Texas Gov. Rick Perry is frequently compared to George W. Bush, a fellow Republican Texas governor who went on to serve two undistinguished terms as president of the United States. But that's a grave insult to Bush. Perry, who dropped out of the GOP presidential race Thursday, is far more divisive, inarticulate, insular and insensitive than Bush ever was, which is why his departure from the national political scene is good news for everybody but late-night comedians.
But it's better for one man than anybody else: Newt Gingrich. The former speaker of the House has been surging in the polls recently, and on his way out the door Perry threw his support to Gingrich, calling him "a conservative visionary who can transform our country." That's pretty much in line with the way Gingrich describes himself, pointing out at every opportunity that he is the only one who can beat President Obama in November. "I don't want to bloody his nose," Gingrich told supporters in South Carolina on Tuesday. "I want to knock him out."
Unfortunately for Gingrich, polls show that voters don't have quite as high an opinion of the former history professor as he does. A CBS/New York Times poll of registered voters out Wednesday shows that in a matchup between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the candidates would tie at 45% of the vote, whereas Obama would crush Gingrich, 50% vs. 39%. That's similar to the results of a poll by the Angus Reid Public Opinion company released Thursday, which showed Romney beating Obama by 2 percentage points, while Obama would bloody Gingrich's nose by 17 points.