Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Perry contra Perry; or, "What, me? A Tenther? Heavens no! What would ever give you that idea?"

Texas governor, fundamentalist fave, and high-flying Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has long been an advocate of what is known as "Tentherism," the far-right view that most federal programs (specifically those generally of the left -- that is, social programs as opposed to say, elements of the national security state, as well as laws designed for social progress) violate the right's beloved principle of states' rights ├╝ber alles, as supposedly enshrined in the Tenth Amendment (as if the Founders despised the very federal government they were creating and objected to it ever doing anything meaningful), and are therefore unconstitutional.

He even wrote (or "wrote") a book about it: Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

(Along these lines, he has been linked to neo-Confederate nationalism and has suggested secession for Texas.)

Well, Perry is still very much a Tentherist, but, now in the GOP race and with an eye on the nomination, he doesn't seem to know what exactly he stands for... publicly.

As ThinkProgress reports, his own campaign is disavowing his book, suggesting that, with respect to Social Security for example, it "is not meant to reflect the governor's current views on how to fix the program." Oh, then what? Was he just musing idly about dismantling the federal government and turning the clock back to America's dark ages?

In an interview, [Perry's communications director Ray] Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry's "Fed Up!" could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, "is a look back, not a path forward." It was written "as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto," Mr. Sullivan said.

The campaign's disavowal of "Fed Up!" is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry's first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country's rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: "Have you read my book, 'Fed Up!' Get a copy and read it."

(Whoops... seems like they've got to get their story straight.)

Not a path forward? Not a blueprint? Not a manifesto? Has Sullivan ever read even just the title of the book? Seems pretty clear to me.

Maybe the next talking point on this subject should be along the lines of how it's simply not possible that Perry could have written a book on his own and so whatever's in there can't possibly be his.

But who knows where this ridiculous, extremist candidacy will go...

Rick Perry, according to Paul Begala, is "the perfect candidate for those Republicans who viewed George W. Bush as just a little too cerebral." Seems like his campaign ain't too smart neither.

Is it any wonder so many Republicans have taken to him so warmly?


(photo - with some fine analysis of Perry as "the radical alternative to Bachmann" by LG&M's Scott Lemieux)

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