Political Animal


August 15, 2011 1:45 PM Love it or leave it?

By Steve Benen

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry campaigned in Iowa today, and made a rather provocative comment about President Obama.

Just minutes earlier, while delivering remarks at the Des Moines Register Soapbox here, Perry focused his fire on President Obama, who will be in a different part of the state later Monday.

“He says he’s on a listening tour,” Perry said, “so I’m going to talk to him.” … Perry warned that a “big black cloud” hangs over the country.

“I think you want a president who is passionate about America — that’s in love with America.”

Perry didn’t explicitly say the president doesn’t love America, but the implication wasn’t exactly subtle.

I find it rather remarkable, by the way, that the political world threw quite a tizzy when unnamed sources close to the Obama campaign referred to Mitt Romney has “weird,” but Rick Perry challenging the president’s patriotism — in public and on the record — is somehow acceptable.

Regardless, of all the lines Perry should feel comfortable pushing, this one should be awfully low on the list. You’ll recall that in early 2009, Perry was so outraged by Democratic efforts to clean up Republican messes, he pushed the rhetorical envelope much further than he should have.

Specifically, in April ‘09, he denounced the United States government as “oppressive,” arguing that it was “time to draw the line in the sand and tell Washington that no longer are we going to accept their oppressive hand in the state of Texas.” Soon after, he said he doesn’t want to “dissolve” the union of the United States, “But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

If voters want a president who is “passionate about America” and who is “in love with America,” they may think twice about electing someone who flirted with seceding from America.

Update: Here’s the video of Perry’s comments. For the record, this is not someone doing an imitation of George W. Bush; Perry really does talk this way.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2011 1:51 PM:

    I think the country he's passionate about, and in love with, is the "Confederate States of America."

    "Sesech" Perry needs to keep his mouth shut.

  • Ron Byers on August 15, 2011 1:52 PM:

    You have to admit our President is not the cheerleader type. Perry is attacking his cool personna. Not a bad attack. Obama is known for his cool and even handed disposition. That doesn't excite a lot of people. Of course it can be countered. By the way, did PArry hire the people who invented the European celebrity charge that flopped for McCain?

  • Grumpy on August 15, 2011 2:02 PM:

    When Republicans elected an Illinois lawyer as president, Texas seceded. Now a Texas seceder wants the Republicans to let him run for president against an Illinois lawyer.

  • Homer on August 15, 2011 2:03 PM:

    The Wall Street Journal can call the President of the US an "anti-american leftist" and no one bats an eye. So Perry could flat out say Obama hates America and it wouldn't be a big deal. Another case of IOIYAR.

  • LaFollette Progressive on August 15, 2011 2:04 PM:

    "I think you want a president who is passionate about America ó thatís in love with America."

    Perry does have this kind of persona. He comes off as the kind of guy who will be passionate and tell you he loves you before screwing you, but then kick you out on the street in the morning and refuse to pay child support. America, take note.

  • jjm on August 15, 2011 2:08 PM:

    Come on. Enough with the Rick Perry who 'wants to make Washington DC irrelevant' and who has talked up seceding more times than I can count.

    Enough with giving the mantle of 'American' to the very southerner who HATE America.

    And what about that 'BLACK' cloud??

    And wouldn't it be great if the blogs stopped talking about him and the other nutjobs that are passing for candidates for the presidency? I looked at TPM yesterday and every single article and image was on the GOP.

    Oh, there was one on Obama, and it's how the 11th circuit threw out part of ACA.

    Nice going.

  • anonymoose on August 15, 2011 2:09 PM:

    Perry warned that a "big black cloud" hangs over the country.

    Dogwhistle much Mr. Perry?

  • walt on August 15, 2011 2:12 PM:

    Side note but Perry is really sucking up all the oxygen out there. Two days and it's virtually all Perry all the time. Either this guy is going to mop the floor with Romney or he's go to exhaust the zealots to the point they want Romney if only to chill out.

  • rikyrah on August 15, 2011 2:13 PM:

    a mofo who was talking about SECESSION has the nerve to question ANYONE'S PATRIOTISM?


  • yellowdog on August 15, 2011 2:17 PM:

    Rick Perry - a guy who thought Rudy G. would be a good president, a guy who studied at the feet of G.W. Bush, a guy who loves the 10th Amendment but hates the 16th and 17th. He's absurd.

    Talking secession scares up a few votes in Texas, I guess. That's the kind of campaigner he is. Calling the president unpatriotic is about all the GOP has to run on - so expect more of it, and more ridiculous appeals to right-wingers. Rick Perry - the guy should come with a laugh track.

