Election 2012

What the Heck Is Rick Perry Talking About?


Have fun attempting to decipher these excerpts from Rick Perry's speech to a conservative group in New Hampshire last Friday: 

It's a gotcha-reel, obviously and Huffington Post political reporter Jon Ward notes that although the speech was "unusually expressive," these selected clips are not perfectly representative of the speech as a whole.

They're still a big problem for Perry, and probably the chief reason for his rapid decline in the polls. The issue for the Texas governor's campaign is that clips like this one seem to be the rule rather than the exception. In unscripted debates, he can barely manage to repeat practiced, prepared attacks cogently. And even in scripted speeches, like this one, he often comes across as loopy and incoherent. 

One might protest that the campaign season puts far too much emphasis on a candidate's ability to speak in polished soundbites. After all, the president's job is to be a leader and a manager. That's true to some extent, and I've heard from a number of reliable sources that as governor, Perry's strength is administrative delegation: He brings in competent people and lets them work. That's probably fine as governor, even in a big state like Texas. But to a much greater extent part of the job of president is to be a sort of ever-present face and frontman for the good old U-S-of-A, both internally and externally. It's a communications position as much as a management gig, and Perry isn't exactly inspiring confidence in his ability to do that part of the job. 

Read Reason's Rick Perry candidate profile here


NEXT: Rick Perry's Flat Tax Snake Oil

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  1. Sounding loopy and incoherent didn’t prevent Bush Jr. from becoming president.

    1. I heard a joke this morning that Perry sounds like Bush if Bush hadn’t quit drinking.

      1. Bush bashing is funny, but the fact is that he could express his position, whether you liked it or not, quite clearly, if not eloquently. He actually kicked both Gore and Kerry’s ass in some of the debates with his direct manner. Perry seems to be really stupid. I don’t think Bush really was.

      2. George W Bush + Toastmasters = Barack Obama

        George W Bush + Jack Daniels = Rick Perry

        1. Correction
          George W Bush + commanding use of a teleprompter = Barack Obama

          1. ahh the old RW teleprompter meme…back fm the undead.

        2. Simultaneous equations that share a term, huh? Subtracting the 2nd from the 1st and rearranging, we get:

          Toastmasters + Rick Perry = Barack Obama + Jack Daniels

          1. According to http://www.jackdaniels.com/Recipes/Cocktails.aspx ,

            Lynchburg Lemonade = Jack Daniels + triple sec + sour mix + 4*(lemon lime soda)


            Toastmasters + Rick Perry + triple sec + sour mix + 4*(lemon-lime soda) = Barack Obama + Lynchburg Lemonade

            Rearranging again and dividing thru to solve, we get:

            lemon-lime soda = 0.25*(Barack Obama + Lynchburg Lemonade – Toastmasters – Rick Perry – triple sec – sour mix)

            Substituting 7Up for the generic lemon-lime soda and dividing by 7, it becomes apparent that Up is 1/7 of what’s on the right side of that equals sign.

    2. I like it when Reason jumps on a bandwagon.

  2. Who gives a shit. He’s not a contender.

      1. He will be as soon as Reason and their friends drag Cain through the mud behind a truck.

    1. Yeah, he flamed out fast. Of course, that leaves…Romney.

      1. This is a tragedy in the making.

      2. Good Sod, Epi! Bite your toungue.

        1. Hey, man, just pointing out the obvious.

          1. What’s behind Door #3?

  3. [P]art of the job of president is to be a sort of ever-present face and frontman for the good old U-S-of-A, both internally and externally. It’s a communications position as much as a management gig…

    This may be what the position has become, but probably because we keep electing empty suits. There’s virtually nothing I like about Perry, but perpetuating this video that you admit is a gotcha-reel is frustrating.

    1. Agreed. Can you do another hit piece on Madonna instead?

    2. But to a much greater extent

      Really? Being a nifty talker is that much more important to you than being a manager?

      1. Hank,

        Yes, I think so. Think about how much time a president spends giving and preparing speeches, how much time he spends meeting with other political leaders, foreign and domestic, how much of his day is spent being figurehead/frontman. Obviously presidential styles differ, and some are more hands on than others, but much, probably most, of the day-to-day administrative work ends up being taken care of by staff.

