Political Animal


August 16, 2011 10:10 AM Revisionist history — two weeks later

By Steve Benen

Ordinarily, when Republicans try to rewrite history, they tend to point to events that happened quite a while ago, which makes it easier to play on short memories. Rewriting the events of two weeks ago seems more brazen.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is kicking off his presidential campaign with a bit of creative spin on S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating: turns out President Obama did it.

In his first and bio-heavy campaign video of his presidential campaign, Perry places the blame for the downgrade squarely on the shoulders of Obama.

As the buffoonish governor sees it, “the president’s refusal to control spending” led to the downgrade.

Perry may believe this, but if he does, it reinforces fears he wasn’t burdened with an overabundance of intelligence.

There’s an important debate as to whether S&P made the right call, but if we put that aside for now, there’s no great mystery as to how and why S&P arrived at its conclusion. The agency hasn’t exactly kept the reasoning secret: congressional Republican expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default; they undermined confidence in the American political system; refused to compromise; they ruled out additional revenue; and they deliberately played a radical game with the full faith and credit of the United States. S&P didn’t leave much doubt about which side of the aisle the agency considers responsible.

This isn’t ancient history. This just happened and should still be fresh in everyone’s memory.

Perry’s attack, by the way, comes the same day as the governor downplayed the threat of default. The irony is astounding: S&P downgrades our debt because far-right Republicans didn’t take default seriously; Perry announces he agrees with those far-right Republicans; Perry then holds Obama responsible for the S&P decision.

I’ve seen plenty of reports the past couple of days insisting Democrats would be foolish to underestimate Perry as a candidate. As far as electoral consideration are concerned, there’s probably some truth to that. But it’s also true that anyone who thinks this clown knows what he’s talking about is also making a mistake.

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.


Post a comment
  • robert on August 16, 2011 10:20 AM:

    Oh gosh Steve, do you mean he's lying?! HOW SHOCKING.

  • Kenneth D. Franks on August 16, 2011 10:23 AM:

    Perry has never be accused of being overly brilliant but he has had the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time and had donors with deep pockets. Hopefully voters will see through this corporate backed politician who would be much worse than G.W.B.

  • c u n d gulag on August 16, 2011 10:23 AM:

    " But it’s also true that anyone who thinks this clown knows what he’s talking about is also making a mistake."

    Steve, whoa horsie, whoa!

    Little Boots got elected (sort of) twice, and he couldn't out-think a side-winding snake.

    For Republicans:
    Intelligence is no guarantee of electibility.

    As a matter of fact, lately, the opposite is true.

    The more stupid and ignorant you are, the better you do in primaries, if not elections.

  • Danp on August 16, 2011 10:28 AM:

    I’ve seen plenty of reports the past couple of days insisting Democrats would be foolish to underestimate Perry as a candidate.

    They said the same thing about Palin and Bachmann. The only difference is that this one "looks" presidential (to a casting agent).

  • stormskies on August 16, 2011 10:31 AM:

    And look at what the ultimate corporate used condom called David "I am not a corporate cum slut" Gregory said about Rick Perry's succeeding from the U.S .. and comparing this to Obama's Affordable Heath Care law....

    August 16, 2011 06:00 AM
    David Gregory Compares Perry's Talk of Secession to Obama's Health Care Law

    By Heather

    From this weekend's coverage of the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa on MSNBC, another classic example of Villager, "both sides", false equivalencies. From AmericaBlog -- NBC’s David Gregory equates Perry’s secession talk to Obama’s push for national health care:

    Yesterday, we saw a stunning example of how the traditional media types equate the views of Democrats and Republicans, even when the GOP idea is so extreme it would undermine the stability of the United States. NBC's David Gregory equated Rick Perry's treasonous call for secession with Obama's effort to provide national health care. Perry first talked secession back in April of 2009. Gregory seems to think they're equally extreme. This conversation occurred yesterday on MSNBC following the announcements that Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll and Rick Perry had entered the race. It's painful enough to watch Chuck Todd and David Gregory. But, this analysis from Gregory really shows how warped the media is:

    Chuck Todd: Perry-Obama would be a picture of sharp contrasts.

    David Gregory: You know, Perry talked about potentially seceding from the union. You think that's extreme. Well people on the other side think that introducing health care reform for the whole country is akin to European Socialism.

    And as they noted, beyond just the ridiculous false equivalency, David Gregory just legitimized Perry's wingnuttery and secession talk. Thanks Greggers.

  • MikeBoyScout on August 16, 2011 10:35 AM:

    Steve, when it is possible to invade and occupy a country with a bald face lie and be re-elected president, lying about credit ratings hardly seems something the MSM will in any way care to follow up.

  • Laurie on August 16, 2011 10:36 AM:

    I watched that video pretending I was a typical low information person ticked about the state our economy and govt, worried about the future etc. and found it pretty effective.

  • philonius on August 16, 2011 10:37 AM:

    Read this post on FT right after this post:

    Mostly because of the headline.

    I've been reading more UK media than US based outlets recently. I am finding it mostly embarrassing that they have to school our presidential candidates in interpreting the constitution. You know, the one we set up in opposition to English rule.

  • biggerbox on August 16, 2011 10:37 AM:

    By now, I think that we know enough about Republicans that we shouldn't assume statements like this are ignorance or stupidity. We're at the stage where I think we have to assume they are intentionally lying until proven otherwise.

    My sense of Perry is that whether or not what he says is actually true doesn't really matter to him, as long as it's effective. So, he may not know what the truth is, because it doesn't matter. But it's low, explotative cunning, not stupidity.

  • Anonymous on August 16, 2011 10:41 AM:

    This isn’t ancient history. This just happened and should still be fresh in everyone’s memory.

