“Rick Perry is just like my dad”

A conservative endorsement

Topics: 2012 Elections, Rick Perry, RedState,

"Rick Perry is just like my dad"Rick Perry (Credit: AP/Eric Gay)

Ten contributors to the conservative blog RedState have collaborated on a post endorsing Rick Perry for the presidency. Yes, that Rick Perry. The one who hasn’t led a national poll of Republicans since late September. The one who only makes headlines when he says something amusingly stupid. “Don’t settle,” their headline urges. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t routinely humiliate himself every single time he attempts to speak extemporaneously.

The post lays out Perry’s oft-told history of being a true conservative tax-cuttin’ god-fearin’ job-creator, says every other candidate is vulnerable and insists that Perry can win. But what about the fact that the guy appears to be the dumbest person in the room every time he’s in front of a camera? Oh, that’s a minor problem, really.

The one knock on Perry is that his poor debate performances and periodic campaign trail gaffes will open him to the same vulnerabilities in office as President Bush: an inability to respond to criticism or explain his own policies.

Perry’s poor communication skills are easily overcome:

Second, debating skill takes on outsize importance in the primaries, when candidates have to stand out on a stage crowded with 7 or 8 people who all agree with each other 80-90% of the time. All Rick Perry needs to do is step onstage and everyone will know how he’s different from Barack Obama.

Well, that’s undeniable. (Emphasis mine.)

The “Not Mitt Romney” coalition — remember the internet petition? — is basically out of time. We’ll see, after Iowa, whether they give up or go with Perry, should he eke out a decent finish.

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It’s actually within the realm of possibility that Perry could take the nomination, I guess. One poll has him at third place in Iowa again, with Gingrich declining. He has a lot of money.

But Perry is precisely the sort of toxic candidate that the White House would be thrilled to run against. (Most recent polls show Obama barely beating Romney, and handily trouncing Perry.) The two things he’s made headlines for recently have been going well outside the mainstream with desperate anti-gay bigotry and double dipping on his massive government pension.

RedState founder Erick Erickson has previously written a dejected post bemoaning the inevitable nomination of Romney, and wishing he could take back his rejection of Jon Huntsman. But it’s obviously too late for that. Erickson did not jump on the Perry bandwagon and isn’t likely to any time soon.

These guys are just nostalgic for that brief moment when Perry showed up to save the party from nominating that unlikable loser Romney, before the governor ruined it all by opening his mouth. It’s just about that mental image of Barack Obama and Rick Perry on a stage together, and fantasizing that the scales will fall from the eyes of everyone in America, and they’ll all realize that that is what a president is supposed to look like.

They quote a blogger (also highlighted by the great Roy Edroso) making the most intriguing argument for Rick Perry I’ve yet seen:

Until yesterday, I wasn’t completely sure why I liked Rick Perry so much. I have a list of reasons, but none of them really got to the root of why I like him.

Yesterday the reason finally dawned on me. I watched this wonderful 11-minute video from Ben Howe entitled “The Rick Perry I Know”…

… and I had a revelation: Rick Perry is just like my Dad.

And there’s the decision-making process of the conservative base, laid bare. Vote for dumb right-wing dad.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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