Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't worry Gov. Perry, John Wayne wasn't much for them fancy words neither

I turned on the television Saturday morning to catch up on whatever political news there was to be caught up on. The first thing I saw was Texas Governor Rick Perry trying out a new line to attempt to explain away his awful debate performance last week.

You know, where he came across as such an incoherent and babbling fool that the right-wing pundit class are more or less as a group disowning him and wondering who their next saviour might be.

The new line by Perry is that, perhaps predictably, being incoherent and apparently unable to construct complete sentences is a good thing because people like President Obama are good talkers and, so Perry would argue, look at how bad a job he's doing.

Obviously it is Perry's intention to paint Romney with the same brush. After all, Romney and Obama both speak well and, by golly, for real root'n' toon'n conservatives, it would seem that making yourself understood to other people is proof positive of socialist leanings.

It is ironic that the clearly pre-scipted line that Rick Perry attempted to use in the debate to nail Romney as a liberal in conservative clothing was the exact line that made it painfully clear, or at least clearer, that Perry just doesn't have a lot going on upstairs, that he not only doesn't speak well but that he probably also doesn't think clearly, i.e., that he is not presidential material.

For your viewing pleasure, I offer the clip to which I refer:

Pretty bad, I know, but before we simply assume that Perry's inability to speak and think well in public will doom his presidential bid, we might want to reconsider. In the course of the its history, the Republican Party has been full of politicians and would-be politicians who have been unable to carry a complete sentence or clear idea in a bucket, though this on its own has not been a fool proof indicator one way or the other of electoral success. In fact, it has been frequently considered a virtue of sorts.

To appeal to this tendency, the line Perry was using this morning is that Americans need to be wary of those who emphasize words over deeds, people, he implied, like our president and Mitt Romney.

We should note that American popular culture is full of this kind of thing. One example that comes to mind is the old movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Here the good man of few words (John Wayne) saves the well-meaning, cerebral, articulate tenderfoot (Jimmy Stewart) from the bad guy who would have surely killed him and continued to threaten the town. John Wayne does what needs to be done. Jimmy Stewart unfairly gets the credit and, not coincidentally, goes off to Washington to be a successful politician based upon the myth that he was the one who rid the town of the evil menace.

Rick Perry is hoping that there are enough Americans who will see the nomination race, and perhaps the general election, as a choice between John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart -- a choice between a good talker and a man of action. I don't know why, but Americans love this shit.

Come to think of it, Rick Perry would look pretty good on a movie poster.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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