        1. You’re probably right. At the very least, I can agree whole-heartedly that this video (and every other appearance Perry’s made) lead me to believe he’s not fit for the job.

          1. No, he is dead wrong
            -go with your instincts Hank

        2. The current president is a nifty speaker when the teleprompter is on, but not so good at actually being an executive and having policies that work for anyone except certain favored special interests.

          I mean, I’m not voting for Perry, but it’s that sort of priority setting by voters that got us Obama.

        3. Peter, I think that when a President views himself as being primarily a figurehead/frontman, you get pretty much what we have now.

          Which is an unmitigated disaster. And would be even if he was from Team Red.

        4. Obviously presidential styles differ, and some are more hands on than others, but much, probably most, of the day-to-day administrative work ends up being taken care of by staff.

          So, umm, wouldn’t the ability to pick decent staff and delegate be important?

  4. From what I’ve seen of Perry I can only imagine that his handlers must be some off the best in the business, because he appears to be one of the dumbest guys I’ve ever seen. Unable to string together a coherent sentence, a cogent argument or even debate on the subject at hand a la his attack from nowhere on Romney for his “immigration” problem with the lawnmowing service. Clearly it has not been his ability that has gotten him this far.

    Romney’s handlers on the other hand must feel lottery winners. They have such an unctuous, poised guy that all they have to do is let him go and do his thing. One can only imagine how the shallow, need to follow a great one crowd must just salivate over him.

    1. …[Perry] appears to be one of the dumbest guys I’ve ever seen.

      Seriously, this. I’ve been shouting this from the rooftops ever since the first debate. The guy just isn’t very bright, and it’s transparently obvious. He brought in a ton of money on hype and expectations before people saw him in action. I expect him to blow through his cash and find his revenue stream dried up, then he’ll drop out after finishing fifth in Iowa.

    2. I have to agree; Perry is clearly so not ready for prime time it’s embarrassing.

      His newest line is “I’m a doer, not a talker.” But Suderman is right here, talking is a pretty important part of being the president, whether it should be or not.

    3. You could have asked any of us Texans five years ago; everybody knows the man’s a moron, but he’s had the good taste to not try to do much of anything.

      1. Having been born in Oklahoma I don’t really bother with Texans.

      2. When you put it that way, it sounds almost gentlemanly.

      3. he’s had the good taste to not try to do much of anything

        Sounds like a good reason to vote for him, to me.

        1. I don’t trust him to continue that tastefulness in office.

      4. he’s had the good taste to not try to do much of anything.

        Saying things like that make me like the guy.

        1. Same here. Rather a person who knows his limits over a person who thinks reading the NY Times makes him an expert at all levels.

  5. Rick, it’s noo-klee-er, not noo-kyuh-ler.

    And trust me, get a teleprompter, it fooled most of the people some of the time.

    1. One has to believe that this is a southern tick that no one really wants to fix, because it would make them less “country”. JFK’s Cuber never bothered anyone, it was just cute. As a “realator” once told me, it’s a dozen of one, six of the other.

    2. …Titties!

      1. You called?

      2. Doug is bouncing off the walls
        Ray is drooling big spit balls
        Bill is breaking large objects

        Kids on coffee

        Where’s my Bonus Cup?
        Come on man, fill me up
        I need some Krappers to wash it down
        Bonus Bonus Bonus!!!

        Went driving down to San Diego
        Passing by the nuclear tits
        Go away off my earth!!!

  6. But to a much greater extent part of the job of president is to be a sort of ever-present face and frontman for the good old U-S-of-A, both internally and externally.

    Which explains why we need another Calvin Coolidge to end that kind of stupidity.

    1. Not saying I disagree, but let’s get real: there is never going to be another Calvin Coolidge type president in an era where people actually care about what Kim Kardashian and her stupid husband are doing.

      1. Abandon all hope…

        We will get the govt that the majority of us deserve.

