The PJ Tatler

It's Perry Day in America: Wake Up and Smell The Idiocy Already Hurled at Him


No sooner had the sun risen on the day that Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President, than—right on schedule— The Daily Beast, amply living up to its name, posted my personal nominee for Stupidest Column of the Week (deeming Saturday the final day of the past week, thus the competition includes everything written since Sunday.)  I’ve never met Michael Tomasky, its author, and have barely noticed his existence until a friend emailed me his post of this morning.  But if this column was my introduction to him, and it was, I’m not reading another by him.  This one was idiotic enough.  Why read more?

Then why read this?  Because it will give you an intimate peak into the mindset of the oh-so-urban, self-deluded, self-described “sophisticates” who cannot help but drip condescension when describing a…Republican, especially….a Republican governor… from Texas.  It is just too, too much for the poor dears.  They’re smelling W in the water.  They’re  intellectually unable to discern the distinction between a hard-scrabble Aggie and a patrician Yalie with a Harvard business degree.  Both W and Perry served as governors of Texas, they’re both devout Christians, they both salute the flag.  Therefore, to Mr. Tomasky, they are one and the same candidate.  This is why I call Tomasky’s column the Stupidest of the Week.

Surely, you jest, Belladonna, you may be thinking.  Think again.  For your reading pleasure, I hereby post Mr. Tomasky’s withering (and withered) take on Gov. Perry and his horror of all that he perceives.  I’ll also supply my own responses, cleaned up for family reading of this beyond-absurd, grating piece of writing.

Mr. Tomasky, you don’t have a clue about the kinds of people to whom Gov. Perry appeals.  This is what comes of living and breathing in a liberal bubble.  It never dawns on you that Ivy League-educated people with all manner of higher degrees, for whatever those degrees are worth, are extremely happy that Gov. Perry is set to announce today.  Sorry, but many Perry-supporters were born and raised and and were highly educated in those same cosmopolitan centers of Eastern snobbery with which you associate your candidate.  We proudly associate ourselves with every flag-saluting, Bible-reading, Texan, mid-Western, Southwestern, Western, Pennsylvanian, Southeastern, Appalachian, Iowan, Northern Plains, Wyoming voter for whom today is a great day in our country’s history. Don’t for a moment think we’re all the same.  Far from it.  We come in all colors, all religions, all imaginable backgrounds, and we’re—to quote the ebullient late Hubert H. Humphrey— pleased as punch that Perry is in the race.

Mr. Tomasky’s column is in regular type, while my comments are in bold type.  He is fearful of a horrific culture clash if Gov. Perry wins the Republican nomination.  I say, in the immortal words of President George W. Bush, “Bring it on.”  I’d also like to quote then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, when, before the onset of the Falklands War, she told Mr. Bush’s father, “Don’t go wobbly on me, George.”  There is nothing to fear about a culture clash but the loss of it by Mr. Tomasky’s candidate.  The nerve of the Republicans even to contemplate nominating someone who would challenge the perfect world view of Barack Obama.   Here it is:


Rick Perry: Red-State Warrior [Even in the headline, The Daily Beast is gunning for Gov. Perry with the word, “warrior.”  Democrats don’t like “warriors” because warriors make…war.  This is a big no-no for Dems.  They’d rather “engage” as candidate Obama promised he’d do with, of all the unengageable , nuclear-arms-building, Holocaust-denying thugs, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  And, of course, “Red State” is lib-talk for Clueless Idiots in the Flyover.]


Rick Perry and Barack Obama disagree about policy. But as Michael Tomasky argues, a race between them would end up as the biggest battle yet in the culture war. [Awwww.  How sad that anyone would want to spoil everything by challenging Obama’s cultural perspective.  It could get so unpleasant.  Can’t we all just get along?  Can’t we all just accept Obama’s wonderful world view and not get into schoolyard scraps over whose cultural perspective is more congenial for the majority of actual American citizens?  Do we have to hear about other points of view?]


by | August 13, 2011 6:25 PM EDT [Typo alert: it was posted at 6:25 AM EDT.  That’s how I could read it on the morning of August 13, 2011]

