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Archive for the ‘rick perry’ tag

Healthy dose of ridicule in order

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Here is a good read from James McPherson on the Republican Party candidates’ many gaffes:

Think for a minute–as much as some people hated George W. Bush, can you imagine any of those folks openly and proudly insulting Laura Bush? In fact, to find such boorish behavior toward a First Lady you have to go all the way back to … Hillary Clinton. The worst example? Another Democratic First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.

And when people are working as hard as the current crop of GOP candidates to look stupid, it’s difficult to conclude otherwise. Perhaps it’s simply a Wall Street plot to get Obama re-elected, despite all the reasons he shouldn’t be. See a couple of the more humorous recent examples–or at least they would be funny, if these weren’t people seeking to lead the free world–below.

When it comes to knowledge of world affairs, “no news is better than Fox News,” according to a study by researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Sadly, that’s old news. Even sadder, as columnist Kathleen Parker (once considered a conservative, though now even Ronald Reagan wouldn’t qualify) has pointed out, the relative ignorance common to heavy watchers of Fox News is driving today’s Republican Party. Or, as Paul Begala has termed it, “the Stupid Party.”

I hesitate to paint with a brush so broad, though I have previously noted some activities by conservatives that seemed at least unenlightened. But presumably these are some of the same folks who actually booed the First Lady over the weekend at a NASCAR race (an action that the voice of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, actually defended).

Here is one video:

Embarrassing. And another embarrassment:

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Written by Jeremy

March 31st, 2012 at 1:01 am

The Tea Party and evangelicals

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A few days ago, I wrote about the possible decline or death of the Tea Party movement, in light of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s rise in the polls and the sinking of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and others. While I realize that the Tea Party is probably as much about small government and what it deems as “fiscal responsibility” with public money as it is about social issues, it still represents the strongest bloc of evangelical support within the ranks of the GOP. Thus, the New York Times today appropriately asked the question today: “Have Evangelicals Lost Their Sway?

In response, David P. Gushee, the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, wrote:

This year, after Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin decided to sit the election out, two organic evangelical candidates emerged: Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. (Herman Cain might qualify as a third.) Both Bachmann and Perry are clearly practicing conservative evangelicals. Perry, at least, had a serious chance to become the Republican nominee. But neither he nor Bachmann proved successful in sealing the deal with their own evangelical constituency, and both failed to extend their reach much beyond that constituency.

The emergence of Newt Gingrich, a thrice-married Catholic convert, and Mitt Romney, a committed Mormon, as leaders of the Republican pack does not symbolize a decline in evangelical influence. It more clearly symbolizes the failure of the two organic evangelical candidates. In the case of Gingrich, it also symbolizes the readiness of many conservative evangelicals to trade off their supposedly cherished family values for a candidate they think can win.

And Lara M. Brown, an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University, had this to say:

Stalwart support among white evangelical Protestants constitutes the Republican long game. Not only do these voters provide the critical momentum lifts during the nomination contest, but their enthusiastic backing could well be the key to winning the general election.

Republican presidential aspirants have gleaned this lesson over the past decade. That’s why there are three serious candidates – Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum – vying for evangelical support and two imperfect social conservatives – Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich – trying to play the part. Earlier in the race, there were two others – Tim Pawlenty and Herman Cain – claiming to represent these voters.

This many candidates in the Republican field suggests that evangelicals possess formidable power, not waning influence. Their only problem is their lack of consensus.

But is that really what’s going on? Does the sheer number of evangelical candidates say something about vitality of that wing of the GOP. Quantity, after all, doesn’t at all mean quality.

The striking element in this primary – Huckabee and Palin certainly got this slow roll going back in 2008 – is the unequivocal anti-intellectualism that candidates like Perry and Bachmann represent (and Cain before he dropped out). Earlier in the primary election season, one of my first thoughts was that the Republican Party had set the bar so low that, again in the wake of Huckabee and Palin, that anyone who said mentioned “God,” “Christianity” or “wholesome American values” enough times had a legitimate chance of gaining clout in the Republican Party. Perry and Bachmann, then, were in my mind, current manifestations of Huckabee and Palin from 2008, with two noted difference: that Perry isn’t an ordained minister and that Huckabee would have actually made a more competent leader. Not that I have a dog in the hunt, but my hope in all this, given the recent successes of Romney and Gingrich, is that GOP’s ideologies are in the process of sliding more toward the center after Palin and the gang helped to nearly tip it over the edge.

That said, I don’t think the evangelical bloc of the GOP is going away any time soon since abortion, gay rights and stem cell research concerns are still very much a part of the public conversation. I would be very surprised, however, if Romney wins the nomination. His is Mormon, after all, so unless some new candidate(s) surface, Gingrich will most likely win by default as what I have been calling the “establishment” candidate.

