Perry’s “aw, shucks” approach glosses over some ominously imperial assumptions

This aired last night in Iowa during “The Tonight Show.” The explanation, from the campaign:

“While the rest of GOP field is busy handling scandals, inconsistencies and contradictions on important issues, Gov. Perry’s appearance on Leno and his special Leno ad show he is confident enough to use the attention from last month’s Michigan debate to highlight his status as the true outsider conservative in the Republican field,” said Perry campaign communications director Ray Sullivan.

He’s walking a delicate line, between “I’m just plain folks” and “I’m dumber than a bag o’ hammers.”

Interesting that his campaign would regard going on Leno to make fun of himself as somehow more relevant and substantial than “scandals, inconsistencies and contradictions on important issues.”

One other point: He wants us to think of him a jus’ plain folks, but among the few words in his ad, he says, “a part-time Congress.” But think about that. That’s what one who would be emperor would do: Send the Congress home.

Perry’s rhetoric is redolent with such suggestions. As many times as we’ve seen the “oops” clip, how many have noticed that what he was saying was, “It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that’re gone…” As though it would simply happen once he was elected, as though he would bring it about by fiat.

Perhaps that should attract our attention more than Perry’s folksy flubs.

26 thoughts on “Perry’s “aw, shucks” approach glosses over some ominously imperial assumptions

  1. bud

    It is simply beyond comprehension that a major political party could field such ineptitude, naivete, false bravado, flip-flopping, ignorance, callousness, extremism, opportunism and a just plain vile disregard for the American people. Yet it is what it is. If the American people actually select one of these atrocious candidates to lead the nation then we are definetely on the wrong track as a nation and will be on a long downward spiral into the scrapheap of history.

    With the unemployment rate now dipping to 8.6% it seems inevetible that if this trend continues Barack Obama will serve 8 years as POTUS. Nate Silver did a pretty good analysis of economic factors that matter in presidential elections and the CHANGE in unemployment in the year before the election is much more important than the actual figure. As an example, Ronald Reagan won re-election with a fairly high rate of 7.5% on election day, carrying 49 states. But that was down from a high of 10.8%. It’s all about the trend.

    But Nate’s analysis does suggest other factors are important. The Democrats lost a narrow election in 1968 despite a very low unemplyoment rate. Vietnam was of course the factor even though Humphrey was not the culprit in that fiasco. Ford probably lost because of Watergate moreso than any economic factor. I would suggest that next year Obama pretty much has command of the non-economic variables. He’s charismatic, smart, likeable, has 4 years of experience and has a string of popular foreign policy decisions (Bin-Laden, Libya). The GOP’s only hope is to thwart any policies that will actually help the economy. Ranting about deficits will not work since the American people never have cared about the debt. Ranting about Iran will get them nowhere given W’s “sky is falling” rhetoric about Iraq. As famously said during Clinton’s run in 92, it’s the economy stupid. That’s still true but given the GOP field this year we could just as easily say, “It’s the stupid”.

  2. Abba

    His rhetoric is very similar to our Governor’s. Perry saying “It’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that’re gone . . .” has the same ring to it Gov. Haley saying “Georgia has had their way with us for way too long, and I don’t have the patience to let it happen anymore,” or “I am not gonna stand by and allow any of our companies to be bullied, especially by unions.” Folksy, yet imperialistic.

  3. Brad

    Yes, it plays to the atavistic desire in simple minds for the return of the king.

    A republic is messy, and you almost never get what you want. At best, you get a compromise. Or you get what you want, and what you hate, in the same package, because the legislation was put together by people representing very different interests, because (gasp) everybody gets a say.

    But a king, he’s like “just do it.” And it’s done. Of course, he might be telling them to cut off your head, but at least he’s decisive.

  4. Brad

    Speaking of which, when the Israelites were demanding a king, and Samuel tried to warn them off, I’ve always felt like he sort of pulled his punches:

    “10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the [a]procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to [b]do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and [c]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    Basically he’s saying, there will be a draft, and you’ll have to pay taxes. He could have made it sound a lot worse without lying. He could have said, “He will butcher your sons, and use your daughters as whores” or something, and he would not have been libeling kings as a group.

    He sort of held back, which has always made me think maybe Samuel was a closet monarchist…

  5. Juan Caruso

    “It is simply beyond comprehension that a major political party could field such ineptitude, naivete, false bravado, flip-flopping, ignorance, callousness, extremism, opportunism and a just plain vile disregard for the American people.” – Bud

    Bud, the public, even some Democrats, seem to get your point. How could the Dems have fielded Obama?

    In his recent kickoff bid, Charlie Wilson (former Democratic congressman) attacked Bill Johnson (R-OH) for supporting Obama, blasting him for supporting Obama.