  • stormskies on August 15, 2011 2:19 PM:

    Perry in nothing more than a puppet of the oligarchy, the corporations who have turned our once great country into a fascist state, and both of these are but puppets themselves of Lucifer. And the strings manipulated and pulled by Lucifer that animates Perry are not even subtle at this point: yet the utterly ignorant people who support him cheer on. My god what the fuck has happened to our once great nation ?

  • Cha on August 15, 2011 2:21 PM:

    Perry is such another snakeoil salesman only he's got a never ending spigot of big oil money propelling his ugly hissing lying fangs on America.

    Asshole doesn't love anything but himself. "Black Cloud"..thanks to that other freakin' gov of Texas, bush and his handler, cheney. What a hypocrital liar and as usual hiding behind what he calls "religion". "God told him to run"..creepy. He thinks he's freakin' god.

    He sounds stupid.

  • Brenna on August 15, 2011 2:31 PM:

    Rick Perry is going to be a force to be reckoned with. He's a long term governor with a "decent" record, and he loves to shoot off his mouth. He's a big shot with a big ego to match.

    I think a lot of people (Obama haters and fence sitters) will be attracted to him. I'm hoping and betting he'll stick his foot in his mouth a few too many times, the way Sarah Palin did. He'll reveal himself and his record will be very scrutinized.

    Still, the thought of him as president sends chills down my spine.

  • ckelly on August 15, 2011 2:39 PM:

    I liked Bill Maher's comment regarding Perry. Paraphrasing, "Yeah, that's what we need, a President who's not completely sold on this whole 'United' States of America thing". The Dems need to borrow that one during the campaign.

    Craptcha: dsitions Acts, (Oh. My. God. "Decisions Acts"!? Acts is a book of the bible! In a comment about Perry! It's a sign!)

  • Texas Aggie on August 15, 2011 2:41 PM:

    I'm puzzled about the America that Goodhair claims to "passionate for." It certainly doesn't include most Texans, and I haven't seen any evidence that it includes the state of Texas either.

    Goodhair has created a citizenry with the lowest level of access to medical care of any state in the union. He has created a citizenry with close to if not the greatest level of poverty, especially of children. Texans have the lowest paying jobs in the nation. Goodhair's courts regularly convict innocent people because of prosecutor malfeasance. Texas has the highest incarceration rate of any of the states which says something about what you have to do to make a living here.

    And then the state itself is the most polluted of the whole nation. Goodhair overrode the board that said a radioactive waste dump in West Texas would contaminate the water supply of much of the state and issued the necessary permits. Goodhair has cut funds to maintain state parks and reserves to further destroy Texas' heritage.

    When The Celestial Committee created the concept of sleazebag, they used Goodhair as the prototype.

  • xpatriate on August 15, 2011 2:42 PM:

    Fuck Rick Perry. He should go snuggle up with some fellow pro-secessionist pseudo Confederate traitors and leave us good 'Mumerikuns alone.

  • Rick Massimo on August 15, 2011 2:44 PM:

    It's 15 months until the election and I am already sick to death of people twisting themselves into pretzels trying to pretend that full-on, flat-out, not-even-a-dog-whistle racism is something, ANYTHING, but exactly that.

    Then again, it's been this way for more than three years already, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

  • Kathryn on August 15, 2011 2:50 PM:

    Doesn't the anti Perry ad write itself. Frame one Perry blabbing about needing a president in love with America........frame two snake oil salesman Perry talking up sucession from America. For me, nothing more effective that the candidate's own statements out of his double talking phoney mouth.

  • Anonymous At Work on August 15, 2011 3:01 PM:

    Boy, seeking to engage the President in a discussion or debate is a stupid idea. House Republicans have tried twice and been, frankly, spanked hard, on camera, both times. So much so that they cancelled a third chance.

  • Joe Friday on August 15, 2011 3:17 PM:

    "For the record, this is not someone doing an imitation of George W. Bush; Perry really does talk this way."

    That's why if the Republicans want to make him their nominee, I say, "BRING IT ON !"

  • Anonymous on August 15, 2011 3:21 PM:

    Rick Perry should have been charged with sedition. But Republican scum get away with anything.

  • June on August 15, 2011 3:28 PM:

    Just another day in the life of the batpoop-crazy-pathological-liar GOP collective.

    In an ideal world, Perry's candidacy would now be over before it started, not from an effort to curtail free speech, but because what Perry said brands him as an absolute idiot/absolute liar/and worse. It's beyond disgraceful that he would go there. But he does, because perry cannot make his case on its merits. He has nothing to offer the country except now his own version of the GOP's dangerous and disgraceful buffoonery.

  • PTate in MN on August 15, 2011 3:41 PM:

    I assume that the "big black cloud" that Perry sees hanging over the country is Obama.