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On Rick Perry’s ‘forgettable’ gaffe

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Here is one of the more cogent commentaries about GOP primary presidential candidate Rick Perry’s recent “Oops” moment from the debate this week. If you haven’t seen it, here is the video of the awkward 53-seconds:

In the column, I think Matt Bai gets at the heart of Perry’s mishap:

The problem isn’t just that Mr. Perry was groping around on stage like a prairie dog in a hailstorm. …

The problem is that he didn’t seem to know the basic details of his own proposal. Here he was calling for what would be a truly radical restructuring of the federal government — involving many thousands of jobs and many billions of dollars in federal expenditures — and he didn’t have a grasp on which sprawling departments he would shutter. It seemed the idea was not his own, but rather something he had tried and failed to memorize.

I’ve heard the TV talking heads and people with whom I have spoken say things similar to, “Well, anyone can have a brain freeze or suffer from a mental lapse.” True, but as Bai again points out, cutting back the three government agencies — commerce, education, energy — is almost exclusively what has set Perry apart from the other GOP candidates. As Bai says,

… Mr. Perry violated one of the core tenets of modern politics, which is that you have to at least sustain the artifice of ownership. We know, of course, that presidential candidates don’t actually write their own speeches or stay up late at night tinkering with their own proposals to overhaul Medicare. We get all that.

But we do expect them to really believe in the things they propose — to have the requisite conviction to know and recite with passion the basic policies that someone on their team stayed up nights to craft. Say what you want about Mr. Bush, but no one ever doubted his deep well of resolve on tax cuts or education reform. He had command of his own plan, if not all the underlying data.

There’s nothing more central to Mr. Perry’s campaign than the idea of scaling back the government in Washington — that’s pretty much the whole tamale right there — and what he proved last night, in 60 or so agonizing seconds, is that he hasn’t thought deeply enough about it to even master the basics of his own agenda.

How is it possible that one could forget the central tenant of one’s plan to cut spending? I mean, that’s been his task-at-hand for months now. How is it possible that a presidential candidate, no less, could whiff on such a key component to his entire campaign. It’s as if [[Joseph Ratzinger]], the pope, had just given a speech at the Vatican and in his preachments, failed to give nod to one member of the Holy Trinity. Perry isn’t trying to win a city, county or state seat. He is running for the highest office in the free world.

This latest episode (And this certainly has not been the only questionable moment in Perry’s run) shows: first, how the far right wing of American politics borders on the ridiculous; second, how the general political discourse has devolved (by 18th century standards) by many degrees downward into an intellectual morass; and third, how we as an electorate expect much too little from the people who claim they want to lead us. I mean, George W. Bush was a buffoon who thought he had God on his side and allowed his subordinates to dictate his courses of action in almost every case, but at least he knew his stance on the issues, articulated them (although in questionable grammar) and rarely — if ever and to a fault — did he falter in his convictions. This current bunch continues the buffoonery, while lacking the charm and consistency, and are, clambering for election, apparently, just for the sake of being elected without a clear or coherent vision. It’s a waste and a disgrace to the legacy of the nation.

H.L. Mencken said it best, which was apparently misquoted as “People deserve the government that they get …”

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Or, the succinct, harsher version from this blogger:

Idiots elected by idiots.

In short, until the electorate smartens up, don’t expect much from the elected. Hopefully at some point, the tide of the conversation will turn and the discourse will improve. But we are almost as far removed from that day as we are from 18th century politics, which makes 21st century politics look, at once, dumb, childish and astonishingly enough, brazen by comparison.

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Written by Jeremy

November 12th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Doonesbury: anti-intelligentsia

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Thanks to P.Z. Myers for calling my attention to this:

Credit: By Garry Trudeau

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Written by Jeremy

September 29th, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Rick Perry and the vaccine issue

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If, like me, you couldn’t muster the internal fortitude to watch the entire GOP presidential debate on Monday, one of the most divisive issues coming out of it was Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s executive order mandating that 11- and 12-year-old girls get an HPV vaccine that is supposed to stave off an STD that causes cervical cancer.

This, at least on the surface, appears to have been a noble cause. But when one learns that Merck, the maker of the vaccine, contributed $5,000 to Perry’s campaign and that its political action committee would go on to give $30,000 (and that Merck gave $377,000 to the Republican Governors Association, of which Perry was the chairman), one suspects other motives. And it’s no wonder that Merck is so enthusiastic about giving to the GOP since the party shamelessly kowtows to the pharmaceutical industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Jeremy

September 17th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Fact-checking tonight’s GOP debate

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Politifact.com has made rulings on nine points made from the GOP/Tea Party debate from tonight. Only one such ruling was deemed “true.” The “true” ruling comes from Mitt Romney, who claimed that Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in his book, “By any measure, Social Security is a failure.” It’s hard to get a point wrong about which someone has put into the written word, so this “true” ruling is hardly remarkable. The rest of the rulings from the GOP debate: three “pants on fire” rulings, two “half true,” two “mostly false” and one outright “false.”

Can’t say that I’m surprised. Here’s the rulings thus far.

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Written by Jeremy

September 12th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

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