    “I am disappointed that Congressman Johnson supported President Obama’s free trade agenda this year. These agreements will ship even more of our jobs overseas,” Wilson told WTRF-TV.

  6. Silence

    If they’d only take 10% I’d settle for a king, I think.
    That being said, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

  7. Brad

    I should add that, to his credit, Mr. Obama signed the Colombia Free Trade Agreement on Oct. 21. A bit late, but better late than never.

    Another example of Obama kowtowing publicly to interest groups in his base (such as the way he made antiwar types believe he was such a dove leading up to his election), then quietly doing the right, pragmatic thing in the end.

    Which is why I like the guy more and more.

  8. Tim

    Charlie Wilson is running in Southern Ohio. I would be surprised if he didn’t say Johnson wasn’t a good enough birther.

  9. Phillip

    You’re forgetting that negotiations with Colombia continued into Obama’s term on the human rights issues that were one legitimate reason to proceed with caution on the treaty. The unions still don’t like the treaty so if he was pandering to them in 2008, why wouldn’t he pander to them in 2011? You discount the possibility that Obama may have been among those who opposed (or at least had misgivings about) the FTA on legitimate grounds, and wanted more progress on those concerns.

    I’d also like to hear some specific examples of Obama “kowtowing” to an “antiwar” base. What did he really promise that he has not done, other than the pledge to close Guantanamo? If extremely pacifistic so-called “doves” (or truly isolationist types) thought he was going to close all US military bases worldwide, then that was purely a product of their own fevered hopes and delusions. Of course by comparison to Dick Cheney, almost anybody seems like a “dove.” The only thing other than Guantanemo I can think of where Obama has maybe diverged from where I thought he would go is in keeping the domestic security surveillance state more or less in place.

  10. bud

    … then quietly doing the right, pragmatic thing in the end.

    Not exactly sure what that means. He has pulled our troops out of Iraq and is phasing out our involvement in Afghanistan. And we stayed at arms length in the Libyan situation. Sure the pullout is far too slow, and I’ve certainly been critical on many foreign policy issues, but I still think Obama is a dove at heart.

  11. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Silence, whoever you are–I <3 you. I was just quoting that today while slinging mud in Maxcy Gregg park with Poli Sci Professor John Stucker.

    Wayne Washington's unfortunate spelling-with-an-accent in Saturday's front page — "a libertarian bint"–got me started. a watery bint, indeed.

  12. Brad

    Juan, one of my big beefs with Obama from the start was his lack of support for free trade, because the unions didn’t like it.

    I took a lot of heat on my blog for talking about the Colombia Free Trade agreement when I endorsed McCain over Obama in ’08. The Obama fans thought I was being perversely esoteric. But to me, it was an important issue, that illustrated a case of undermining wise foreign policy in order to truckle to a narrow domestic interest.

  13. Steve Gordy

    The Charlie Wilson to whom Juan is (apparently) referring, of “Charlie Wilson’s War,” is deceased.

  14. Phillip

    …and since you linked to your October 30 2008 blog post on the Colombia FTA…I’ll throw in my comment posted the very next day, 10/31/08:

    “It’s not all peachy-keen one direction as you seem to think, there is still another side to all of this.

    I think Obama accomplishes two things by his current stand, 1) he keeps US labor on his side through the election, and 2) he keeps pressure up on Uribe to crack down on rogue elements within the armed forces, as the article indicates. My hunch is that after the election Obama will move a bit towards the direction of the Colombia pact.”

  15. Brad

    It’s “watery tart.” And “moistened bint.”

    And to complete the thought, “Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”

  16. `Kathryn Fenner

    Yeah, I should have Googled to check the ref, relying on my midnight movie from my college years recall…One of the funniest scenes ever, old man.

  17. Juan Caruso

    “The Charlie Wilson to whom Juan is (apparently) referring, of ‘Charlie Wilson’s War,’ is deceased.” -Steve Gordy,

    Get off your lazy duff man, and at least do minimal research with the fact provided:

    Charles A. “Charlie” Wilson (born January 18, 1943) is the former U.S. Democratic representative for Ohio’s 6th congressional district, who previously served in the Ohio State Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives. On November 2, 2010, Wilson lost his bid for a third term in Congress after being defeated by Republican Bill Johnson by a 50-45% margin. >>>>He is of no relation to former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, who was the subject of the book and film Charlie Wilson’s War.<<<<

  18. Bart

    I think we should worry more about the knights who say “Nee” gaining power than Perry being elected president.

  19. Steve Gordy

    My apologies for being so lazy as not to have checked on who the Charlie Wilson in question was. I was thinking of the one in the book.

  20. Ralph Hightower

    Another fine product of the Texas educational system.

    Really, strategery?

    Of the people that I follow in Texas on Twitter, they aren’t exactly thrilled with Perry.

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