So in comes Rick Perry.  He will surely be an instant co-frontrunner along with Mitt Romney. In fact I would argue, and will one paragraph down, that he’s basically the instant frontrunner. So for the sake of argument, let’s go ahead and think about a Perry-Obama race. Such a race would be about, yes, the economy first and foremost, and deficits and health care and all the rest. But an Obama-Perry race would be something else, too: a war between the two Americas, each side represented by its respective cultural standard-bearer, each side’s foot soldiers absolutely smoldering with contempt for everything the other guy stands for and indeed the way he looks.[Hey, hold it right there, Tomasky. “indeed the way he looks?”  Is this a not-so-subtle suggestion that Republicans are racists?  If so, how do you explain the Hermanator, Herman Cain of Atlanta, businessman and as clearly on the stage on Thursday night on Fox as Tim Pawlenty or Michele Bachmann.  Readers: as you read this article, you’ll see who is complaining about the way a candidate “looks.”  That would be the author, Michael Tomasky.] We’ve never quite had that before [Gee, I seem to remember a character named William Jennings Bryan who, in 1896 and again in 1900, lost to William McKinley in highly contentious cultural wars.  The nation survived, and prospered], not in this way, so it’s worth thinking about.

First, I think Perry becomes the frontrunner, even ahead of Mitt Romney, for three main reasons. No. 1, he fires up large chunks of the base in a way Romney does not. Romney has “default candidate” written all over him, but evangelicals and other hard-shell conservatives are never going to love a Massachusetts Mormon. They’ll love Perry. No. 2, Perry can quickly become the “establishment” candidate because the establishment of today’s GOP is not based on Wall Street or the heartland [this is not factual; it is what’s called in courtrooms, “speculation based on facts not in evidence.”  They’re not in evidence because they’re not facts.  This is a perfect example of a liberal bromide—and a liberal wish.  Wishes aren’t facts.] but in Texas—Karl Rove, the oilmen, the various billionaires who prime those GOP pumps. No. 3 is speculation rather than fact, but I believe Perry will demonstrate pretty quickly that he’s a better campaigner than Romney. It won’t be hard.

It will take some time, probably, for the polls to reflect all this, but they will. Republicans don’t want a posh, well-spoken Yankee [What?  No fact-checkers over at The Daily Beast?  Mitt Romney was born and raised in Michigan, not as far as I know part of the Northeast.  His father was governor of Michigan and Mitt grew up in Bloomfield, Michigan. No one from Michigan, no matter how long they live in New England, is a Yankee. And he’s not “posh.”  He’s rich.  There’s a difference.] who works at a place with a name like Bain Capital. In their deepest souls, they want a Texas governor. [Oh?  Then how come Romney and Michele Bachmann have been the frontrunners when neither has been a governor of Texas?] They want a shit-kicker. [Given what’s been emanating from the Oval Office since January 20, 2009, wouldn’t anyone want that BS cleared out?  How much of it are Americans expected to swallow, Mike?] And here, we circle back to culture.

When my friends and I looked at George W. Bush in 1999, we shuddered like people who’d turned a street corner and stumbled across a dog’s corpse. We knew and had contempt for his beliefs [“contempt for his beliefs”—there you have it, direct from a liberal horse’s mouth], but it had nothing to do with them, really. It was just the way he presented himself. That puffed-out chest.[Now we’re seeing an attack on a person because of the way “he looks”—and not looks in reality, but how he looks to a self-admitted contemptuous liberal] That self-satisfied smirk. [What “self-satisfied smirk?  I have two eyes which, when corrected with my glasses, give me 20/20 vision and for the life of me, I see no smirk whatsoever on Gov. Perry’s face.  A smile, yes, but why not?  He’s presided over the greatest new jobs creation strategy in the country.  He has every reason to smile.  Smile on, Gov. Perry!] All that Jesus talk—even in the event that it was sincere, which we never quite bought, [like you have X-ray vision into the soul of a man whose religion enabled him to kick alcoholism? “we never quite bought”—you should be ashamed of yourselves, you and your “friends”.  But you had no problem with “Reverend” Wright and his “God damn America”?  That was fine with you? was the kind of man who, if I ran into him at a hospitality tent at a tailgate party, I’d make an effort to avoid. Liberals just couldn’t stand the sight of the guy.[Poor, poor liberals.  He wasn’t one of them!  How painful to have to endure a President who isn’t a mirror image of yourself. How I feel your pain.  Listen up, Tomasky, no woman in America has ever looked in the Oval Office and seen a mirror image of herself, and if Hillary had been elected, we still wouldn’t have.  Grow up.  Get used to it.  This is a wonderfully diverse, multi-cultural, multi-educated, big, big, big country.  There are going to be people elected President with whom you wouldn’t want to have a drink.  Man up.  There was a time when “Liberal” meant tolerant.  By your own bigoted words, you’ve outed yourself as a provincial rube who’s delighted with someone with a Columbia and Harvard Law degree who doesn’t have a shred of executive ability but just looking at him makes you soooo proud of yourself.  A Texas governor is beneath your contempt. You probably think only people just like you read your column.  Surprise!  The Internet makes your prejudices available for all to see and be sickened by.]   And that was before he ruined the country.

