… or else the Letterman audience would’ve witnessed Perry read a Top Nine list:
10. Actually, there were three reasons I messed up last night. One was the nerves, and two was the headache and three … um … uh … oops.
9. I don’t know what you’re talking about – I think things went well.
8. I was up late last night watching Dancing with the Stars.
7. I thought the debate was tonight.
6. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude!
5. Uh, El Niño?
4. I had a 5-hour Energy Drink six hours before the debate.
3. I really hoped it would get me on my favorite talk show, but instead, I ended up here.
2. I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.
1. I just learned Justin Bieber is my father.
Then again, maybe Perry really is the guy Matt Taibbi calls “The Best Little Whore In Texas“:
… [T]his is America, remember, where one should never underestimate shallow. And Rick Perry brings shallow to a new level. He is very gifted in that regard. He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.
Perry’s campaign is still struggling to recover from the kind of spectacular, submarine-at-crush-depth collapse seldom seen before in the history of presidential politics. The governor went from presumptive front-runner to stammering talk-show punch line seemingly in the speed of a single tweet, rightly blasted for being too incompetent even to hold his own in televised debates with a half-bright pizza salesman like Herman Cain and a goggle-eyed megachurch Joan of Arc like Michele Bachmann. But such superficial criticisms of his weirdly erratic campaign demeanor don’t even begin to get at the root of why we should all be terrified of Perry and what he represents. After all, you have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism, turning Texas into a swamp of political incest and backroom dealing on a scale not often seen this side of the Congo or Sierra Leone.
In an era when there’s exponentially more money in politics than we’ve ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we’ve ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher – a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag – Being There meets Left Behind. And sometimes there’s nothing more dangerous than nothing at all…
Of course one can never underestimate the insanity within the white-hot heart of the modern GOP, but tragically for all sane people and the American public, it’s becoming ever more certain that the Republican 2012 presidential nominee is going to be Willard Romney. And barring some kind of TeaParty-vangical crusade out of the Heartland(tm), Willard of the Uncanny Valley is going to be forced to choose his Number Two from one of the more “authentic” candidates now sharing the podia with him at any of the next 37 GOP debates.
Among the current top contenders, Newt Gingrich is not going to take the undercard to Mitt. If it were possible to imagine himself as another Darth Cheney, his swollen self-esteem might’ve overcome his shrivelled wallet. But all those lobbyist-historian speaking fees and wingnut-welfare book deals are going to outweigh sitting around Blair House sulking that today’s anti-LDS lynch mobs just don’t have the dedication of their 1840s forbears. Gingrich will implode, more or less spectacularly. If all the other potential VP candidates were to be killed by lightning strikes or runaway buses, I would expect Newton Leroy to show up on the news running naked down the main strip-club drag during the Tampa convention.
That means, as of this moment, the most probable GOP vice-presidential candidates are Herman “Beat Obama with a” Cain and… Rick Perry. There’s enormous humor potential, or at least schadenfreude, in watching Willard try to simulate a positive humanoid response to either of two men who’ve got to chafe his temple undergarments something fierce. And as a proud Democrat, I should be happy that President Obama will be facing no more challenging competition in his walk to re-election. But the world is watching this GOP FailParade, and I keep hearing my NYC-based, Irish-born granny muttering about a shonda fur die neighbors…
Maybe if Perry is on the ticket as VP, some attention will end up being paid to the Texas corrupt-a-palooza.
Are we sure Willard will pick one of his primary opponents as a running mate? He’ll certainly need a snake-handlin’ type to try to reach the Talibangelicals, even though the Real True Christians™ won’t touch him. It’ll be interesting.
Perry’s dumb as a box of his own good hair, but he’s adorable when he’s wasted. It’s a good thing the governor of Texas has no power.
Maybe Romney will go for someone smart enough to not compete for the top job this time around. Huckabee or somesuch.
The best VP candidate by a country mile is Jon Huntsman. He is almost literally the only person in the G.O.P. today who can be trusted to go to any part of the country and not say anything foolish.
Which sucks if Willard Romney is going to be the nominee, ’cause he’s the one guy who can’t pick Governor Beefheart as his running mate.
Romney will have to settle for whichever replacement for Sarah Palin his handlers come up with. I’m guessing either Rick Scott or John Kasich. Voters in either state would be so happy to see them leave the state for the duration of the campaign that they would vote for Romney out of gratitude.
Speaking of Gingrich though, I am hesitant to write him off. I don’t think Obama deserves to be so lucky as to draw him as an opponent, but stranger things have happened. Gingrich doesn’t really have a constituency outside the TV bobbleheads, but by the same token with so many debates going on, he is in his element right now.
If the race comes down to Romney and whichever of the not-Romneys is last man standing, the fact that all of the not-Romneys are horrible candidates doesn’t mean not-Romney won’t win.
You know what they say.
Lie down with Whores, come up with Herpes.
I will call it now, the Republicans are too insane to nominate Romney. They will stick with Cain and Newt, because it will make no sense and that’s why they’re gonna do it.
