You're the governor of a large state and you badly want to become president. In fact, you believe God has called upon you to pursue the office.
The incumbent president is on his heels, facing approval ratings of only 41 percent.
The opposition for your party's nomination looks weak. An ex-pizza salesman who has never held office; an aging libertarian; a former Massachusetts governor who's about as exciting as, well, a Mormon; a Minnesota congresswoman whose sanity has been questioned; a former House speaker whose time has long ago come and gone.
It looks like clear sailing. You've got money and you've got the national spotlight focused squarely on you.
And if you're Texas Gov. Rick Perry, you blow it. You fumble on the goal line. You dribble the ball off your foot.
You call Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," accuse Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of treason, call global warming a hoax and question President Obama's patriotism while expressing sympathy with Texans who want to secede from the Union.
Your immigration policies don't set well with conservatives who also are horrified that you signed legislation that would require vaccination among Texas schoolgirls for HPV.
Moderates question your position criticizing the federal government's right to collect income taxes and support for amending the Constitution to set a nationwide policy on social issues by prohibiting abortion and same-sex marriage.
And faster than you can say "adios, Rick," you find yourself in fifth place among Republican presidential candidates after leading the pack a month ago.
It's time to cowboy up.
So you decide to unveil your economic plan. And what is it? Why, the old flat tax saw that has been largely discredited as unworkable since the Reagan administration. But, hey, it's the basis for Herman Cain's goofy 9-9-9 plan so why not give it a try?
Your plan would set a flat rate of 20 per cent and eliminate estate and investment taxes, which should please the monied set. It also would restrict the federal budget to no more than 18 per cent of the gross domestic product, forcing drastic cuts in government spending at every level.
Your vision was analyzed by Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who told the New York Times: "There are two things we can say with certainty: It will lower revenue and be a great benefit to the wealthy."
It puts cuts to Medicare and Social Security into play, even though that will be a tough sell to an aging voter base.
And worse, every lobbyist from the Pacific to the Potomac would descend upon Washington to make sure the loopholes, dodges and favored treatment their clients receive under the current tax code would remain in place.
On the other hand, you have secured the blessings of Steve Forbes who thinks the flat tax is the answer to all our prayers. You remember Forbes. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination on the flat tax ticket in 1996 and 2000 and failed miserably. It might be an endorsement you want to forget.
Then, just as you're unveiling your economic plan, you tell an interviewer that there just might be something to this "birther" argument, the theory that President Obama was actually born in Africa and therefore is not an American citizen and ineligible to be president.
It's been dismissed as the delusional fantasy of the political lunatic fringe but, after conferring with your buddy Donald Trump, you decide to trot out the issue again.
Which caused GOP strategist Karl Rove to take you to the woodshed:
"You associate yourself with a nutty view like that, and you damage yourself. And I know he went and he's trying to cultivate -- as all of them are -- Donald Trump, in order to get his endorsement, but this is not the way to go about doing it, because it starts to marginalize you in the minds of some of the people whom you need in order to get the election," he said. "There's a simple answer. Yes, he was born in the United States, yes, he is eligible to serve, and don't associate yourself with sort of this nutty fringe group."
Unfortunately for you, Rick, that horse has already left the barn.
If your idea of revitalizing your campaign is to saddle up with Steve Forbes and Donald Trump, well then Gov. Perry, happy trails to you.
We won't be seeing you next fall.