I understand that conservatives feel similarly about Obama. They look at him and see wine-and-cheese parties where people have jazz playing in the background and where talk turns to the merits and demerits of Jonathan Franzen [owned, exclusively by the Left?], who drive Priuses (or is it Prii?) [Clever, Mike!  You must have gotten A’s in Latin. Good for you!] and buy espresso machines [like conservatives are legally barred from owning them?  This will come as a shock to Richard Perle, among millions of others] and live in homes with far too many books in them. [Are you for real?  You probably don’t read Roger L. Simon or Ron Radosh or Victor Davis Hanson, or, for that matter, me.  Roger drives a Prius and has thousands of books in his house, as does Ron Radosh, many of which each of them actually wrote and published— as do I— thousands of books, some of which were written by Roger L. Simon and by Allis and Ronald Radosh.  We, too, serve wine, and sometimes listen to jazz.  You think we all live in Unabomber-type caves?  (Unabomber, Harvard Class of ’62, of course.) You apparently know no libertarians, Independents or Republicans and have just exposed your ignorance of them for all to see] And worse than that: for much of Red America, Dr. Frankenstein himself could not have stitched together a more perfect Other: urban, urbane, sophisticated [“sophisticated?” Whom do you think you’re kidding?  Obama is hopelessly, cluelessly provincial and is too conceited to listen to the White House Protocol Office which could have saved him from such embarrassments as hugging H.M. The Queen of England, speaking while the British National Anthem was being played in Buckingham Palace (later “explaining” that he thought it was “just background music, like in a movie.”)  And of course, he’s so sophisticated that he believes the national language of Austria is “Austrian.”  He’s as sophisticated as the rubes you imagine populate the Republican Party.], intellectual [oh, right.  All intellectuals consort with domestic terrorists, especially the ones whose only regret is that they didn’t kill more police officers than they did. Reference to William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn, close friends of our intellectual President.] “Black,” of course, may no longer be a deal breaker in this day and age, but it doesn’t help. Many conservatives clearly can’t stand the sight of him. [My dear Mr. Tomasky, Obama could be a green-skinned Martian, born in the USA,  for all anyone cares.  The problem, sir, is not with the color of his skin but with the content of his character, and of course, the state of our economy, and the complete lack of any plan provided by Obama to Congress to deal with the debt ceiling.  The problem is that after all his vaunted campaign promises, none has been kept except health care “reform,” which he didn’t even write—it was written by Congress.  We’re now in yet a third war, Libya, which violates the War Powers Act, lacking, as it does, Congressional approval. Mr. “Engagement” just wants to bomb Muammar Gaddafi into the Stone Age.  Gaddafi isn’t the problem.  The aforementioned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the problem. What we can’t stand the sight of  is not a Black president, it is, rather, the sight of any American president making apology tours around the world and bowing to the Saudi King and the Japanese Emperor, not to mention the Communist Chinese leader.]