Williard isn’t a CHRISTIAN, how can he be the
Theocratic, er, Christian, er, Republican nominee?
[Gosh, sometimes I have the worst time spelling that word!]
so when is ron paul going to drop out ? Fuck, even that crazy lady gets talked about while this old geezer is an invisible dood all along.
teh debate winnah
Bill E Pilgrim
The question that comes to mind reading this is “sucks for whom?” The only way that a Republican VP nominee going around the country saying extremely foolish things is negative for the country is if you think the Republicans winning the White House would be positive for the country.
If you mean “sucks for the Republicans” well then yes, yes it does. This entire year sucks for Republicans, but only because they themselves have painted themselves into a freak show corner.
This is already damaging whoever is the Republican nominee next year. Having more and more editorial cartoons showing the Republican contenders as horn-honking clowns and escaped lunatics, that’s far from the “forward-thinking, sober, serious, with your best interests in mind!” image that any party wants to project.
Edited to add: What @amk: said.
I’d be shocked if it was any of the other candidates. Given how the base feels about Romney, if anybody else actually running for the nomination held sufficient appeal to be a good VP pick, he/she’d be the nominee. The target will be someone exciting to the base who didn’t run, isn’t already overexposed and isn’t polling in the teens. Romney (and the party) will want to distance himself from this embarrassing debateathon/primary/reality show/book tour as completely as possible.
Right now I’d put my money on Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. He’s perfect for the social conservatives (He wrote a thesis paper while at Regent University arguing women belonged in the home and not the workforce) and has solid approval ratings as Governor of a swing state. Other possibilities might be Jim DeMint or Nikki Haley if he wants to shore up the base; Rubio or Ohio Senator Robert Portman if he wants help in a swing state. I think he’ll stay away from any of the governors who have already taken on a lot of water (Kasich, Scott, Walker) but consider just about any of the senators who came in on the 2010 wave (Mike Lee, Pat Toomey).
@Splitting Image: Dude, you can’t have an all-Mormon ticket.
Although it would be funny, what with the third-party challenges from the RTCs.
romney won’t be the voter getter just like that angry old coot of 2008 wasn’t. mittens needs a rabble rouser a la tundra twit…. Hey, why not tundra twit. Also. Too.
In Taibbi’s last paragraph, you can substitute “Perry” with “Romney” and it would still be as valid.
Bill E Pilgrim
Oh I see what you were saying. Luckily that effect would never be large enough to actually make a difference even if you were serious, and I assume you were joking anyway.
The great thing is that the Republicans are going to be worrying about things like “Oh dear, not two Mormons…” or whatever but overlooking what parading around this group consisting of 90 percent complete lunatics with tea bags stapled to their brains is doing to their chances. Or I guess not overlooking it in many cases as much as watching in utter horror.
one post in that boston.com piece
Bill E Pilgrim
@hamletta: That’s what Splitting Image meant by this part:
Romney couldn’t pick him as VP because you’d have a clone, was the point.
@Bill E Pilgrim: Oops.
Bill E Pilgrim
@amk: At least Cain’s “Beat him with a Cain” slogan is better than Rick’s “Smear him with Santorum” campaign.
The Iowa caucus is really going to be crucial. Of the first 5 contests, Romney is going to win New Hampshire, but he is going to lose Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, and he should win Nevada due to the Mormon vote, but he is actually not polling that great there. Whoever wins Iowa is going to consolidate the not-Romney vote and take that momentum to South Carolina and Florida. Romney will be in big problems if some of the other candidates drop out after Iowa, although luckily for him, their delusions are of epic proportions and they will stay in for longer than makes sense.
Romney is a tragic figure. How many years of his life have been devoted to this? How much money? How many dogs tied to cars and foot long corndogs eaten? The man commits himself to any, literally any! thing his audience wants to hear.
The thing that I believe is slowly happening to the republican primary voters (of the lower-info kind) is a collective sigh of “ohh fuck… Well, Newt?”
Karl Rove let in the shambling, wailing corpses of the Zombie Apocalypse.
I believe he was the one with the stroke of short-term genius that brought the Evangelicals into the fold? This larded up the numbers for them, but now has spawned the Crazier-Than-Thou choices for the freakin’ Presidential Nomination. How many people will truly rest easy with one of these choices as the Leader of the Free World?
You can pull these scams with Added Crazy to pull you over the top. But Crazy Only can’t cut it… that has GOT to be what they have left, with a lineup like this, and the Lone Sane Man is Huntsman and he’s at 1%.
Doesn’t that mean the “download is complete” and the Base is now the Crazy?
I’m sure there will be a thread up shortly to discuss the thousands of students who held a candle light vigil for the victims at Penn State last night.
Come on all you sanctimonious jerks, tell us all about what scum everyone at PSU is.
@WereBear: The repub field now is “404 error”.
Did anyone see Cain’s performance on Neil Cavuto’s show yesterday? A little dash of paranoia, a huge dash of ego.
