The Left is very, very, very worried about Rick Perry. At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum has assembled a long list of alleged problems Perry has, all of which explain (in Drum’s mind) why Perry can’t possibly win. Aside from the fact that the list is jaw-droppingly amusing (I’ll explain more below), Drum precedes it with a caveat that pretty much negates all his wishful thinking:
Before I get to that, though, I have a mealymouthed caveat or three. First, if the economy is bad enough, anyone can win. And right now, the odds of the economy being bad enough are a little too close for comfort. Second, in recent years you could lose a lot of money continually underestimating the lemming-like power of the Republican Party to dive off ever-higher cliffs. Third, it’s absolutely true that you can make a pretty good case that none of the current GOP candidates can possibly win the nomination. And yet, someone will.
And there’s more. Perry is unquestionably a very good, very shrewd politician. He has access to lots of money. And he can deliver a pretty good speech. My beloved wife just finished listening to his announcement speech and told me, “He’s my favorite Republican right now.” When I grimaced, she just gave me a scary look. Scary because it’s the look that means she sees something that’s invisible to a committed partisan like me.
After these caveats, all of which (especially the first) are compelling reasons to believe that Perry can win, Drum dives into the business of “proving” that, in fact, Perry is a loser from the get go. I’m still laughing:
1. Everyone looks good before they get into the race. Remember how great Tim Pawlenty was supposed to be? But just wait a few months for Perry to get beat up by his opponents, for the oppo research to kick in, for all the big profiles to start appearing, and for a gaffe or two to get some play. He’ll start to look distinctly more human then.
2. He’s too Texan. Sorry. Maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not. But even in the Republican Party, not everyone is from the South and not everyone is bowled over by a Texas drawl. Perry is, by a fair amount, more Texan than George W. Bush, and an awful lot of people are still suffering from Bush fatigue.
4. He’s too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I’m keenly aware that Americans don’t vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I’ve read about Perry suggests that he’s a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there’s a limit to how doltish they can be too.
[You can see the rest of the list here.]
Okay, it’s the last one I quoted that keeps the giggles coming. After all this time, the Left is still committed to the belief that Obama, the most gaffe-prone president I’ve ever seen, is a genius. And we’re not talking type of gaffes that are the oral equivalent of typos (such as “misunderestimate”). We’re talking, instead, the gaffes of a profoundly uninformed, disinterested person: the “Austrian” language, our 57 states, the famed military “corpse” men, the unknown American liberation of Auschwitz…. We’re also talking about a man who, despite his vaunted brilliance, has kept his grades locked up tighter than Fort Knox. We’re talking about the law school lecturer who never published. I could go on, but you’ll fill in the dumb blanks as well as I can.
If the best the Left can come up with his that Perry is mean, dumb, smarmy, religious and Texas, I’m seeing the 1980 election writ large all over again, the only difference being that Carter, for all that he was a terrible president and a dour man, at least had a discernible intellect.