Friday, September 11, 2015

Good-Bye Before Hello: Ricky Perry’s Self-Justifying 9/11 Drop-Out

My buddy John alerted me to Rick Perry’s exit from the race today. He speculated that now Kasich’s numbers might “take off a little, if not big.” In his text was a quip about the remaining candidates: “good-bye before hello.”

For me, I never got a chance to say hello to Perry. Donald Trump was immediately more interesting than all of the other candidates put together. He didn’t have to use self-justifying rhetoric to establish his conservative bona fides. He just said amazing true things, bluntly and spontaneously, that we have long wished all rightwing politicians would say. Trump’s remarks have been memorable and witty, electrifying the base and framing the entire presidential race, not just the Republican side.

Rick Perry’s announcement was a litany of self-justification and conservative boilerplate. Unlike Trump’s off-the-cuff chatter, it was pre-packaged, overly-composed, and non-spontaneous. It sounded very much from his heart, but run through a processor to smooth out the grit and cover the bitterness of defeat. Trump speaks from the heart, but leaves in the crunchy granola, giving us something to chew on.

Instead, today Perry gave us pablum about his wife and his house and his kids and his dogs. If that’s what you’re gasping about after mile two of a marathon, maybe you should have trained harder or entered a 2k. He’s talking about sunsets and the real presidential race hasn’t even hit high noon.

Why couldn’t Perry just say he’s quitting? Why use a euphemism like “suspending,” as if there is a chance he will resume? He’s not hitting the pause button on his Netflix account or stopping his newspaper delivery while on vacation. He’s quitting. He failed.

Perry picked the wrong day to make this speech. He could easily have waited for September 12, and should have. Making his announcement  on September 11 was thoughtless, and says little for a party and ideology that stand for fighting for our country when things get rough. Please allow us to think about 9/11 on 9/11, and come back when it’s over to drop out with grace.

I hear the Perry super PAC has a lot of money left that it is allowed to keep. What will be done with that money? Will it be used to fight Donald Trump? Because if it is, Trump can call off his pledge.

All of the success in Texas he trumpeted — and it seems rightly so — should have been bragged about more when he was campaigning. Guess what fellas: If you want to be president, you better make it all about you, because it’s you you’re selling, not conservatism.

There’s far too much to criticize about Perry’s speech. The worst parts were his swipes at Trump, which were frankly disloyal to the GOP, and not in the spirit of the pledge all the candidates took. Perry better prepare to vigorously stump for the Trump, and not stab the man that breathed life into presidential politics while fairly beating him at the game.

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