Friday, November 11, 2011

It's time to fold 'em, Governor Perry

Politico ran a story yesterday about Rick Perry again trying to turn his inarticulateness into a virtue. They posted a fundraising e-mail that Perry's team sent to supporters. The goal of it was to explain himself by drawing attention to other presidents who had, in their long careers, misspoken or did foolish things now and again. Here it is: 

Friend & Supporter, 

We've all had human moments. President Obama is still trying to find all 57 states. Ronald Reagan got lost somewhere on the Pacific Highway in an answer to a debate question. Gerald Ford ate a tamale without removing the husk. And tonight Rick Perry forgot the third agency he wants to eliminate. Just goes to show there are too damn many federal agencies. The governor said it best afterwards: "I'm glad I had my boots on, because I sure stepped in it tonight." While the media froths over this all too human moment, we thought we would take this opportunity to ask your help in doing something much more constructive: write us to let us know what federal agency you would most like to forget. Is it the EPA and its job-killing zealots? The NLRB and its czar-like dictates? The edu-crats at the Department of Education who aim to control your local curriculum? Send your answer to, and if you are on twitter join us in using a new twitter hashtag: #forgetmenot. And, if you could, throw in a $5 contribution for every agency you would like to forget. We hope you have a long list. And we promise we will write down every last idea. So we don't forget. Still standing in our Boots, 

Team Perry 

I love the fine art of political communications, especially in the heat of a campaign. I even like it when it's on the other side, as long as it's good. And just as a matter of objective analysis, this is not a bad approach.

I mean, sure. We all misspeak. We have all forgotten important facts in the heat of the moment. A lot of famous, but otherwise articulate, people, have tripped over their tongues. And the "agencies you'd like to forget" thing is cute. No doubt.

I guess the problem comes when you become identified with being inarticulate or with getting facts wrong or just forgetting too many things that someone in your position really should not forget.

Perry's message is that "I screwed up, this one time, so give me a break." Of course, it wasn't just this one time. It is no longer a thing he does, it is now who he is.

Anyway, I get it. His communications advisors are just playing the hand they were dealt. But in keeping with the card playing motif, and in the immortal word of Kenny Rogers, you got to "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Governor, isn't it time you put those cards down, put your boots on, and high tailed it out of there before things get any worse. Don't ya reckon?

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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