Get Ready for Rick Perry

Perry, on this scale, is chillingly Bush-like. [They couldn’t be more different.  Take a look at The Charlie Rose Show of August 12, 2011, and you’ll see what I mean. It isn’t posted yet, so I can’t link to it now.]I saw a clip the other day of him saluting—an off-screen soldier, perhaps, or a flag. It was a small thing.[OMG.  Let me get this straight.  Mr. Tomasky was offended that a governor of an American state saluted the American flag or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.  What more do you need to read before concluding that Mr. Tomasky’s is the Stupidest, not to mention Most Provincial Column of the Week?] But he looked exactly like Bush. The chest pumped up with self-regard. The overly aggressive way he thrust his saluting hand out from his forehead. He even, I swear, was smirking. I shuddered all over again. [Mr. Tomasky, there are very effective medications for delusions such as these.  I recommend you see your family physician about getting on a regimen of them.  If you don’t, you risk losing whatever is left of your sanity between August 13, 2011 and November 6, 2012.  A mind is a terrible thing to lose, although in your case, I’d make an exception.]

During an Obama-Perry contest, millions of Americans on both sides would be shuddering constantly for four months. [ Note to Mr. Tomasky: at least half the country is shuddering already, many of us since 2007.  Apparently, that’s OK with you.  What you don’t want is for your 40% of the country to have to shudder as we’ve been shuddering.  Well, see, this is what a democracy produces: shudders.  Some shudders feel good, as when Chris Matthews felt that thrill going up his thigh.  But many of our thighs haven’t felt that thrill from a Presidential candidate in a long time, and frankly, that is an abysmal basis on which to choose one’s candidate, as we can now all (or almost all) see for ourselves.  Democracies operate on free elections.  Among other things, that means enduring shudders when  your side loses, as lose it must.] We’ve never had quite this kind of showdown culturally.[Oh yes, we have.  There was  one obvious four-year moment that seems to have slipped your mind, known in the North as the Civil War.  And then, the 1896 and 1900 elections.]  Our present Kulturkampf dates only to the 1980s. [Wrong. How soon you forget, unless you weren’t yet born, and even if that’s the case, you could read—you know, like an intellectual—the JFK-Nixon Kulturkampf . It couldn’t have been more stark.] There’s never been a cultural showdown of the sort Obama v. Perry would represent. Yes, Republicans hated Clinton, but he was Southern and enough of a good old boy that he cut across those lines to some extent [Except for people who weren’t crazy about his character.  He’s still disbarred in his native state. That “good ole boy” number was DOA with a lot of us.] Gore was painted as an egghead [actually, a s***head was the more accurate portrayal, as his recent sexcapades in the Northwest attest], and was, but again Southern-ness [faux-Southern.  He grew up in the Fairfax Hotel on Massachusetts Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC] diluted the cocktail a bit. Bush versus John Kerry is probably as close as we’ve come, but Kerry was never really quite threatening enough to Bush America to merit serious hatred [Oh no? He and his consort—meaning Theresa— inspired well more than 57 varieties of it, and of course, his brilliant selection of Vice Presidential candidate, now under indictment, whom I notice you don’t bother to mention also turned tens of millions of stomachs.]. And John McCain, mostly because he was not Southern and partly because he was so old, [you’re what?  In your teens? McCain was among the bravest commanders in Viet Nam—not on D-Day.  He was 72 in 2008. He has white hair.  You would, too, if you’d survived the Hanoi Hilton, the  grotesque nickname for one of the most despicable, horrifying prison ever fabricated.]   was not nearly as perfect a foil for Obama as Perry would be.

I don’t relish this. [Yeah, defeat doesn’t taste as nifty as victory, no question about it.] We’re divided enough, thanks. [So the Republicans should choose someone more like…Barack Obama, so as not to emphasize the deep divisions in the country caused by the abject failure of Barack Obama?  So as to spare your tender sensibilities?  Ain’t gonna happen, nor should it.] To invoke one of Bush’s most degrading moments of smirky chest-puffery, I say don’t bring it on. [ Au contraire,  mon ami.  La lutte continue.  Vive Rick Perry!]  Say goodnight, Michael.  The darkness is about to descend on your happy four years of bliss.  Four years is quite enough for the cultural experience of being ruled by Barack Obama.

Cue Kate Smith singing GOD BLESS AMERICA]