Should We Really Expect the Low Road?

2011 November 10

So, when I heard about Gov. Rick Perry’s gaffe last night during the Republican debate, I had two main reactions.  First, I greedily enjoyed the schadenfreude that accompanies a moment like this because, Gov. Perry is right, this kind of thing can happen to anyone.  Unfortunately for Gov. Perry, he’s not anyone, he’s a contender for one of the two major nominations to be President of the United States.  If he were an assistant principle in Mobile, Alabama, giving a speech honoring the principle of the school where he taught, we would forgive him his complete mental shutdown under the stress of stage lights and sound cues. As stressful as debating for your political future may be, Gov. Perry, it’s no White House Situation Room or Oval Office.  So, yes sir, completely blanking on stage during a public speaking/debate engagement can happen to anyone, but the United States isn’t looking for anyone.

Watch the video and read the original article posted here.

And then I started thinking more seriously about what it says that the current Republican field is the current Republican field.

I was mind boggled at the continuing AA ball the Republicans are trying to pass off as major league this election cycle.  Don’t even begin to talk about the poor campaign (and operatives) being run by Mr. Cain’s people.  But this man, Gov. Perry, was supposed to have been bizarro, conservative, Obama.  Able to leap tall regulation with a single veto, stronger than a filibuster, faster than a drone strike, you know, Republican porn star.  I don’t say this as an President Obama apologist, I say this as a political junkie, who follows the inside baseball as much as the grand sweeping philosopy of government, society, civilization, and our place in it.  But to think that ANY of the current Republican field could assume the duties of the office of the President of the United States is laughable when they are compared against their predecessors in office.  Somehow, the American People have come to the conclusion that anyone truly can grow up to be President.  While that is an enticing thought (one, I admit, I myself cling to as a possible career path someday, but only if I deserve it), it (like the American Dream that anyone can grow up to be Donald Trump or a Kardashian) is rarely actually true.

When I heard about this moment in the debate last night, my thoughts were perfectly summed up in a scene from one of my favorite tv shows, The West Wing. In this scene, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, “Josh Lyman,” is explaining his objection to the current rising Republican contender for the reelection campaign and what the American People deserve in a Presidential Election.

“When the president’s got an embassy surrounded in Haiti or a keyhole photograph of a heavy water reactor or any of the fifty life-and-death matters that walk across his desk every day, I don’t know if he’s thinking about Immanuel Kant or not. I doubt it. But, if he does, I am comforted, at least, in my certainty, that he is doing his best to reach for all of it and not just the McNuggets. Is it possible we would be willing to require any less of the person sitting in that chair? The low road? I don’t think it is.”

How can anyone in the Republican Party feel that this man is capable of sitting in the chair in the round room?  How can anyone in the Republican Party feel that ANY of the current crop of candidates are capable.  With the exception of John Huntsman.  John Huntsman is the type of person that a sane Republican Party of a bygone time would nominate.  Erudite, educated, served his country, elected governor  of a not-small state…And to see him polling at 2% is obscene evidence of what the political process in the United States AND around the world has become.






2 Responses leave one →
  1. Mankindof permalink
    November 10, 2011

    As preface, let me say I cannot abide Rick Perry. Newt Gingrich is possibly a worse human being, but probably not a worse candidate. Michele Bachmann is both a worse human and a worse candidate. But Perry is next on the list. He’s an asshole even by politician standards, and his ideas are idiotic; absolutely none of his big ideas have benefited Texas.

    Still, I fail to see the significance here. I could understand looking at all of his gaffs in aggregate and finding him deficient, but I think there’s enough evidence that he’s a canny man and politician that we should understand that blanking on the third of three agencies that make up one of his main bullet points isn’t such a damning mistake. Personally, I’m much more appalled by his Bush-like grasp of English. Immediately preceding the goof that everyone is talking about, he said the following sentence: “It is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone.” THIS. This is far more worrisome to me than the fact that he had a brain fart on national TV. Everyone draws a blank now and then, and in a crisis he’d be surrounded by a lot of highly trained and highly educated people to help him out. Momentarily blanking on an idea you’ve already had and written down is really not problem if the idea is a good one. But the inability to construct a sentence demonstrates an underlying lack of mental clarity that can’t be smoothed over as just a momentary cognitive slip. And it’s not like his 2.5 GPA at Texas A&M is helping to refute this concern.

    I routinely criticized G.W. Bush on similar grounds — namely that I want someone better than an average frat boy drinking buddy in the Oval Office. And that applies here with Perry as well. But I do get the feeling that those who are jumping all over Perry for drawing a blank on stage might have a double standard. I mean, I don’t recall these same people suggesting Obama shouldn’t be president after he said there were 57 states.

  2. November 10, 2011

    You are right, I guess this morning was the straw breaking camel’s…and it is what moved me to write about it. It is Gov. Perry in the aggregate and my point was, with ALL of his gaffes already, he’s still afloat and under serious consideration such that this basic failure of debate preparation and execution doesn’t even spark a discussion of ending his campaign. In fact, he almost crows his commonness, advertises his simplicity, and rests proudly on the laurels of generalization and he thinks it’s presidential. To your point about President Obama, I was not comparing the two, simply taking the Republican field. I recognize that politics now has become “I’m just a little bit better than the other guy, vote for me,” rather than “I’m the best qualified person in the country to lead us into a successful future based on these thought out, reasoned, and fact-based policy suggestions and here’s how we get there.” That’s my gripe, as always.

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