Deranger Rick

Forget everything you know about Rick Perry.

Including the things that frighten the shit out of you.

Congratulations! You’re now a Typical American Voter.

By reputation, Perry is the Teabagger From Hell, the one candidate with the ability to inspire the base and not scare off everybody else. He’s Shrub Redux, the idiot Texas governor with whom you’d enjoy sharing a pint while he drives the country off a cliff. He could win.

Or so we’re told.

That he’s canny, no doubt. Leaking his plans on Thursday and announcing them Saturday was well-played. And since everybody’s bored with the old Campaign Narrative, having a new one — especially during a very slow August — is well-timed. Perry’s going to soak up all the chatter this week.

Just like Sarah Palin did during the Republican Convention.

Recall that what put Palin on the map was not the Friday Surprise Announcement, nor the Monday Pregnancy Test, but the Wednesday Speech, where she showed she could be a powerful presenter of other people’s words. That one moment was so galvanizing, she’s been coasting on it for almost three years now. You knew, watching it, that she could be dangerous, although it was not yet proven that she would.

Happily for America, she hasn’t proven it yet.

And in that respect, Rick Perry is a blank slate.

We’re quite aware of his Ominous Potential, at least by reputation. Perry’s the top draft pick, with an outstanding varsity record. But it’s a very different game in the Big League, and we have yet to see him play it. We don’t mean that we’re happily awaiting his First Gaffe. Rather, we’re waiting to see whether he resonates.

And not just among the Teabaggers.

Reagan resonated. Frighteningly so. He could share a stage with a real Preznit of These United States, and come off more Preznidential. It wasn’t just “There you go again.” It was also Jimmy desperately trying to coin “Reagan-Kemp-Roth”, when nobody had ever navigated that mouthful. It was Jimmy trying to be rational, when Ronnie exuded passion. Americans wanted passion.

Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. Obama may be cool as a cucumber, but unlike Jimmy, or Al (and very unlike Walter, or Mike, or John), Obama knows how to inspire.

That much is proven. Rick Perry isn’t, not on the national stage. He may indeed prove to be the Formidable Opponent we’re being sold. But we won’t know this week, not while everybody’s fawning over him. Let’s wait until next week and see whether he can actually execute plays, instead of just being a cheerleader on the sidelines.


I’m just waiting for Chris Matthews to have his audence has themsevles: “Whose bar-b-cue would you rather go to? One thrown by Barack O’Bama or one thrown by Rick Perry?”

Because, there’s really no more important measure of a presidential candidate’s fitness for public office than his imagined ability to throw a good bar-b-cue.

Well, Texas BBQ is better than Hawaiian BBQ. :>

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