    I wonder if Perry will flame out quickly. He's a nasty man, a Texan who makes GWBush look like Jeff Sessions, a governor whose record of success doesn't stand up to scrutiny, whose policy statements are completely out-of-line with the majority of Americans. No one likes Romney, but no one has a really good alternative.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on August 15, 2011 3:42 PM:

    @yellowdog: "Rick Perry - the guy should come with a laugh track."


  • ameshall on August 15, 2011 3:54 PM:

    Sorry, but this guy is terrifying. If the media takes a shine to this dullard and is willing to overlook his massive flaws to avoid accusations of "left-wing media bias," voters could be deluded into thinking Perry's a suitable candidate for president. He's not. He's a radical Christian dominionist with the IQ of a turnip.

  • DAY on August 15, 2011 3:59 PM:

    Am I the only one who picked up on his remark about becoming a president that the military can respect?

    -I'm pretty sure the military is comfortable with their current Commander in Chief.

  • FRP on August 15, 2011 4:11 PM:

    I feel the boiling rage inspired by these flat out secessionist , by simple definition un Americans . If by provoking decent , by the book , law abiding citizens while getting a little thrill double talking weather and colour , good deal .
    These emotional releases that help them through their busy trying days can be seen as self medication . Suffering through an America that includes people who were hanged and burned a few short years ago must require some tremendous rationalizing stew . The self pacifying insults to women "Fema____'s" , and so on , are mole hills to the mountains of evolutionary denial of another races legitimacy . The unbearable prominence , a daily reminder casually tossed in their faces , and in ways to shock a skeptic of the mental activity of single issue denialism heroics . In creating new ways to project the exhaust of self defeating piety the Rorschach blots of irrational equivocation become irredeemably polarizing .
    These good folks can hardly be expected to accept the blame for their own self imposed insanity , as in they're rejecting the country that allowed a popularly vilified race not only dignity but glory ....
    Nixon is still landsliding with his wise southern strategy , Reagan is still demeaning folks who depend on anything besides money , Wallace is still selling bitter pride , all in real time after two generations in the earth .
    The Booschie deadenders , death panel specialists , grass roots tee pee billionaires , university envy think tanks , couldn't be more transparent with a more suicidal commitment to a party of self denial since the Mayflower Pilgrims left England for a legally purer denial .

  • ever&anon on August 15, 2011 4:26 PM:

    "Big Black cloud" FFS? That's either stupidly aggressive or aggressively stupid.

  • T-Rex on August 15, 2011 5:53 PM:

    Is there something creepy about the phrase "being in love with America?" Loving your country is fine. Being in love with it borrows the language of overheated Harlequin romances to add a bizarre sexual element to the idea of group loyalty and more disturbingly, loyalty to and from a leader. We all know how Rove sexualized Bush as a macho love object for women and closeted Republican men. It's a tactic that more than one dictator or would-be dictator has used in the past.

  • Rick Massimo on August 15, 2011 6:13 PM:

    I'll give Rick Perry the benefit of the doubt on whether "big black cloud" is racist. ("I think you want a president who is ... in love with America," on the other hand, is completely racist.)

    I will, however, point out for the N+1th time what a jet-engine-level roar would go up from the GOP and the Corporate Media (not just FOX) if a Democrat had ever spoken about the country this way under a Republican president. (Or Sarah Palin's "sinking ship" comment.)

    They can just toss this stuff off, completely casually, no problem.

  • Lance on August 15, 2011 6:18 PM:

    Texas Aggie, you forgot to mention he knowingly executed an innocent man for the suppose arson murder of his own children.

    Grumpy, brrr, good point.

    Will Perry want to secede if he's not elected President?

    He looks like a bad loser to me.

  • Reynardine on August 15, 2011 6:44 PM:

    Perry not only said the President didn't love America, he called him a big black cloud.

  • MSHuiner on August 15, 2011 9:25 PM:

    "I think you want a president who is passionate about America ... that's in love with America."

    Wasn't all of this hot-n-heavy America love what got Newty in trouble?

  • Jack Hammer on August 16, 2011 12:48 AM:

    Channeling Jefferson Davis.

    Is it safe yet to call Rick a Confederate Republican?

  • bob h on August 16, 2011 7:21 AM:

    Obama does love the country enough that he would not threaten to secede from it. Just how does someone who has threatened secession questions someone else's love of country?

  • mr. irony on August 16, 2011 7:33 AM:

    in love with america?

    you mean like this guy?

    "I have an irrational lust to love the Constitution and fiscal responsibility and individualism." - GOP Rep. Steve King (IA) 1/18/11

  • Lex on August 16, 2011 1:03 PM:

    America doesn't need a president who is in love with it. It needs a president who loves it enough to set it back on the right path when it goes wrong.