        1. Yepper. THANKS A LOT, MAJORITY!!

          *flips double birds to the Majority?*

          1. *Majority? too busy watching Dancing with the Stars to notice*

      2. Kim is just the lastest in a long line. Fascination with celebrities and their love life is nothing new.

        1. Here’s what the dipshit leftists in my office were talking about this morning: that it was “obscene” how much money their wedding cost and that they really should have used the money to do stuff like buy food for the (apparently) hordes of American children who are (apparently) starving. Conclusion: it makes them “sick” and “something should be done about it.” No word on what that something is but maybe their daily mutual reassurances of the moral superiority of their wounded sense of fairness will give birth to a retarded idea one of these days! I’ll keep you posted.

          1. Hey, I got it! REDISTRIBUTION! That’s the key to saving all those starving children we see daily on our capitalistic streets! You’re obviously just a libert-aryan racist homophobe elitist homophobe who mocks those infinitely your greater!11!

          2. What percentage of your co-worker’s savings did they spend on their weddings? Because I don’t think Kim is missing any meals, but I know people who spent $15K on a wedding when the couple’s combined income was $45K/year or less.

            1. Remember, that wedding was brought to you by OJ’s money.

              1. Money that could have been spent searching every golf course in the world for the real killer.

  7. Me want loopy incoherent leader.
    Him confuse opponents good!

  8. But to a much greater extent part of the job of president is to be a sort of ever-present face and frontman for the good old U-S-of-A, both internally and externally. It’s a communications position as much as a management gig, and Perry isn’t exactly inspiring confidence in his ability to do that part of the job.

    Eat shit.

    Even though it may be true, the continuing insistence that the P’s most important job is to speak is an abomination.

    It’s time to change the qualifications to get the job. If libertarians are to play an important role in the next generation of politics (shit is changing if we haven’t noticed) we need to help change the environment, and an environment where we have libertarians insisting that the most important job of the president is to be an empty suit is one that can lick taint.

    1. I think it’s reasonable to demand a minimum amount of speaking ability, like, for instance, coherence. Perry lacks that.

      1. I agree. There have to be, what, 150 million Americans who qualify for the office of the President, and we can’t find one who can both fulfill the duties of the Office AND talk about it without sounding like a jackass?

    2. “shit is changing if we haven’t noticed”

      As far as I can tell shit isn’t changing at all. If Romney is the Republican nominee and all those Tea Partiers vote for him in the general anyway then shit definately isn’t changing. Maybe they’ll surprise me.

      1. At the end of the day, TEAM RED dipshits will pull the lever for the TEAM RED candidate, and TEAM BLUE dipshits will pull the lever for Obama.

        Shit ain’t changing, because partisans don’t change.

    3. As a child I gathered that a politician’s job is to make speeches. Although I have a fuller understanding now, I think that’s still true to a 1st approx’n. That’s still what they mostly do in public. In private, they steal.

  9. If libertarians are to play an important role in the next generation of politics

    No offense, but I stopped reading right here…

    1. If unicorns shat rainbows…

    2. Ye of little faith!

  10. I’m waiting for some watery tart to throw a scimitar at someone already!

    1. That’s no basis for a system of government. Supreme power is derived by mandate from the masses.

      Bonus: come see the violence inherent in the system!

  11. A real marxist lays into OWS for what they really are: a bunch of whiny elitist bitches.


  12. If being a poor public speaker disqualifies someone from being president, doesn’t that also disqualify Ron Paul, who is a pretty bad public speaker as well? I’m surprised no one has addressed that yet.

    Also, being a poor public speaker doesn’t necessarily make someone dumb. Some people (like myself) are incredibly shy and awkward, and can write much better than they speak, but that doesn’t make them dumb. Granted,I don’t think Perry’s problem is “shyness”, but I disgress.

    And keep in mind, it takes a pretty exceptional (or perhaps egomaniacal?) human being to appear in a debate viewed by millions of people and talk in clear, coherent sentences without getting nervous or stumbling on words. Would any reasonably intelligent person here be able to to it? I’m starting to think only the most arrogant, overconfident egomaniacs are “qualified” to become president as people have defined it, and that’s not really a good thing.

