Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rick Perry Will Have to Debate (At Last)

Now in thinking about the ramifications associated with Rick Perry’s belated entry into the race for the Republican nomination for President of the United States (yes, you are correct, that is my verbal way of pinching myself), I suddenly realized that because of this, and finally, and at last, we get to see Rick Perry in a debate.

Matthew Dowd wrote last week in an Op/Ed piece that the Rick Perry he knows, and he knows Rick Perry better than most, “will go in one of two opposing directions: He will march consistently and strongly and become the nominee, or he will crash in a spectacular manner.”

I can’t think of a better venue than a presidential debate where Rick Perry will fulfill Dowd’s latter prediction. The man gives a great stump speech, there is no doubt of that, he just doesn’t have what it takes to punch and parry in a debate.

No one here in Texas has any doubt that the main reason Rick Perry failed to show up at a single debate in the 2010 gubernatorial election was because he would give up all of the advantages that he enjoyed over his superior opponent, the bland and lackluster Bill White (sorry Bill, it’s just true) by showing that his recently revealed less than marvelous college grades were well-earned.

He’s just not all that intelligent.

And yes, this suits most Texans just fine. Texans pride themselves in electing the lessers of us to high office.

But nationally, Rick Perry will very probably crash and burn.

Or as he, as a former C-130 pilot would say, “auger in.”

I personally saw Rick Perry in a debate only once. It was in 2006 and he had 3 opponents in that election, an election that awarded the governorship to someone who failed to attract a majority vote. I particularly remember his response to the moderator’s question when he came up with a whole new word: “gollect.” Yes, he said that word on a state-wide television broadcast and he still won the election.

What was he trying to say? The context gave us our only clue that evening. He was trying to say “neglect.”

So Rick Perry will be a formidable opponent as long as he sticks to a script. But once he departs from a script he will be revealing an Achilles’ Tendon as big as the distance between El Paso and Beaumont.

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