How To Lose A Presidential Race by Rick Perry
Again, I didn’t watch the debate. I spent last night watching the usual MSNBC fair when Lawrence O’Donnell came on television with breaking news on how one of the candidates had a never seen before breakdown on stage. I was thinking it was Herman Cain who collapsed under the pressure of the sexual harassment allegations. But it wasn’t him. The conservative crowd is more than happy to support the man who might be a sexual predator with trouble respecting women. But that was just a guess. To be honest, I wouldn’t have been very surprised to see it happen to any of the conservative’s finest who appear so woefully misguided in their take on what is ailing the nation.
So I wasn’t really all that surprised to see that it was Texas Governor Rick Perry. But what was surprising is the way his mental shut down unraveled on the debate stage. Watching the recaps of Mr. Perry’s performance in last night’s Republican Party presidential debate is almost painful. It was as if he felt that the outtakes from all of his previous public speaking and debate engagements, performances some people have referred to as goofy, unprepared, and bizarre and made some people wonder if Mr. Perry was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, weren’t enough to disqualify him as a potential candidate and he made the choice to go over the top with an Alzheimer’s victim impersonation. The old man on the stage, seventy six years old Ron Paul, the man that probably invented the AARP, looked at Mr. Perry with a sympathetic expression as if to ask himself is this what dementia does to a person.
Mr. Perry was trying to name three government agencies he would cut if he was President. He was able to name the Department of Education and then the Commerce Department. But then Mr. Perry’s brain went on strike and he struggled futilely to remember the third agency. After several seconds Mitt Romney suggested the Environmental Protection Agency and Mr. Perry responded enthusiastically “that’s it”. But quickly said that wasn’t it and went back to stammering. It was a very un-presidential moment. Later, after the stage lights went down and the microphones were unplugged, Mr. Perry’s brain kicked back in and he told anybody who stayed around him long enough that the third agency was the Energy Department. I can just imagine the moment he remembered his third agency he reengaged his Texas swagger and stuck his chest out as if he accomplished something. Where’s Mitt Romney now?
Without exception everyone has an occasional moment of mental lapse where a word, a memory, or even an entire idea escapes the brain. I have to confess that I usually suffer several such instances on a daily basis. But in my defense, I have to say that I know my limitations and I don’t try to extend myself before them. Knowing my shortcomings I would never think I have the ability to be President of the United States. People should remember first and foremost, know thy limitations.
This morning I read the news and I saw that although Mr. Perry acknowledges his gaffe, he said that this one mistake would only humanize him but certainly would not tank his campaign for the presidency. If Mr. Perry has his way we will have even more opportunities to see how unfit Mr. Perry is for our country’s highest office.
When Mr. Perry burst on to the scene, to the dismay of Mr. Romney and the other candidates, he quickly skyrocketed to the top of the conservative charts. After just a couple of debate performances, Mr. Perry was struggling for relevancy, trying desperately to stay out of the “for President” cellar with Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty. Mr. Perry’s spectacular launch eventually turned into a spectacular dive which will end in an inevitable crash. Instead of pulling the escape hatch release, Mr. Perry prefers to ride his campaign that resembles a meteorite down to the ground where it is bound to crater and crater big. Then again, why not keep going? Thanks to Texas’ governor term limits, he has nothing else to do but to go back to Camp Niggerhead and shoot the breeze as he shoots vermin.
Personally, I don’t look forward to seeing more implosions from Mr. Perry. Watching him fight for the White House is like watching a has been boxer, one who was never more than mediocre when he was at his best, try to fight against a real contender. Instead of giving up and admitting he’s outclassed, he manages to get up for more punishment and the referee refuses to call the fight. Unfortunately, there is no referee in presidential politics. Mr. Perry promises to go the distance. Knowing Mr. Perry, the next time he’s asked which agencies he’d cut if he was President, Mr. Perry is likely to remember the Energy Department but then forget the other two, and then remember only after everybody goes home.
If nothing else, Mr. Perry’s performance serves as a first class example of why we need to invest more in agencies like the Department of Education. If not for people like Mr. Perry’s sake who need to learn when to call it a day, then for the rest of us who may have thought at one time or another, or for those of us who continue to believe, that this man has what it takes to be President.
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