Our Next President Did An Interview….

The Washington Post, proving both that the media loves a come back story and that “news” is whatever the press decides to cover, met with once and future candidate for President of the United States, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.  Yes, not even his performance in the 2012 GOP debates is enough to disqualify this man from seeking the highest office in the land.  In order to forestall imagining his competition for the 2016 nomination (Romney?  Cruz?  Rubio?  Bush?  Paul?  Ryan?  A different Bush?  Christie?  Hannity?  Santorum?) let’s instead check out the WaPo article.

Gov. Rick Perry (R) leads a tour and points out a historically inaccurate depiction of frontiersman Davy Crockett in an oil painting in the foyer (“His coonskin cap — that’s a myth”).

Also a myth?  That Perry thinks a “coonskin” cap is a cap made from the skins of black people.  Anyway…

In Sam Houston’s bedroom upstairs, Perry lifts an antique upholstered settee, a gift from the French, to read an engraving signifying Texas’s early-1800s ties to France.

See folks, he can read.

He shows off a Civil War-era saber that belonged to a Union general and mentions having just read a thesis on race in America that his friend’s black father wrote in 1970.

Okay, I call shenanigans.  A man with a ranch once named “Niggerhead” spends his spare time reading a thesis on race relations?  As the WaPo continues:

Rick Perry is trying to show that he is not the Rick Perry you remember.

but you can go a step too far in your attempts to reinvent yourself.  You have to keep it believable.  Rick Santorum could give an interview stating that he thinks civil unions are a proper compromise instead of true marriage equality and that while he personally didn’t believe in contraception, he had come around to the belief that contraceptive choices should be between consenting adults and their God and you may nod your head to yourself, thinking, “Self, I can see how someone could get to those positions from where he was, and even if his personal beliefs haven’t changed, toning down his truly radical beliefs makes political sense.”  But if Rick showed up on The Daily Show to bring Jon Steward a “Rainbow Whopper” and give an interview where he supported not only complete marriage equality but also said that the GOP should get their politics out from between women’s legs, that the Republicans should respect the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe V Wade, that abortion should be covered under medicaid,  that because of the Hobby Lobby decision the federal government should set up a single payer plan to provide all American female citizens free contraception, and that because of his past statements and actions he wanted to offer Dan Savage a blow job, in public or private, with a solemn promise to swallow you would no doubt raise an eyebrow, laugh your ass off, and call shenanigans.

You know, like Rick Perry reading a thesis.

Moving on…..

Rick Perry is trying to show that he is not the Rick Perry you remember. Gone, it seems, is the blustery bravado, the empty rhetoric, the cowboy boots — and, yes, the “oops” moments. This Perry comes across as studious, contemplative and humble. He said he is at peace with his 2012 presidential campaign, in which his shoot-first-aim-later approach proved catastrophic, but is hungry to redeem himself.

As Perry packs his belongings at the governor’s mansion after 14 years in office, he is undergoing exhaustive preparations to run again for president in 2016. He is striving to make a better second impression than his first one.

It is not only that Gov. Perry wants to make a better second impression.  The Washington Post wants him to make a better second impression.  The entire beltway press wants him to make a better second impression.  Not for any personal feelings they have towards Gov. Perry, but rather because Governors from Texas who aren’t the sharpest pencil in the holder make good stories that sell papers and draw eyeballs.  Make it an underdog story as well, a candidate who crashed and burned last cycle, rising like a phoenix from his ashes?  Who cares if he’d make a good president, he would make a phenomenal candidate.  But only if he isn’t a joke.  Hence, the all important re-introduction to the national stage.

“We are a substantially different, versed candidate,” he said. He noted that other politicians who endure such humiliation might “scurry off to the quietness and the comfort of some obscure place, and I wasn’t interested in doing that. I think that this country is begging for leadership.”

Did he just refer to himself as a singular “we?”  As for things the country is begging for, I can think of a few.  Maybe a constitutional amendment limiting the effect of money on elections?  An end to single member districts?  A recalibration of our income inequality?  A serious look at race relations, especially in regards to interactions between the police and the members of communities they supposedly serve and protect?  A control-alt-delete hard reset of our culture to somehow fix the assumption that sexual assault victims, apart from the victims of every other crime, are vindictive liars with hidden agendas.  If that is too much to ask, how about shifting it so instead of just telling women how not to get raped, we make the focus teaching men not to rape?  Honest talk on the War on Drugs?  The country is “begging” for many things.  It has no shortage of potential leaders though.  Only leaders with anything new to say.

