With reports today that Rick Perry is exiting the presidential race, we thought it was fitting to look back on the efforts to draft Perry into the race and anoint his candidacy. Right Wing Watch closely followed Perry’s claim that he was working to return America to God, whom he claimed sent storms to keep him in Texas and was using the economic crisis to bring America to “bring us back to those biblical principles.”
Last July, Religious Right leaders gathered in Texas to push Perry into the presidential race, hoping the Texas Governor would be the more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. One month later Perry hosted a prayer rally, The Response, which featured Religious Right leaders like James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Jim Garlow, Don Wildmon, Penny Nance, David Barton, and John Hagee, along with New Apostolic Reformation figures such as Mike Bickle, Alice Patterson, Doug Stringer, Cindy Jacobs, and John Benefiel.
Everything was falling into place for Perry, who announced his bid one week after The Response, and Religious Right activists were already talking up Perry’s supernatural gifts. Pat Robertson said that Perry successfully “founded his administration on the Bible,” Jerry Falwell Jr. thought he was the second coming of Ronald Reagan, Tom Schlueter called Perry an answer to his prayer that “one of our political leaders will rise up” to bring the nation back to God and Lou Engle even said that God so approved Perry’s presidential campaign that the day he announced his candidacy God sent rain to Texas to alleviate the state’s drought:
Even ‘prophet’ Cindy Jacobs got in the mix, saying that Perry’s The Response finally broke the curse of Native American cannibals:
Perry’s campaign also bolstered claims that God was telling him to run for president.
While campaigning in South Carolina, Anita Perry compared her husband to Gideon and said that like with Gideon’s fleece, God was telling Perry to run for president. “God was already speaking to me” but and “other people too,” but Perry only understood the message until he “threw that fleece out there twice to make sure it came back with what he needed to do.”
Perry himself even told Janet Mefferd that “God sends messages through a lot of ways and through a lot of messengers,” who were all telling him to run for president:
This entire, organic buildup of people who’ve basically said for whatever reason we’re not comfortable with the host of people who have come forward who say they want to be the next president of the United States and we look at your record, and we look at you and we want you to this. It’s been an incredible outpouring. I can tell you, that has given me the calmness in my soul that God sends messages through a lot of ways and through a lot of messengers, and I am very calm that the direction that I’m heading is good.
But alas, even though God was purportedly calling on Perry to run for president, Religious Right leaders have abandoned him for Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and all Perry could manage were 5th and 6th place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively, and one hell of a bad debate performance.