Monday, July 21, 2014

Rick Perry, presidential candidate

So, our esteemed governor, Rick ("Oops!") Perry, is deploying 1,000 National Guard troops to Texas' border with Mexico. It's unclear what exactly they are supposed to do there - other than bolster Perry's image for toughness with the radical immigrant-hating base of the Republican Party. It's that base who will select the next presidential candidate of that party, and Rick Perry is running hard for that position.

Perry just came back from a weekend in Iowa, the state that holds the first presidential primary. It was his fourth visit there in eight months. He's also making the rounds of all the right-wing media outlets, accusing the Obama administration of failing to secure our southern border, even though Obama has deported more illegal immigrants crossing that border than any other president in history and has increased the number of Border Patrol agents along the border to record numbers.

In fact, the border is most likely more secure than it has ever been, but when did a Texas Republican ever let the facts get in the way of the narrative he wants to tell? Perry is simply following the example of the master, George W. Bush, and his "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction" lie.

In order to further enhance his image, Perry has added glasses with "intellectual" frames to make him look smarter and he's ditched the ostentatious cowboy boots in favor of loafers to make him look more...urbane and sophisticated...I guess. And the whole thing has worked brilliantly!

The Washington Post proclaims that Perry is "So hot right now." Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard writes that Perry is "alive, well, and hyperactive as a national political figure." And Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin writes, “In 2014 we see a more mature and humbled version of Perry, one without the Texas swagger. It is that more serious figure, bespectacled and more relaxed, whom voters now see.” The television networks - and not just the predictable Fox News - are clamoring to have him appear on their programs where he can give his "expert" analysis of the humanitarian crisis at our border.

You can bet that not one of those television or print "journalists" is going to ask Perry about the fact that he has ordered more people executed than any other governor in modern history or the strong evidence that some of those people were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. You won't see them asking him about the millions of people in Texas who have no health insurance protection because he has refused to expand Medicaid. Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured of any state in the country. You definitely won't hear them asking about rates of teen pregnancies in the state or the fact that Texas under Perry's leadership continues to try to shut down Planned Parenthood and other such clinics that provide access to birth control information and supplies, under the pretense that all these clinics do is abortions. And they won't be asking about pervasive, entrenched poverty and the state's niggling programs to assist those (mostly women, children, and the disabled) who are trapped in its grip.

No, they will ask him about the "crisis on the border," giving him a chance to look serious and wise (thanks to those intellectual glasses frames) and to pontificate, and giving all the right wing conventional wisdom pundits an opportunity to swoon over how smart and hip and relevant Rick Perry has suddenly become.  

It is a strange, strange world that we live in when lightweights like Rick Perry are taken seriously.

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