Perry sat down with The Washington Post for a wide-ranging 90-minute interview over lunch here Monday. He discussed his political rehabilitation, which this month includes day-long tutorial sessions with conservative scholars.

I invite you to read for yourself and see if he is a leader with anything new to say.  There is much more to his interview than what I’m going to touch on….

Perry also is hosting seven dinners at the mansion this month for about 600 potential campaign donors from around the country. At each dinner — funded by Texans for Rick Perry — he plays a three-minute, amped-up video promoting his economic legacy of transforming Texas into “a haven of opportunity” with “unparalleled prosperity.”

Perry insists that he has not decided whether to run and said he won’t announce a decision until May or June, but he nonetheless offered a rationale for his candidacy.

This is great.  Seriously.  Get ready…..

“You want the guy in the front left seat to be more than a low-time, private pilot,” he said. “You’d like to have the person in the front left seat of your aircraft being a rather high-time, experienced aviator.”

Damn.  He’s got my vote.

After Republican Greg Abbott is sworn in as governor Jan. 20, Perry’s immediate priority will be to make serious money, something he has never done. He is considering writing a memoir — how a Boy Scout from Paint Creek became governor and presided over “the Texas miracle” economic boom — as well as giving paid speeches and serving on corporate boards, his advisers say.

The only question I have is whether the Washington Post will spit or swallow at the end of this article.  Imagine the next part like the training montage from Rocky.

Perry has entrusted his political future to Jeff Miller, a strategist from California who has moved here and taken charge of the operation. Longtime national operatives Terry Nelson, Steve Schmidt and Henry Barbour also are advising Perry, while economist Abby McCloskey is organizing his policy preparations.

…..

This week, Perry began intensive news media training, as advisers staged mock on-camera interviews with hostile questioning. Perry also has been working with speech coaches at Podium Master, a GOP firm run by an alumnus of the Royal Shakespeare Company, to improve his presentation skills.

….

Experts at top think tanks have been flying to Austin to tutor the governor. On Thursday, he will sit for six hours with former Bush administration economists Greg Mankiw, Keith Hennessey, Glenn Hubbard and Diana Furchgott-Roth to discuss economic growth, labor markets, taxation and regulation.

Perry recently held freewheeling, all-day sessions on health care and income inequality, and plans more this month on energy and environment, budget and entitlements, education, immigration and financial services.

“The governor is in the top tier in terms of the amount of preparation that he’s putting in,” said Avik Roy, a former policy adviser to Romney, who briefed Perry on health care and has met with other 2016 hopefuls. Perry, he said, “is asking questions throughout and interjecting throughout. . . . They’re absolutely not talking-point conversations.”

Last week, Perry studied income inequality and economic mobility with experts Scott Winship, Erin Currier and Aparna Mathur.

Fuck.  Is this one of those paid advertisement things?  You know, the “story” that takes up a full page to bring you the “breakthrough” of the century, the Amish made shelf with a cheap space heater that you can only buy if your zip code is one of the listed one, or the “found” stash of uncirculated coins that could include (but probably doesn’t) incredibly rare coins worth thousands of dollars, and you can buy a random bag of these coins for just 19.99 plus shipping and handling as long as your zip code ends in 1, 2, 3, 4 to 8, 9, or 0?  (My local fishwrap can’t be the only one that has these stupid full page fake news stories, can it?  I mean, they say “paid advertisement” at the top or bottom of the page in small print, but they are set up as an actual news story.  My favorite is the above mentioned “Amish Miracle Heater,” which uses the awe many Pennsylvanians (and Americans?  Not sure if this awe is a local thing or not…) have for Amish craftsmanship to sell people….electric heaters.  Yep, electric.  Amish.  They take this cheap space heater, make a metric ton of unsubstantiated claims about its efficiency, add in a few testimonials, then stick the heater into an Amish made cabinet, which apparently somehow transfers the Amish craftsmanship from the cabinet to the heater.  I guess it is special Amish Fairy Magick.  I wonder if those guys from Amish Mafia are involved in this.  Hmmmm.  Rick Perry, that’s what I was talking about.  Rick Perry and this hand job of an article.

