John Stemberger, former co-chairman of Rick Perry’s presidential campaign in Florida, tells National Review Online “it was just not meant for him to be president.” Although the governor is a “strong Christian man” and a “great American,” his downfall demonstrates a truth about American politics, Stemberger contends: “It doesn’t matter how much character and leadership ability you have, if you don’t have the ability to articulate a vision and be razor-sharp as a communicator, you can’t compete.”
To Perry’s decline, Stemberger attributes “the lack of preparation” and other “personal circumstances,” such as his back surgery. Perry also had a sparse debate-prep team: When Stemberger asked Perry adviser Dave Carney who was helping him prepare, the answer he received was “just us.” That answer “made me nervous,” Stemberger admits.
Stemberger now supports Rick Santorum. He believes Perry’s decision to drop out was “smart,” though endorsing Newt Gingrich “was not a good decision from my perspective.”
Asked about Santorum’s prospects, Stemberger responds, “Look, he was way down below [his opponents in] single digits until my counterpart Bob Vander Plaats endorsed him — that was not an expected decision. It obviously had a great impact and showed that evangelicals are a very significant, perhaps the most significant voting bloc that’s cohesive in a Republican primary.”
“If evangelicals speak with one voice, they can control the process,” Stemberger concludes.