Just as Jon Huntsman saw the writing on the wall, I think it is finally time for Rick Perry to call it a campaign. I have nothing against Perry and I think politically he is a true conservative, one that I would have supported wholeheartedly if he were nominated. Unfortunately, he has made so many gaffes that George W. Bush looks like Benjamin Franklin by comparison. Perry just really blew his chance to win. He only came in at #5 in Iowa, #6 (with an abysmal 0.7%) in New Hampshire and is polling dead last (#5) in South Carolina. His situation is so hopeless now that it appears he would only come in at #3 in Texas, the state where he is currently the sitting Governor! Even the group calling themselves Evangelicals for Perry has officially jumped ship (and smartly endorsed Newt). What exactly is Perry's path to the nomination right now? Does he even have one? I really don't think so unless Gingrich and Santorum catch the ebola virus.
Some would probably argue that given that Perry is so low in the polls (~6% in SC, and ~7% nationally) that dropping out of the race won't make a difference. I would argue that given Iowa was decided by 8 votes on caucus night, that every vote counts and that right now Perry is only helping Romney get the nomination. In that Texas poll from PPP which I mention above, Romney would actually win Texas (by 1% over Newt) because the conservative vote is split so badly. And don't you think that after Gingrich's stellar performance last night that the polls in South Carolina might tighten? The 2-4% net gain that Gingrich would probably experience if Perry were to drop out (and hopefully endorse Newt, who wrote the foreword to Perry's book) could be enough to get him over the top and make this a race again. Also, Perry has some very strong financial backers who have probably held back financial assistance to other candidates in order not to insult him. That support would be unlocked if Perry were to finally drop out.
I know it is hard for any competitive individual, especially one who historically has been as successful as Perry, to quit anything. If Perry is anything, he is tenacious. But he really needs to quit the race, for the good of the country and for the conservative ideals he espouses. Unless of course he does want Romney to gain the nomination (something I don't believe is true given their very sharp exchanges during the various debates).