Don’t worry.  Even in a piece that tosses softballs like Larry King, Rick Perry can’t keep his foot away from his mouth, nor his head far from his ass.  The question had to come from a different article, but still….

In the Post interview, he was asked about the growing gap between rich and poor in Texas, which has had strong job growth over the past decade but also has lagged in services for the underprivileged.

“Biblically, the poor are always going to be with us in some form or fashion,” he said. He cited statistics showing that since he took office in 2000, wages have increased among all four income quartiles. He said a young man who dropped out of high school in South Texas could make more than $100,000 a year as a truck driver.

Perry acknowledged that the richest Texans have experienced the greatest amount of earnings growth, but dismissed the notion that income inequality is a problem in the state, saying, “We don’t grapple with that here.”

Where to begin?  I’ll start with the vague anecdote.  I’d say 100k a year is a decent salary for a high school drop out,  but I have to wonder about the details of that particular story.  You need training to commercially drive a truck for starters.  Now I have heard stories of states where the only thing easier to get than a commercial drivers license was a handgun, but I have no idea what kind of training the state of Texas requires.  We’ll assume only that there is some hurdle here you must clear before being able to claim your 100k a year truck driving job, some form of training program or higher education.

Which, of course, is tough to afford when poor, but I know, life is hard.  Deal.

But 100k a year?  What, driving for a company, or as an owner/operator?  If it is the latter we have to first deal with what lottery our high school drop out won to buy his first rig, so we’ll assume it is the former.  How many years has it taken our high school drop out to work up to a 100k a year salary?  How many hours a week is our truck driver actually driving?  (And not what he puts in his little log book either, I mean actual hours behind the wheel.)  Is he ever home?  Does he have a life outside driving? Is he breaking the law to earn that 100k?  (If you wonder what I am talking about, look into the problem the US has with sleep deprived truck drivers infesting our highways.  It is a very disturbing rabbit hole to spend a few hours down.)

I’m not making any specific point here other than that Perry’s hypothetical high school drop out driving a truck for 100k a year is a meaningless anecdotal statement.  And it is disturbing when the highlight of your answer is a statement that is merely pointless.

No, it is Perry’s flippant hand waving away of the income inequality issue that is more troubling than pointless anecdotes.  First he cited no source less than the Bible in defining poverty as not something that can be fixed, but rather part of human society that can never be changed.  Then he doubles down, admitting that the majority of earnings growth has gone to the richest few in Texas while denying that income inequality is even a problem.

While the American public no doubt has millions of suggestions on how income inequality should be dealt with, no amount of handwaving is going to make the majority of Americans who believe it is a problem simply forget about it come next election.

Rick Perry is going to use his time out of office to make “serious money,” because Rick Perry is only poor rich.  Yeah, he’s rich compared to you and me, but holding public office since 1985 has seriously hampered his earning potential, meaning he’s poor next to say, Romney.  And make no mistake about it, the Texas Governor is going to cash the fuck in once he leaves office, and more power to him for it.  Like it or not, that is the system we have, and if people are willing to pay him to speak at their gatherings, and to pay for a ghost written book of his memoirs, then God Bless Capitalism.  But even before his “serious money” windfall, Gov. Perry’s opinion and viewpoints on income inequality and poverty are those of a man who has never lived paycheck to paycheck.  Income inequality isn’t a problem for Gov. Perry, because while the super rich have more than him, he still has what he needs and he knows he can get more.  And that’s how he sees the other classes as well.  Sure, they have less than the class above them, but they have enough to get by, and if they work a little harder, they can move on up the ladder.  I mean, high school drop out truck driver, 100k a year.  See?

There is some more to the article, but nothing of any substance.  Much like Rick Perry.

Part of me could never see him as president elect after a successful campaign.

He’s another governor from Texas who makes the previous one look like an intellectual.  He’s a down home guy that I think a good portion of American men would want to have a beer with.  He can be likable and has an easy manner that sets others at ease.  He is gaffe prone yes, but is taking every effort to change that fact.  I’d say he isn’t qualified to be president, but really, other than the ability to get nominated by one of the two major parties, is there any qualification for the office?

Part of me could see him as president elect after a successful campaign.

 

 

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