Now that, as Eli reported, Rick Perry has dropped out and endorsed Newt Gingrich, he's been replaced by a flock of question marks. Perry will never again figure into national elected politics—nobody's going to fire up the Perry 2016 bandwagon after this dismal run, and nobody likes him enough to make him, say, Attorney General in a Republican administration—and so his legacy is practically nonexistent. But he still thinks he has his dignity, the poor dear, which means he's never going to be able to explain in graphic detail what the hell happened to his campaign. Which is too bad, because I have so many questions I want to ask him. For example:
What the hell happened at this speech? Was it pain meds, alcohol, an incredibly flamboyant evil twin, or what?
At his final debate, did Perry mean to provoke the crowd into declaring The Civil War, Part II? Was he intentionally trying to create a diplomatic disaster between the United States and Turkey? Were those some sort of last-ditch effort to sieze the crazy wing of the Republican Party? Did the Perry team think there are enough fringe crazies in the party to push someone to the nomination?
Rick Perry is gay, isn't he?
What the hell was that semi-teary speech after the Iowa caucus results came in, where Perry said he was going back to Texas to "reassess" his campaign? And what was up with the Twitter announcement he was still in? Rumor has it that Perry saw some South Carolina polling information that convinced him to stay in the race. What could have possibly been on that piece of paper that would convince him to drag his already-failed campaign through the gutter the way he did?
Who told Perry that, after his big "Oops" moment, the appropriate response was to spend four solid weeks making jokes about how dumb he is?
Unless a particularly well-informed aide decides to release a bridge-burning memoir, we'll never know the answers to any of these questions. We only have the facts. And the fact is, this was one of the worst political campaigns in recent memory. Even compared to the disastrous Thompson and Giuliani campaigns of 2004, the Perry run was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. There were literally no right moves made by Rick Perry's campaign at any point during this race. Before he officially jumped in, Perry was the frontrunner, and from his announcement forward, he lost support at a steady pace until he finally, painfully bottomed out. What a maroon. What a jackass. What an enormous, airy question mark of a man.