I happened upon Rick Perry’s speech this weekend in a manner typical of myself. I had just turned the TV on to program my DVR to record some obscure foreign cultural something-or-other when the Texas governor appeared onscreen to announce his candidacy for president. I had never seen Perry speak before. I’d asked my knowledgeable friends about him. Some loved him; some said he was a twit. I sat down to watch to see for myself. Here is what I saw.
The speech started out uncomfortably. I was put off by the mawkish tribute to the fallen Navy SEALs at the beginning. Our hallowed dead are worthy of every honor, but there was something ever-so-slightly unpleasant about a politician attempting to harness our grief and pride in order to serve a moment of career self-advancement.
Then came Perry’s life story. His childhood on a cotton farm in the tiny town of Paint Creek, Texas; his wooing of the childhood sweetheart who became his wife; his graduation from Texas A&M; his stint in the Air Force. I hadn’t heard it before and was interested and favorably impressed.
Next there was the red meat indictment of the current administration for its abominable failure on almost every score. I like red meat as much as the next man and I joined the crowd’s applause from my sofa. After all, Barack Obama’s failure is so abysmal and complete that he’s turned even the killing of Osama bin Laden into an asterisk. It can’t be told often enough.