Political Animal


January 17, 2012 9:15 AM Perry’s perception of ‘war’

By Steve Benen

In all likelihood, we won’t have Texas Gov. Rick Perry to kick around much longer. The one-time frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is now in last place in the five-candidate field and probably won’t be a candidate much longer.

But so long as Perry’s still in the race, it’s worth pausing to appreciate just how nutty he can be.

In last night’s debate, Juan Williams asked the governor whether the federal government can have a role “scrutinizing the voting laws of states where minorities were once denied the right to vote.” Perry responded:

“I’m saying that the state of Texas is under assault by federal government. I’m saying also that South Carolina is at war with this federal government and with this administration.”

I seem to recall a time when South Carolina really was at war with the federal government, and it didn’t go especially well. For that matter, if Perry believes the Justice Department blocking voter-suppression tactics constitutes some kind of war-like aggression, he’s even more foolish than he appears.

And as it turns out, that’s not the only war Perry perceives. He added: “[T]his administration is at war against organized religion.” (It’s really not.)

When he wasn’t reflecting on imaginary domestic wars, Perry was looking broad. Later in the debate, the Texas governor said Turkey “is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.”

For the record, Turkey is a democracy, a key U.S. ally, and a member of NATO. The country is not run by terrorists.

When this guy drops out, it’ll be bad for comedy, but almost certainly good for democracy.

Update: A leading Turkish columnist believes Perry is an “idiot.” It’s not an unreasonable observation.

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
  • Grumpy on January 17, 2012 9:23 AM:

    ...the Texas governor said Turkey “is being ruled by, what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.”

    He's absolutely right. Many Texans can't tell the difference between a Turk and a terrorist.

  • MattF on January 17, 2012 9:31 AM:

    Jaw hits floor, descends through basement, crust, Mohorovičić discontinuity, mantle, outer core, inner core, comes to rest at center of earth in gravitational stasis.

  • Kathryn on January 17, 2012 9:36 AM:

    Please make this the end of Perry, It's not possible to come up with more descriptions of his idiocies, there are no words available to describe this fool. He'll cause an international incident with his careless mouth if this keeps up. Anyone who is too stupid for the base base of the republican party needs to slink back to Texas and close the door.

    A commenter last night said the horde booed the golden rule, bring out the lions.

  • Joseph Ramirez on January 17, 2012 9:38 AM:

    I think you meant to write "It's NOT an unreasonable observation" as your final sentence, right?

  • Anonymous on January 17, 2012 9:40 AM:

    Why is this leading Turkish columnist's belief that Perry is an idiot "unreasonable"? Sounds extraordinarily reasonable to me.

  • walt on January 17, 2012 9:42 AM:

    It's been a perennial observation on the left that the Neo-Confederate party won't rest until they win the Second Civil War. Last night's debate seemed to confirm this view in lurid and shocking detail. The hard-right base is racist, mean, and stupid. These are not slurs. For Republicans, they're virtues.

  • stormskies on January 17, 2012 9:43 AM:

    And this fucking cretin has been 'elected' four times to be the governor of the State of Texas .. what a testimony as to the nature of the citizens there .. the types that show up at these debates a boo things like the golden rule, or gay military men who fight for our country, and all the other boos these types of citizens have spluttered while demonstrating their abject cretinism .. so of course the 'good' citizens of Texas has this cretin as their governor .. of course

  • T2 on January 17, 2012 9:43 AM:

    Frankly, this GOP thing was lots more fun when Bachmann and Perry were the main players. I think its clear that Romney is now racking up the wins, despite being a Cultist and a Liar, simply because he appears to be a better, more normal, candidate than the others. In other words, the GOPers actually appear to be thinking about these candidates. Except for the rather large Evangelical chunk that, due to Mitt's Cult, have decided to support Santorum - a guy who attends a church where the leader wear's a huge pointy hat and fancy gold dress and lives in, gulp, Europe.

  • Danp on January 17, 2012 9:43 AM:

    A leading Turkish columnist believes Perry is an “idiot.”

    OK, but this campaign is all about finding the least idiotic candidate, right? It this were American Idol, it would still be the first night of the season.

  • Danp on January 17, 2012 9:46 AM:

    the GOPers actually appear to be thinking about these candidates. T2

    With all the money Romney is throwing around, that's a very generous conclusion.

  • biggerbox on January 17, 2012 9:54 AM:

    So, then, it really is true that in Texas they vote the stupidest person in the whole state Governor.

  • Trollop on January 17, 2012 9:56 AM:

    War against organized religion?!

    Where do I sign up?!!!

  • RoxGuy on January 17, 2012 9:56 AM:

    Props to MattF for the geologically-appropriate crack!

  • Trollop on January 17, 2012 9:57 AM:

    War against organized religion?!

    Where do I sign up?!!!