    1. I agree. Beyond an ability to articulate your positions, I don’t see why you’d need to be Shakespeare Junior for the position. You’re applying for a job that entails (or should, at least) faithfully serving and protecting a limited, republican system of government, not out-speaking Adolf Hitler.

      A commander-in-chief that’s willing to, say, issue an executive order commanding that all enforcement of anti-drug legislation, or the Gun Control Act of 1968, or ObamneyCare is to cease immediately, and that the consequences of refusing to do so would be tantamount to insurrection (use the federal titan’s current claim of scope and power to your own advantage), but has to communicate almost exclusively in writing because he blows so much at public speaking, is infinitely better than an empty fucking suit like Obama or Romney.

    2. Paul would be a better Budgeter in Chief, but sadly that position doesn’t exist.

    3. Being a poor public speaker doesn’t mean you’re dumb. But in a politician, it is dumb, because what does a politician primarily do? Persuade people. Unless you’re a dictator, everything you do as a pol depends on persuading people; they won’t obey you unless you convince them to. Even the people an executive orders around aren’t simply taking orders, except, you know, the lunch order, because they’re politicians too with their own ambitions, and they’re not going to do something that makes them look later on like shits. And to persuade people, you need their att’n 1st, and they won’t pay much att’n to someone who’s not a good speaker, regardless of the contents of the speech.

      1. To take an extreme case, could you imagine a mute politician? Who could ever elect a mute? Unless you know sign language yourself, how could you even trust hir interpreter? Same of course for a politician who isn’t mute but doesn’t speak the language of the country.

  13. I think Rick Perry is ready to go home. And this is just his way of making sure that happens.

    1. His big campaign ad was fucking awesome. I wish it was Ron Paul’s.

  14. OT: Scarlett Johansson

    One guy Johansson still sounds happy to stand beside these days is Barack Obama, whom she campaigned for back in 2008.

    “When we were stumping for him, part of his platform was his wish to bring both parties together,” she responded to a question about the president’s administration being a disappointment so far. “People wanted to end this partisanship and thought we’d all hold hands and dance around the Maypole. But it doesn’t work like that…We’re all guilty of being idealists, I and everyone who voted for him.”

    Johansson (who in the meantime will be campaigning for NYC mayoral candidate Scott Springer) said she’d work for Obama again, calling it “irresponsible not to,” and maybe-joked that she’d move to New Zealand if either Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann wins the 2012 election.

    I’ve got a thing for that woman, but seriously, isn’t there a single non-lefty Hollywood star out there besides Animal Mother?

    1. Clint Eastwood for one.

    2. Eastwood

    3. But think of how unfair it would be if Scarlett Johansson had brains to go with those looks.

      1. God, those boobs…

      1. Now that I think about it more, we need Snake.

      2. I didn’t know that, and thanks for pointing it out — that’s awesome:

        Russell is a Libertarian. In 1996, he stated: “I was brought up as a Republican. But when I realized that at the end of the day there wasn’t much difference between a Democrat and Republican, I became a libertarian.”[8] He claims he was often viewed as an outcast in Hollywood because of his libertarian views, so he and Hawn moved to an area outside Aspen, Colorado.[when?][citation needed]
        In February 2003, Russell and Hawn moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, so that their son could play hockey. Russell is an FAA licensed private pilot holding single/multi-engine and instrument ratings and is an Honorary Board Member of the humanitarian aviation organization Wings of Hope.

        1. Isn’t Aspen in California?

          Btw, “Big Trouble in Little China” is a funny movie.

    4. Let her move with her subpar titties.

  15. You should see the CSPAN video of his interview with the NH paper on Friday…very, very strange.

  16. HEY NOW WAIT A MINUTE! I didn’t think until now to click on the video and listen to the guy, and I listened to the first few cuts and I had no trouble at all understanding him. Is the knock on him that he’s too colloquial, too folksy? You prefer formal and stodgy? There may be a lot wrong with this guy, but I see no problem with his speaking style if this is the worst they can put together. Were they hiding all the incoherence in the last 5:30? Do I have to listen to the whole thing? Although I don’t find it difficult or painful, it’s not exactly riveting content either.

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