Orbital Matters

Saturn Smith
Editor’s Pick
JULY 5, 2011 3:47PM

The Newest X-Man: Rick Perry

Rate: 9 Flag

I'm fairly certain that Texas Governor Rick Perry is trying his best to read former President George W. Bush's mind here:



It is heartening to know that I'm not the only one who enjoyed the newest X-men movie, even if I suspect Gov. Perry and I have little else in common.

That Perry would enjoy some telepathy right now is proven more true by the text of the article that follows the photo, where the argument is made that Perry is trying to distance himself from Bush as he gears up to land the Republican nomination:

But in recent years, Mr. Perry has broken politically with Mr. Bush, questioning his credentials as a fiscal conservative, accusing him of going on “a big government binge” and playing down some of Mr. Bush’s accomplishments in Texas in light of his own.

First of all, this isn't so much distancing himself from W. as it is stealing a page or eight out of W's playbook. When George W. Bush, governor of Texas, decided to run for the presidency, he didn't do it by agreeing with the standard-bearers of the time (John McCain) or the nominee from the last cycle (Bob Dole). He struck out on his own, promising a breed of conservatism that was going to be "compassionate" but also "conservative" in its embrace of tax cuts and stronger national security. This was in response to the nation's own desire for something a bit sweeter and simpler than the political imbroglios of the final Clinton years. Bush then went on to prove his commitment to some of those ideals by engaging in a bunch of wars while cutting taxes.

Perry, likewise, can read the Tea leaves, and he understands that the wide umbrella of Bushian regard available in 2004 is now tattered by the storms of 2008 and 2010. So he needs to strike out into a right-wing territory also known as "really, really conservative" land. Bush lived there for a while too, and then, post-election, something called "reality" happened.

Ultimately, it's going to be hard in many ways for Republicans to run against Bush because to do so, one has to be able to make the argument that Bush wasn't a fiscal conservative... which is true, except that what Bush overspent on wasn't feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, those tiresome ideas promoted by reasonable liberals, but on going to war after a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It's my understanding that no Republican (and no Democrat) can win the nomination by arguing that we shouldn't have gone looking for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, no matter what his or her position on the protracted war (and its counterpart in Iraq) is now.

So if you're Gov. Perry, maybe some mind-reading wouldn't hurt. Bush himself faced a quandary while running the first time: to oppose his father's kinder/gentler G.O.P. or to continue it? He picked a middle ground that somehow affirmed Bush 41's path while plainly showing he would be his own president. Perry's challenge is to do the same.

Seriously, though, if I had to choose, I'd vote Professor X over Governor Perry in a heartbeat. Dude's got morals and fingerless gloves. This is basically all I ask for in a candidate.

James McAvoy X Men First Class History

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If Rick Perry wants to get elected POTUS, I suggest that he first give every voting American a frontal lobotomy.
I'm a texan (yes, lowercase t) and I'm beseeching one and all. Do not elect this man as POTUS.
I hate Perry. No surprise. I hated Bush when he was a governor using Turdblossom* Rove to get the White House. They both were and continue to be liars.

Perry lied in early July on Fox news when he said he never received a call from the White House. He's lied about the EPA--air quality in Texas is the worst in the nation. He's lied about not cutting public education, with dropout rates near the bottom compared to every state, to refusing to use rainy day funds to bolster education...billions were cut, thousands of teaches will lose their jobs and class sizes will soar...which isn't a problem since most public schools in the state are minority majority Hispanic students now so it's ok since they don't really count.

He teased wingnut audiences with talk of secession from the Union to get them into a frothy frenzy. Texas is in a financial hole, billions still need to be cut and will be on the backs of the poor and indigent, yet he rejected hundreds of millions of stimulus money because he didn't like the conditions on how it was to be used.

And yet, vast swaths of people from across the country love him, or what they know of him. He's 60 years old and has been a politician his entire adult life, switching parties to get elected.

Of course, he sent a possible innocent man to the death chamber and fired the panel that was looking into hooky fire evidence in the case to keep the facts sequestered, then appointed party loyalists to the panel to squash the investigation.

Most recently he vetoed a texting while driving ban to keep his government is too intrusive chops in play.

Yeah, another liar from the Lone Star State. What else is new.

*Bush's nickname for Rove--apt.
I have serious doubts that the US is ready to elect another Texas governor to the presidency. Try as he might, Perry will have a difficult time distancing himself from his Austin predecessor, and I'm not sure his Tea Party pandering will play well at a national level. Of course, I didn't think Obama would make it to the nomination at this point in 2008, so what do I know?
Perry certainly is on the cutting edge of the tea party/conservative mantra of "Say anything".
Bbd, yes, to all of this. He's a terrible candidate and possibly, truly, a terrible guy. Have you read Ta-Nehisi Coates's takedown on the New York Times op-ed page? Worth a read. "The Haunting of Rick Perry."
Perry is -- what's the least pejorative term I can muster? -- an unmitigated liar and panderer, I suppose.