  • sduffys on January 17, 2012 9:58 AM:

    "It's an unreasonable observation." Perchance, is this statement missing a 'not'?

  • Daniel Buck on January 17, 2012 10:01 AM:

    Steve, speaking of South Carolina & history, note Gingrich's invocation of the name Andrew Jackson last night: In short, let's sent Jackson out to kill our enemies. Wild applause from the South Carolinians. Gee, why stop there, let's send Davy Crockett and Batman.

    If Gingrich was something other than a fake historian, he would have known about the Nullification Crisis, which pitted Jackson against his own vice president, South Carolinian John Calhoun, during Jackson's presidency.

    During the crisis, Jackson warned that South Carolina stood on "the brink of insurrection and treason," and would have used force, federal force, to take the state back from the brink, if that had proven necessary.

    Gingrich somehow overlooked this Jackson remark: "To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union is to say that the United States is not a nation."[

    Had Jackson been president in 1861, he would no doubt have responded to South Carolina's attack on Fort Sumner by arresting the state's secessionist leaders and hanging them from the nearest Palmetto tree.

    Doubtful that history lesson would have been greeted by wild applause in Myrtle Beach.


  • Bardi on January 17, 2012 10:05 AM:

    I am thinking that the Republican primary is taking on every characteristic of a santorum screening for mentally unstable in-patients.

  • Basilisc on January 17, 2012 10:06 AM:

    The 2011-12 Republican primaries will be remembered as the historical moment when the dog whistles shifted well into the human auditory range.

  • T2 on January 17, 2012 10:08 AM:

    Biggerbox, in Texas, the governor race is decided by who gets the most votes....doesn't have to be a majority. In 2006, Perry only got 39% of the vote, but due to a crowded field, was the winner. That means that 60% of Texans were smart enough to vote for somebody else. The Texans responsible for Perry are the Republicans, and all Texans aren't Republicans.

  • Grumpy on January 17, 2012 10:09 AM:

    "And this fucking cretin has been 'elected' four times to be the governor of the State of Texas .. what a testimony as to the nature of the citizens there..."

    To be fair to Texas, A) according to the state constitution, governor is a nothing job, and B) Perry does have excellent hair.

  • Pal2008 on January 17, 2012 10:19 AM:

    Update: A leading Turkish columnist believes Perry is an “idiot.” It’s an unreasonable observation.

    Fixed: A leading Turkish columnist believes Perry is an “idiot.” It’s an overly optimistic observation.

  • just bill on January 17, 2012 10:23 AM:

    now to be fair to texas, they did elect ann richards governor.

  • Bernard HP Gilroy on January 17, 2012 10:29 AM:

    >> A leading Turkish columnist believes Perry is an “idiot.” It’s an unreasonable observation.

    What keeps this blog from truly epic greatness is Steve's apparent indifference toward rudimentary proofreading. It's really far too common for him to leave out an important word (say, "not") and thus undercut his entire point. I know it's easy to drop words when writing online -- especially when you're as prolific as Steve is -- but there should be a floor on how poor the grammar is, shouldn't there?

    It's particularly painful to see insightful and incisive commentary marred by editing that would be unacceptable of a high school sophomore.

  • mellowjohn on January 17, 2012 10:38 AM:

    "Don't make me come back down there again." -William Techumsah Sherman

  • TCinLA on January 17, 2012 12:33 PM:

    Calling Rick Perry an idiot is an insult to actual idiots. He's just a Texas Goatroper, a strange species of hairless white biped found down there that lacks frontal lobes and opposable thumbs, whose primary use is as a thug beating up actual human beings (who aren't white) and workiing as cannon fodder in imperial wars.

    I'm surprised his defense of the Marines who urinated on the dead Taliban hasn't made it into more widespread discussion. He called the Marines "kids" who made a "mistake." Last time I checked, when one joins the Marines, they become a "man" with the responsibilities of such, like it or not.

    But then, pretty much every ignorant thing that comes out of Perry's mouth can be explained away by the fact he's from Texas, the state of mind founded by back alley assassins, cashiered army officers, failed congressmen, bank robbers, slave catchers, murderers, thieves and con artists.

    Texas, "It's a whole other country" and one this native Texans is damn glad to be well away from.

  • NickNayme on January 18, 2012 6:18 AM:

    I suspect that the "many" who Perry states would perceive Turkey to be ruled by Islamic terrorists are the ones up in arms that the Turkey government has taken a hard and vocal line against Israel since Israel attacked a Turkish ship Marvi Marmara and killed Turkish nationals who were part of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

    Perry and his fellow Turkophobes clearly must think the proper response when Israel attacks ones ship and kills ones citizens is the one the U.S. took after the attack on the USS Liberty. Since Erdogan is no longer with Israel (after previous close relations) he must be with the terrorists.