    He's not talking to you, or Dems, or independents, or even all Republicans. He's tossing red meat to the Tea-fueled GOP primary voters. They never believed the truth to begin with two weeks ago, because everything is Obama's fault. Perry's just telling them what they want to hear. Facts are unnecessary with faith-based conservatism; if you believe it, it's real.

  • zandru on August 16, 2011 10:43 AM:

    Last night, Jim Hightower (liberal Texas political analyst) was on MSNBC discussing Good-Hair. His parting analysis was that Perry was like Junior Bush - but without the intelligence or ethics.

    I think biggerbox is right on: "low, exploitive cunning" and to a greater degree than even Junior.

  • Texas Aggie on August 16, 2011 10:44 AM:

    Essentially what anonymous said. The people he's talking to don't deal in facts. They deal in emotions, and their emotions say that Obama is evil and is the cause of everything bad that has happened to the US since 9/11.

  • Gregory on August 16, 2011 10:51 AM:

    I�ve seen plenty of reports the past couple of days insisting Democrats would be foolish to underestimate Perry as a candidate.

    Democrats would be foolish to underestimate the extent to which the so-called "liberal media" will cover for Perry's departures from reality?

    But why not? The cult of modern movement conservatism requires believing things that simply aren't true, and the media enables it by their lazy, "he-said, she said" reporting and allowing outright lies to stand unchallenged ("we'll just have to leave it there.") So Perry and his ilk know they have no reason at all not to lie as much as they please -- they won't get called on it, and if they do, their supporters will dismiss it as "liberal media bias."

  • Epicurus on August 16, 2011 10:59 AM:

    This man scares the living crap out of me; all I can see is GWB redux. FSM forbid this pinhead ever gets elected to the White House; it would spell the end of our Republic, without question. I don't really think any of these clowns are going to unseat Obama, but I'm getting worried.

  • T2 on August 16, 2011 11:09 AM:

    "president’s refusal to control spending" - clearly the vast majority of the money in question with the Debt Ceiling was spent during the Bush years. If only the money spent by Obama was what was owed, we'd be in great shape.
    But Perry doesn't care if it isn't true, and more importantly, he doesn't care if everyone knows its not true. Once this conclusion sinks in to the Dem hierarchy and everyone else, that Perry doesn't mind lying, we can start the campaign. IF, and it's a big IF, Obama's people try to "reason" with Perry or be "gentlemanly" or "adult", they'll find themselves in trouble quick. Perry's record in Texas suggests that once you let him take the offensive, you're gonna lose the election. When he's on defense, he's not too sharp.

  • Texas Aggie on August 16, 2011 11:24 AM:

    Those of us better acquainted with Goodhair get the same feeling when in his presence or seeing him on TV that we get when in the presence of an enforcer for one of the cartels. It is a feeling of "this man is pure evil and I hope I survive his presence." He exudes the same aura as a Mafia hit man.

  • troglodyte on August 16, 2011 11:28 AM:

    Look, he isnt stupid. He is lying. Perry will keep lying until someone with access to the media calls him on it, loudly and often. Write your Congressperson.a

  • fourlegsgood on August 16, 2011 12:28 PM:

    Look, he's an idiot. But one thing the past 10 years have proved, republicans don't have to be good at governing to get elected. They just have to be good at getting elected.

    And Perry is good at that. Also, the teabagger thing has proved that the stupidity of the American public knows no bounds.

  • Rosemary Kean on August 16, 2011 12:30 PM:

    Perry is a skillful and mean politician who has never lost an election according to journalists in Texas who have followed him. He seems to know how to manipulate the media and the public, in the tradition of the best political demogogues.

  • The Fool on August 16, 2011 1:35 PM:

    I think he's both stupid AND lying, but Steve your feeling that this kind of mendacious stupidity means he can't beat Obama is touching. Remember George W. Bush? It wasn't that long ago either.

    Its a very empirically well established fact that the MSM isn't going to call Perry on his lies or make a big fuss about it. That's for Democrats! Here's the problem: Since we know Perry is going to lie and the MSM isn't going to do anything about it, who does that leave to correct the record?

    It leaves Obama, that's who.

    But I have seen nothing to convince me that Obama has what it takes to go out and pin the blame on the Republicans who deserve it. Nothing at all. Quite the opposite, he steadfastly refuses to enagage in such base partisanship.

    Watch out for Perry. He will take moderates and liberals who can't learn from the history of the last 30 years by surprise. He is a snake, and he is very, very dangerous.

  • Zorro on August 16, 2011 5:59 PM:

    Hmmm... good looking, stupid, bigoted, + sexist? Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Goodhair's a shoe-in!


  • Doug on August 16, 2011 8:49 PM:

    If THIS is how Perry is planning on running his "Presidential" campaign, my advice to President Obama and HIS team is: ignore him.
    Run against a Congress hobbled by extreme partisanship. Run on a vision of competent, intelligent people agreeing to disagree, yet still willing to place country BEFORE party. Campaign on maintaining SS and Medicare. If the economy is STILL bad and unemployment high, propose rebuilding our infrastructure. There's more, I'm sure, but that's the general idea.
    Because something tells me, Gov. Perry is NOT used to being ignored and, if he hasn't blown up his campaign with his remarks BEFORE the nominating convention, then most certainly will do so during the campaigning afterwards, when he's being treated as the fool he is, ability to get elected notwithstanding.
    If nothing else, by ignoring whatever remarks Perry DOES make, that will only ensure said remarks get an even bigger audience. And unless more than half of this country consists of racist, misogynist, LGBT-hating, financial idiots, he'll be toast.
    Ummm, toast...

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