Roger L. Simon

The Perry Revival and My Back

Rick Perry has a terrific op-ed (an excerpt from a speech at the National Press Club) in the Wall Street Journal Monday morning urging the GOP to get back in the game with black voters – “Republicans, Race and Economic Opportunity for All.”  The WSJ’s editors were apparently impressed, too. The paper did the rare thing of devoting an editorial – “Perry’s Race Talk” — to praising the article and, by inference, helping recharge Perry’s presidential candidacy.

Perry’s piece is well detailed (you should read it) but the substance is what many of us have thought for a while.  It’s time for Republicans to go into African-American communities with our proposals to revive those communities, since the Democrats, who have been in near total control of them for decades, have failed utterly with their approach. We must engage, be the party of Lincoln once again, start supporting the 14th Amendment (“equal protection”) as well as the states-rights oriented 10th.  Perry is openly self-critical, which is so often a good strategy.

This op-ed comes — and how could it not — at an interesting moment, not just because of the violence in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc., but in the wake of Donald Trump’s, let’s say, “much remarked upon” comments about Mexicans during his presidential campaign announcement a couple of weeks ago.  (Donald’s almost as worried about rape as Kirsten Gillibrand.)  Like most of the Republican candidates, Perry condemned Trump’s comments, calling them “offensive.”  But unlike the other candidates, and Trump obviously, this man has walked the walk on border security.  More than any other candidate, I trust Rick actually to get border security  accomplished — no racial slurs necessary.

And, yes, we certainly do need it and were reminded of that once again by this Francisco Sanchez character who shot the young woman on the San Francisco pier last Wednesday.  To call such maniacs “undocumented workers” or some such is just gaga.  And it’s hardly surprising he told a KGO-TV reporter he kept returning to San Francisco because it’s a “sanctuary city.”  Sanctuary for what?  Well, never mind.

Back to Rick (and back to backs).  As some readers will recall I was a strong Perry supporter early on in the last presidential campaign.  I had gotten to know him somewhat on trips to Austin and he’s a tremendous guy one-on-one, just the kind of person you’d love to have a beer with.  He looked like a born president, a second Reagan.  Then the debacle occurred.  He stumbled at that debate, unable to recall the names of the government agencies he wished to disband. As we learned later, Perry had just had back surgery and was on pain-killers.  But it didn’t matter.  Bye-bye, campaign.

But as it happens, it does.  I can attest to that.  I’m on pain-killers right now — Vicodin 3-300.  My back went out over a week ago and hasn’t gotten better, despite steroids. I’m having an MRI this afternoon.  Yes, I can write an article and read the Wall Street Journal, obviously. Maybe even practice my Spanish.  But the last thing in the world I would want to do is participate in a debate on national television — or even at the local middle school.

So believe me, Perry deserves more than a second chance.  Nobody’s campaign has really caught fire yet and maybe it will be his.  Perry-Fiorina — try that on your piano.