Dumb quote of the day--"Nobody is really this dumb, are they?" edition

>> Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source," Mr. [Rick] Perry said in Clarinda, earning a loud round of enthusiastic applause.
-Michael D. Shear, "What Moves Republican Crowds in Iowa",
New York Times, December 28th, 2011

It's not just that Governor Perry's remark is outrageously stupid from the "Guess-Who-Flunked-7th-Grade-Geography" perspective, it's that you really just have to assume it's actually a classic Freudian slip: that, as David Atkins says over at Hullabaloo,

In Republican land, "foreign" doesn't mean what it does to you and me. It means "vaguely brown, Mooslim countries with names likes Ooz-beki-beki-beki-stan."

A lot of people have compared Perry to George W. Bush, a comparison that I think is actually pretty unfair to the former President; my own views on Bush's intelligence are that, for all his ludicrous malapropisms, he isn't "dumb" so much as he's a broad, shallow thinker who is intelligent in his way but has a stereotypical CEO's monomaniacal focus on a chimeric "The Big Picture", expecting depth, details and execution to be the provinces of his delegates and advisors; give him shitty advisors--and George W. Bush had some of history's shittiest--and you could have predicted the awful results. For all the books Bush supposedly reads (and I'm sure he understands what he reads), I suspect his brain isn't the sort that makes leaps of insight, that links seemingly unrelated and independent facts into a kind of cognitive gestalt, that is comfortable with reasoning by analogy. (Parenthetically, one can't help adding that these are the kinds of thought processes and the sort of information intake encouraged and nurtured in traditional law school curricula, e.g. the kind of legal education one might get at, say, Harvard Law, just saying.)

Rick Perry, on the other hand, strikes one as simply dumb. This is the kind of glad-handing Southern pol who does just fine at barbecues so long as he doesn't have to talk about substantive policy. It's a bit baffling anyone would think this man was presidential material, and one has to assume his primary appeal to the Republicans who goaded him into the race was that Mitt Romney is too nuanced and Mormon to ever be his party's ideal man, which continues to be more than a little pathetic and can't possibly bode well for their party in the long term. (Oh, and by the way: if the sarcastic part of the last sentence didn't quite come off, please feel free to go back and put little finger air-quotes around "nuanced".)

It doesn't bode well for the country. First, because (I've said it before and I'll say it again), you want principled, intelligent opposition and hope that out of the conflict between you and your ideological opponents, some better solution will emerge (or at least that a little friction will encourage methodical progress). And, second, because it is possible one of the idiots the Republicans seem intent on nominating will actually be elected President, and I don't think it's really worth the gamble to hope the GOP nominates somebody like Perry or Newt Gingrich who President Obama ought to be able to bitch-slap into oblivion in public debate. If nothing else, Democrats have had something of a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since the Johnson presidency. If not that, there's a stagnant economy of the sort that brings down Presidencies. And if not that, of course there are all the accidents and odd turns of history--i.e. bad shit could happen no matter how we hope it doesn't, and we could find ourselves stuck with the results. In short, you want both sides to put up somebody who, even if you don't agree with them and regardless of whether or not you like them, you wouldn't fear for the whole country if they got elected, somehow. You don't want one party to put up a total nonce just because you think the guy you like more could whip him.

Hell, at the very least, you want both parties to put up a guy who knows what Canada is.


Nathan Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 1:46:00 PM EST  

In other news, Perry has announced that he's trying to find the proper venue for his suit against Alberta for keeping him off the ballot.

Eric Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 2:24:00 PM EST  

He initially was going to try to file suit in Quebec, but was thrown off by, he said, "...everybody speaks Gay up there, some guy at the courthouse asked to 'par-lay view' my 'france-aiz' and I said, 'Mister, I'm a married man and I have my coyote-shooting gun under these jogging pants so you just back it on down before you get hurt.'"

timb111 Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 5:14:00 PM EST  

Perry is the only one of the GOP candidates with the political acumen to realize that the US is part of Canada.

Nathan: I don't think Perry is conservative enough to be elected in Alberta. The current Conservative government is likely to be ousted by an even farther right party in the next election. Perry wouldn't have a chance.

Nathan Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 5:59:00 PM EST  

Well I figured he'd be laughed out of Ontario.

Nick from the O.C.,  Friday, December 30, 2011 at 4:22:00 PM EST  

"you want principled, intelligent opposition and hope that out of the conflict between you and your ideological opponents, some better solution will emerge"

Ahh, thesis and antithesis leads to a new thesis. How dialectical of you!

Eric Friday, December 30, 2011 at 8:39:00 PM EST  

Ahh, thesis and antithesis leads to a new thesis. How dialectical of you!


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