I, too live in Texas, though have never considered my self a Texan. Perry and Bush are both cut from the same cloth as was former political aspirant, Clayton Williams. You might remember him as the one who stupidly said in front of journalists galore: "Rape is like the weather, if it's inevitable, you might as well relax and do your best to enjoy it." No more campaign after that, I can tell ya.

I wish I could say the populace is smart enough to remember Bush's inept quoting of: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Bush is proof positive that you really can fool all the people some of the time. Let's hope that Lincoln is right in his aphorism that you cannot fool all the people all of the time and let's hope also that Rick Perry provides the proof of the pudding of that idea.

Perry, Paul, Bush, Williams -- all epitomize Texas politics: A good ole boy network of ne'er do wells and cronies who use lies, intimidation, whisper campaigns and scare tactics to get what they want, all the while saying what ever it is they think you want to hear to get only what they want -- power.

If Perry was an X-Man, I'd more likely tout his abilities akin to Havoc or Toad.
Maybe I don't understand what a true conservative is (even though I'm a retired political science professor), but if George W. Bush isn't conservative, Daffy ain't no duck. Perry, however, is a legitimate dumbass with the record to prove it.
While watching a round table discussion about Perry I saw a reporter say "The next Bush administration". This of course was a Freudian slip but it is the feeling of the nation. The best the Texas Governor can hope for is a VP slot but will the Republican nominee want that albatross around their neck is the big question.
Rick Perry? I better start taking notes! Great post! It was informative and fun!
Molly Ivns, did you read this post? Not as hilarious as you were, but hey when Texas politics seem ...telepathic and go national I'm certain you'd of approve.

Perry ticks me off. Any man with a college degree who conforms to Tealeaves ticks me off.

Look, I hassled OS for not employing you in Salon. One sentence.

Keep it coming. Humor has its place in pollyticking.

I do love your references to articles read and the pics kill me (almost don't need your pithy verbage because they are funny all alone) and wit.

I hope you are making money. I'd be sad if you were just giving these lines away for free.

Personally, I feel uncomfortable being so praising. I'm hoping you falter and I can rant, but ...ooweegoowee has its limits. I hate sweetness unending it turns my stomach (reflecting on Tammy Faye and being 18 years old and gagging, and laughing as I watched her. It took six months before I realized this was not a really badly written comedy.)

From now on I may only hit favorite and just send your articles to my FB friends.
whatever bilderberg group decides comes into play.
"Seriously, though, if I had to choose, I'd vote Professor X over Governor Perry in a heartbeat. Dude's got morals and fingerless gloves. This is basically all I ask for in a candidate."

I agree with that assessment, as I already discussed two weeks ago

A taste of what Rick Perry’s presidency would look like…

Very soon, he'll be called Rick "The Micromanager" Perry.
I'm not sure what you want us to take from your article other than:

1) a sense of "provincialism," specifically that the geography where one is from is of greater significance than what their beliefs are, or (worse) that where they are from be-defines them as somehow being an inferior human being,

2) a sense of "class-ism," that class pre-defines one as morally inferior or superior, as if the wealthy care less about the poor and the homeless

3) A retired political science teacher admits he doesn't know what a conservative is. (Not much surprise there).
if i were a cynic who remembered all too well that feeling of listening to a candidate (george w. bush) say what his pollsters told him a majority of the public wanted to hear, i'd say it doesn't probably matter much whose GOP bigwig staff members are mad at. the candidate is going to be romney (or maybe perry), whoever has the most $$ from the guys with the deep pockets (e.g., the koch brothers), is good-looking and can lie with a straight face. gah.

excellent piece, saturn.
I'm not saying that I like the guy. But you can't dismiss him too easily. He's deft and teflon...http://www.texastribune.org/texas-legislature/82nd-legislative-session/rick-perry-deft-leader-or-teflon-governor/
Another person living in Texas for many years checking in. Don't under any circumstances vote for Rick Perry! He is a blowhard and can't be trusted. He just used to look pretty cute. Now that is disappearing too. Where is Molly Ivins when you need her most? She would tell the truth and make it funny too.
Molly, please send us a message through one of your trusted, funny and honest colleagues!.
Very informative and careful analysis. I am amazed as how the X-Men and Rick Perry are mixed up in this post.
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