September 25, 2011

A flash in the Texas Panhandle

It's possible that Rick Perry is just too dumb to win the Presidency. That's an odd sentence to write, because I'm talking about the Presidency of the United States here, not President of the National Academy of Sciences or President of the local chapter of the Rotary Club. You know, a position where some measure of intelligence is actually expected, or the norm. Yet, despite my sentimental attachment to the Perry campaign, the weird basis of which I have described on prior occasions, I'm reaching the conclusion (not reluctantly) that this hayseed is just too dumb even for America. Those who have called Perry "Bush without the brains" are on the right track.

Although I never actually thought Bush was unintelligent, despite occasional bleatings to the contrary. Bush's IQ was definitely higher than the controlling mean for the Washington press corps, for example, and by "controlling mean" I refer to that baseline average of insight and complexity which sets the standard for national reporting. Individual reporters are more intelligent than this average, but they have to dumb it down in order to maintain a job and an audience. Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post was an excellent example of this limiting factor. But Bush's ability to humiliate and bamboozle the press, in general, on a constant basis was actually fairly impressive. As the signal example of Bush's skill, I always think of the Valerie Plame matter. Somehow or other, in ways I can't quite fathom, Bush seemed to convince the moronic Washington press corps that he was an innocent bystander to the "outing" of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, even though he talked daily to people, such as Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, who were involved in the matter up to their eyeballs. Bush claimed at the outset that he would "conduct a search" for the people responsible for Plame's blown cover; you know, those people who sat in his Oval Office every day of his Presidency. And yet the Washington press never figured that out, even though Representative Henry Waxman conducted a hearing where Bush's "White House security team" admitted that they were never even asked to open a file on the source of the leak. Why would Bush "search" when Cheney had already told him? That was a master stroke by the Old Bushter, to pull off that caper unscathed, and bespeaks a fairly crafty intelligence. Along with an absolute, complete contempt for the media people he fooled with his lies and evasions.

Perry, on the other hand, has sustained the one wound which is mortal for national candidates: people, including the press, are already laughing at him. This didn't really happen to Bush until after the Katrina fiasco and his "heckuva job" comment to the incompetent idiot he'd placed in charge of FEMA. (Katrina, in this additional sense, was surely an Act of God.) Once everyone started laughing at Bush, his power began to wane, which is why Bush rushed to pass the Military Commissions Act in 2006, with its blanket exoneration of all crimes of war and against humanity which he and his henchmen had committed (that was the actual purpose of the rush job in Fall, 2006, of course; unless I missed something, I don't believe that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Gurgling Confessor, has been placed on trial yet [5 years later] in Cuba, although that was the ostensible reason for the hurry, and not the impending seating of a Democratic-controlled House in January, 2007). You know, that's actually another instance of Bush being much, much smarter than the Washington press corps - he pulled off that Military Commissions statute, unconstitutional though it was, without anyone noticing his true motivation, which to me was as plain as the Space Needle would be if suddenly moved to Death Valley.

By way of contrast, the C+ student from Texas A&M just looks more and more out to lunch with each one of these painful, embarrassing Republican debates. He can't explain his "ideas," such as they are, with any clarity whatsoever. He's utterly lost trying to think in public. The coup de grace may have been delivered last night by "Saturday Night Live," where Alec Baldwin played a clueless, stumblebum Perry in a debate to oafish, moronic perfection. Even the Washington press corps would wonder how we could have fallen so low if this guy got elected. So I think they're going to cut Ol' Rick off at the pass and stop his run for the White House.

That's actually a pretty good litmus test: when a candidate is too dumb for the media in this country, you know we've got a real lamebrain on our hands.

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