The Big Oops was leaving Texas by mario piperni
Imagine prospects for any Alaskan politician, especially a slick, ambitious customer, desperate for fame and fortune. Post-Palin, dream on. Ditto Texas by the time Rick Perry staggers home -- making everyone else mystified how this nincompoop got thrice elected governor, boasting an undefeated run to the top. Pity the next Lone Star schlemiel, tiptoeing through the double whammy of W. the despised and now Mr. Good Hair turned hair-brained.
Of course, millions of us cheer when one more know-nothing rightwing fraud from our most self-aggrandizing state gets shut out from the White House. Historic train wrecks, wherein a favored son intensely identified with his home state self-destructs, seriously taints his home ground. Outclassed from the get-go, Perry took to the road, lurched badly, then struck out -- as our longest serving governor disintegrated from Tea Party icon to a national misfit on par with the legendary, hapless Adm. Stockdale. That stumblebum (with far more credentials) was Ross Perot's "92 running mate, both skewered in one of SNL's best skits ever.
Perry confirmed quickly that no Heavenly spirits would impede his goon show, evoking the obvious query: Was he always this dumb, and did Texas voters endorse miss it -- or did prime time simply broadcast his buffoonery and reinforce the Peter Principle? Yes, leaving Dixie can dramatize the inside of a true hayseed. For the record, Perry's Blundering Brain-Freeze redefined the Texas-sized "oops" that ended the official "Worst Self-Inflicted Wound in Debate History." What else would sideline Herman Cain's despicable, multiple improprieties?
Ivins, Still on Target
So it takes no great leap to predict that Perry, added to W.'s dishonor, sets in stone Molly Ivins' prescient warning, "Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention." Is there no good news here? Perry's descent -- as swift and dramatic as the fall of the Alamo -- means our not having to "mess with Texas" for years.
To those viewing Palin as the ultimate dim bulb, or Bachmann the ultimate space alien, or Cain the ultimate serial liar, Perry outshone them all, blazing forth as the ultimate non-performer -- the guy who can't even finish his own triad of dreadful agencies dooming the country. Perry can't even complain, as did the Palin, about gotcha questions. Perry self-destructed, hook, line and . . . whatever #3 is.
This stunning crash is all the more delicious because Perry thundered in as an arrogant blowhard, a fearless hunter who shoots down coyotes and threatens Fed chiefs with ugliness. Oh, how mighty dunderheads fall. But to get whipped by the likes of Cain, Bachmann and Newt Gingrich -- that must be galling for a presumptuous, high-flying rooster. So when will enough Texas adults recall their wayward goober before he does greater damage, up there with what child abuse is doing to Penn State. The longer Perry stays unchained, and the nastier he growls at Romney (what other option is there, more TV clownishness?), the bozo who never lost a Texas election will quarantine his backward state.
Texas already suffers no small reputation issues, W. aside, being our least educated, least insured, most polluted, most income-disparate large state. Two conspicuous House criminals -- Dick Army and Tom DeLay, plus wingdings galore like weird Rep. Gohmert, hail from Texas. Plus, an array of extremist militias (remember Waco) and more Tea Party types than any other state. The bigoted pastor (and Perry fan) impugning Romney's Christianity hails from Texas, along with Karl Rove, Senators Kyl and Cornyn, Alberto Gonzales, our worst ever attorney general, Phil Gramm, Ken Starr, and John Tower. And a list of local deviants like Bonne and Clyde, John Hinkley, John Wesley Hardin, Jack Ruby, and David Koresh. Those over 50 still painfully recall where JFK was assassinated, then where his murderer was shot down in full view -- deep in the heart of Dallas.
Certainly, the world honors the array of notable, noble Texans, in politics, intellectual advancement, and a myriad of arts. Who doesn't admire heroic Texans, from way back when to modern activists, from Ivins, to Bill Moyers (UT Austin-educated), Jim Hightower and Diane Wilson? And the Lone Star boasts stunning geographic treasures, including the nation's single site where endangered sea turtles nest.
No Quitters on This Drive
No one expects this born-again absolutist to withdraw, as his swaggering, faith-based conceit will take his campaign turmoil as one more divine test of his spiritual worth. Throw in southern honor, and this injured loner stays bleeding on the scrimmage line. Reactionary oil billionaires will keep him afloat to save face, if nothing else. But "Remember the Perry" I predict will compete with "Remember the Alamo" as eventual Lone Star lore, but without any heroics.
Like Palin's sham populism, Perry's amalgam of misinformation, inflating his bloated achievements, required a well-run, error-free performance to compete. But imagine the unspoken indignation in Texas and beyond -- a scenario where a good old boy is bested by a minority neophyte-sex abuser never elected dog catcher. We're talking Biblical-sized "oops" here, and that must hurt.
Indeed, in dramatic contrast to slicker phonies like Cain or Palin, ever ready to shoot off verbal trickery, Perry is a self-confessed, repetitive clod forever sounding unpresidential: "Yeah, I stepped in it, man. Yeah, it was embarrassing. " Equal to the smell, Perry's top spokesman, Ray Sullivan, blundered on, "That was a stumble of style, not substance." Balderdash! It was all substance as a stumbling void lacks "style." Nothing more cemented the Perry goofball devoid of substance, under pressure so amateurish he couldn't parrot his own, fully reduced campaign patter. All hat and no rattle? All gristle and no sizzle? All slop and no pop?
If Not Done, Overdone
Even Republicans were brutal: "I think he's done," said an insider from another campaign. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom pulled no punches, "There's nothing I could say that could darken the night Rick Perry had." You mean, beyond pitch black?! Non-partisan presidential scholar Larry Sabato judged Perry's howler "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate." And number-cruncher Nate Silver reported the online betting site, Intrade, quickly doubled Perry's odds to 25-1. Ouch.
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