Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rick Perry Drops Out

The Republican battle for the nomination, particularly among conservatives, has tightened with the announcement this morning by Rick Perry that he is suspending his campaign, faced with no movement in his numbers in South Carolina, which had him in the 5% range. 

Begun with great hope for his being the conservative standard bearer, an immensely successful and longest-serving governor of Texas, the campaign just didn’t live up to its expectations.  We now know that Perry had back surgery in July which explains his odd stance at times on stage, as well as a likely good portion of his befuddlement in his answers early on.  But much like Fred Thompson in 2008, he just didn’t seem prepared for such an enormous undertaking.  He was lulled perhaps by his experience in Texas politics but did not understand, along with his staff, what a steep climb it would take to overcome the large bias (to use an understatement) against Texas, as demonstrated by the postings and comments found within web logs that focus on national politics.  His style that plays so well in Texas and the fly-over territory between the urban bastions of the Sophisticati is no longer tolerated in a country whose attitude would bar from office such presidents as Thomas Jefferson (who had an almost pathological aversion to speaking in public), Andrew Jackson (a pronounced, profane and inarticulate style from the territories), and even Abraham Lincoln (despite our image of him based on the portrayal of Raymond Massie, he had a high-pitched, "unpleasant" voice).

While there were any number of issues that were marked by the invincible ignorance of many of his nay-sayers (the Trans-Texas Corridor portrayed as some sort of plot by the Illuminati or some such; the hysterical claims about the toxicity and sexual license that Gardasil would create; claims of ‘free college education’ to illegal aliens), he simply could not expunge the ghost of George W Bush or overcome the belief that he was some sort of clone of him in particular, or fight the bigoted attitude that anyone who did not act within or talk like a member of the ‘popular culture’ must be some sort of hick.  I have to hope that Perry’s positions on energy, jobs, tax reform, tort reform, defense, and the Congress are still pushed as part of the still looming battle for the heart of the nation. 

I was privileged to know Rick Perry while we were both students at Texas A&M [for those who haven't caught on, Nicholas Darkwater is a nom de plume], and he was the same bright, sincere, fun-loving straight-arrow kind of guy that I have seen as the Governor of Texas and presidential candidate.  This closes a chapter of his life, but I expect to see another open that will use his energy to the benefit of the nation.

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