MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – After finishing fifth in Iowa and sixth in New Hampshire, many have concluded that Rick Perry’s presidential aspirations are basically dead. On caucus night, it seemed like Perry was about to get out of the race, but by the next morning, he vowed to continue on and promptly headed to South Carolina.
Regardless of his struggles in Iowa, a number of Perry loyalists still believed that he was the only legitimate alternative to Mitt Romney. That mind set, combined with the race for the Republican nomination heading south, provided some hope for the Perry campaign, but it has never materialized. Not only have things not gotten better for Perry in South Carolina, he has begun talking about the Alamo when campaigning in the state.
Why Perry is comparing his campaign with the Alamo is beyond me. Texas lost the battle of the Alamo, but the gruesome tactics of the Mexican army spurred the Texans to seek revenge. At a prayer breakfast in Myrtle Beach on Sunday, Perry once again dedicated a significant portion of his remarks to his Alamo strategy.
Perry spoke about William Travis and James Bonham, two South Carolinians who played major roles at the Alamo. Perry recounted the story where Bonham was sent out to seek assistance from other Texas commanders. He had to penetrate the Mexican lines to return to tell Travis that there would be no reinforcements coming. Days later both Bonham and Travis died at the Alamo. Not exactly an inspiring story for a campaign on its last legs.
For Perry to be a factor in South Carolina, he needed reinforcements. On Saturday night, after 150 or so evangelical leaders who gathered in Texas decided to throw their support behind Rick Santorum. Perry now knows that the reinforcements he desperately needs won’t be coming.
Perry was greeted kindly at the Faith and Family Coalition prayer breakfast, but as soon as he was out of the room, author Eric Metaxas suggested that some candidates need to “hear from God” and get out of the race before Saturday’s primary. The remark was a clear shot at Perry, and maybe even Gingrich.
Then Ralph Reed took to the stage and declared, “I believe Rick Santorum is the most effective, conservative, pro-family legislator of this generation.” The audience then gave Santorum a standing ovation and hung on his every word.
Out of loyalty to William Travis, Bonham returned to the Alamo to deliver the bad news. Perry’s decision to solider on in South Carolina seems driven by loyalty to his southern evangelical roots. Like everybody else, Perry seems to understand what’s likely to happen to him in next Saturday’s primary. It’s clear that he plans to stay in and fight even though he is certain to lose. It seems like his loyalty to his campaign trumps any sort of rational thought.
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