I’m not sure what I was really expecting from Rick Perry. I know that I would have liked to see him outline some sort of plan or archetype for how he’d govern, not just a re-hash of an old stump speech or a message that worked for him in Texas. At one point in his speech, he said “I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Texas” and I thought “yes, you have, but why?” He never really answered that question. It seems to me if you’re going to bring up something like the love of your state then maybe you should at least try to justify it. Talk about the ridiculous job creating numbers your state has had even if you’ve had little to nothing to do with those numbers. It’s still better than talking ad nausem about how great Texas is and then talk about how you love America, just not when Obama is President.
It seemed like his heart wasn’t really in it. It didn’t really seem like he cared one way or the other. It was almost as if he was indifferent to this whole being President thing. He looked like a man who was struck with the idea of being President more than he was excited about actually holding the office or being the Chief Magistrate. When you look at people who become President, it is evident from the day they start campaigning that this is something that they’ve always wanted. You can tell that they really, really believe in this and above all else, want it. I didn’t see anything from Perry that indicated that this was something that he wanted. It looked a lot more like this was something he got pushed into doing. If this is something he got pushed into doing, he really shouldn’t be doing it.
Now, I know the RedState people went nuts for this guy and my guess is that it gave a few other people pause, but is there anyone that got excited by his speech or even intrigued by his personality? If there are people out there who were, aren’t they the same people that got excited by George W. Bush and semi-excited about John McCain circa 2000? The difference between McCain 2000 and Perry 2012 is that McCain had ideas. If Perry has some new, original ideas that he’d like to fill us in on, I’d be all ears to hearing them. The one deficit we really do face in this country is a leadership deficit, I’d like to see less people talking about this and more people, well, leading. You can’t lead from behind as many GOP candidates are going to learn today in Iowa and I hope their reaction isn’t “let’s give this Perry fellow a try” and is more of “lets think about what we should be advocating that would give people the hope that they need and the realistic pragmatism that’s required to govern.” My guess is that that’s not how conservatives like to think of themselves. They’d rather advocate against something than support something regardless as to how sensible one or the other may or may not be.
I think this is the biggest and most iconoclast difference between the parties and their nominees. The President would rather talk about ideas, whereas Republicans just want to tar and feather him. They like tarring and feathering because it’s easy and because it’s indicative of what America is all about. We’ve been tarring and feathering for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the Great Awakening back in the 1740’s. Tarring and feathering is something that even the most simple minded souls can get behind and it’s something that requires absolutely no thought or reason to do. It’s vintage Americana and that’s all that a 25-30% of the population really wants to do right now. They just want someone to blame for their problems. That’s fine for right now, but what happens in 6 months? What happens when you look for actual leadership to get us out of where we are now? This thinking will not lead you to support someone who can get results, but someone who can project blame onto other people better than one can acknowledge blame for past indiscretions.
We’ve had a President who couldn’t admit mistakes. We’ve had a President who wasn’t interested in compromise. We’ve had a not so bright Texan with Daddy issues as our President and it didn’t work out so well for most of us. We found ourselves in two wars, the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and no end in sight for any of it. Now, four years after we’ve dispersed with this President we find ourselves looking not to replace him, but to replicate him. We are, in other words saying, “we had it so good when you were screwing us over, we had it so good that we want to experience that again.” That doesn’t seem all that beneficial for all the people out there that are hurting.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to try and debate issues with people who don’t want to debate at all. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to back people whose religious convictions could mar them from exercising their Constitutional duties as Commander-in-Cheif. None of this makes any sense when you look at this from the point of view of electing a real human being as President of the United States. The only thing that makes any sense here is that people who didn’t like what they had, got too interested in getting more than they needed as a means to getting what they’ll never be able to attain and that is institutional anarchy.
I’ve been fascinated by the reader comments so far and I want to encourage people to let me know what you think because not being a Conservative, I really don’t know what I’m supposed to expect from this guy. From the comments I’ve heard so far, it seems like people are trying to justify his persona more than actually support his candidacy. I think that speaks volumes about his actual candidacy, but lets start with the personification that’s going on first. My favorite critique was “he’s like George W. Bush without all the heavy thinking that being a supporter of George Bush entailed.” Yeah, that’s true, I remember all those people like Tony Snow who had a tough time keeping up with the President and all of his deep intelectual thoughts.
My favorite response that I got was that he is the “Andrew Jackson of my generation.” I don’t completely disagree with that assessment. I think Old Rickory is in many ways appealing for a lot of the reasons that Jackson was appealing in his time. The problem with Perry is that he’s like Andrew Jackson without, you know, the upside. Jackson, regardless of what you thought of him, was heroic. He did things in his life that inspired a following. Old Rickory has done things that have at best confused people about who he is. When the best thing that you’re known for is merely confusing your political detractors, I’m not all that certain that it’s in any way advantageous to be all that well known at all.