effective in the drive-by shooting game.