As the Republican presidential primary field was shaping up, I got on the bandwagon early for Governor Rick Perry (R-TX). He had everything: he had a 11 years experience as Governor of Texas, Texas was leading the nation in job creation, he had strong conservative credentials, yet had previously been a conservative Democrat, and had reached across the aisle to Democrats in the Lone Star State. I think that he would make an excellent President, certainly a better one than our current Commander-in-Chief.
But before you can prove yourself to be a good President, you have to be a good presidential candidate, and in that regard, Governor Perry is not doing well. He had a well publicized brain-freeze in last nights Republican candidate debate:
Ouch! Nate Silver asked, Is Perry Toast?, but pointed out:
I know it looks bad for Mr. Perry — but he still has some things working in his favor, like money, a good team of advisers and his impressive jobs credentials down in Texas. Assuming that the gaffe causes some further slippage in his polling, might there be time for him to come back as well?
Here is the problem for Mr. Perry: there is not all that much time left. Iowa will vote less than two months from today, with New Hampshire and South Carolina following on its heels. This is about the point in time at which voters, donors and party officials need to think tactically, betting on a horse they think can win. Thus, Mr. Perry’s demise could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: If everyone thinks he is going to lose, he almost certainly will.
Is Governor Perry toast, as Mr Silver asked? At this point, I’m inclined to believe that he’s not just toast, he’s the toast which fell off the table and, as always, lands buttered side down.¹
I’m sure most of you have heard about Governor Perry’s brain-freeze in last night’s debate. I only heard about it secondhand and still felt terrible for the guy. I’ve performed on stage and had that very thing happen to me — it’s one of the worst feelings one can have.
Yup, sure is! But even though the skills that make someone a good debater and a good candidate don’t mean that he will make a good President — and President Obama is living proof of that — we can’t know how good a President a man will be until he is actually in the job, and we wind up judging the candidates by how well they perform as debaters and candidates.
At any rate, the Perry campaign was out with damage control:
|Friend & Supporter,
We’ve all had human moments. President Obama is still trying to find all 57 states. Ronald Reagan got lost somewhere on the Pacific Highway in an answer to a debate question. Gerald Ford ate a tamale without removing the husk. And tonight Rick Perry forgot the third agency he wants to eliminate. Just goes to show there are too damn many federal agencies.
The governor said it best afterwards: “I’m glad I had my boots on, because I sure stepped in it tonight.”
While the media froths over this all too human moment, we thought we would take this opportunity to ask your help in doing something much more constructive: write us to let us know what federal agency you would most like to forget.
Is it the EPA and its job-killing zealots? The NLRB and its czar-like dictates? The edu-crats at the Department of Education who aim to control your local curriculum?
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you are on twitter join us in using a new twitter hashtag: #forgetmenot. And, if you could, throw in a $5 contribution for every agency you would like to forget. We hope you have a long list. And we promise we will write down every last idea. So we don’t forget.
Still standing in our Boots,
That came in an e-mail for campaign supporters; I had signed up for e-mail updates almost as soon as Governor Perry announced his candidacy.
As damage control, it’s actually a pretty good attempt; I just don’t know if it will do any good. I’d like to think that Mr Perry will have a chance to recover, but the calendar does not favor him
¹ – Those are the words I used to describe Herman Cain as well. He’s in the sad position of having to prove a negative, that he didn’t harass those women.