He talks about a “network” of people who don’t want him to become president (yes, dear, they’re called primary opponents), and then Cavuto asks him if he will endorse Romney, if he doesn’t get the nom:
Then Cain goes on in the next sentence to talk about what he would have to consider “as somebody’s running mate”:
I’m beginning to wonder if this is the plan he had all along?
Rachel had a good segment last night on the “scam that is Newt Gingrich.” I think the Right no longer has politicians as much as they have grifters who recognize a walking, talking seam of gold when they stub their toe upon it. In the ’80’s it was their own evangelists… but the situation has mutated. But one thing they seem to NEED is some con artist to give money to.
I really do wonder why.
Way to pat yourself on the back, dude!
Between the earlier self-pity and now this sanctimonious self-congratulation, the PSU trolls on this board do no service to their fellows.
Perhaps canceling today’s game, as a mark of penance and respect for the victims, would have meant something.
But you know what, if they’d done that, the students would have rioted.
Since they are always claiming that Obama is one, they could always donate to him. That will teach Obama, the con artist. :)
@Raven: Big game today and I don’t mean Penn State.
Lavar Arrington spoke at the ceremony. What a class act he is. The news media did mention the candlelight ceremony but only spent a quick minute on it. Good for the students that arranged the ceremony.
I think Snowbilli Snooki represented the only time in my memory that voters voted for the VP candidate, for all the obvious reasons. I just don’t see any male tea party candidate firing up the base, who all hate Romney. Romney needs to find a new starburst machine.
@Raven: I see the WaPo ombudsman is reporting that readers are angered that a news story is covered mostly by opinion articles in the WaPo rather than, you know, actual reporting.
Sadly, of course this refers to the Penn State affair. Sad in that neither the readers nor the ombudsman sees this as anything other than a single incident, rather than the WaPo business model.
@Raven: I saw it mentioned in the news. And saw some web articles sympathetic to the student body and their shock.
Good analysis. There’s no way Romney’s going to pick any of these losers who are currently running. All of them have too much baggage except Huntsman, who wouldn’t help Romney at all.
That’s good analysis too! Though I’m not sure Mitt’s going to lose all those states. But you’re right: Mitt’s biggest nightmare is it gets to be a two man race really early.
Speaking of Penn St., McQueary’s not going to coach:
I thought it was insane that he wasn’t placed on administrative lead once his name came out.
Not only that vigil, but it will be a blue out at the game today with the blue shirts’ money going to child abuse victims. Also there is an online fund raiser happening among students and alumni that has already raised over $200,000 for child abuse victims in just 48 hours. If they can do what they do for THON with this, it could be the biggest fundraiser for the cause that anyone has ever seen.
THAT is why I’m still Penn State proud. 99.9% of Penn Staters are good people.
@Poopyman: Link, please?
@Barry: Ick! I have to link to the WaPo ombudsman?
Here ya go….
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Only if the traditional media changes its spots overnight. And the odds of that happening are…
Jon Huntsman has proposed eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends. That he is considered insufficiently right wing to have a chance of being nominated tells us everything we need to know about the modern Republican party.
@TenguPhule: If you are right, you can about quadruple your money on the Iowa election market. Willard is an overwhelming favorite at this time.
I don’t know if this theory has been debunked already, or if it’s so obvious it goes without saying, but here’s why I think Mitt Romney is having trouble crossing a certain threshold of popularity:
There’s a class struggle going on right now between the Republican party elite and the Teabagger base, right? Well, Romney is the preferred candidate of the elites. He’s a rich businessman and a former governor, so he’s one of them; plus he’s the candidate least likely to embarrass himself (and the party) in the campaign against Obama, thus the the one with the best (or at any rate the least-bad) chance.
The Teabaggers, on the other hand, are fighting to retain their power within the party, in addition to their resentment against the party elite bossing them around. Right now, their stock is going down: Teabagger politicians are being seen as having no agenda beyond gumming up the works of governance in DC; or, at the state level, as actively hostile to the populist concerns gaining momentum across the country. Come the next election there’s a good chance these guys go down, and then it’s curtains for the Teabagger tendency. So they need a big win against the party elite, i.e. the nomination of a Not-Mitt. Unfortunately, the Not-Mitts are either too dumb (Perry) or too flaky (take your pick) to stand a chance against Obama, so I reckon the Teabaggers are doomed.
@Amir Khalid: I so want to see the Teabaggers “take their ball and go home” which will spilt the Republican party.
Which I also see as inevitable.
Loved Perry’s “10 reasons why I had a brain freeze.”
Wonder what the odds are that Rick will get laid by a well-known political person before the election next year?
@Taylor: fuck you punk
eta I don’t even like fucking Penn State, never have and never will.
I for one don’t believe that Rick Perry had a brain freeze, any more than I believe that Dick Cheney has heart failure. Before you can suffer from that, you need to have a …
@Amir Khalid: Agreed.
Not to mention that the shellacking they took last Tuesday is, against all reason, causing them to double down on the crazy.
I predict that prior to Election Day 2012 they will be actively screeching and flinging their own poo in all directions, at which point the Ferengi media, complicit to the last, will commend them for their heartfelt commitment to American agriculture.
@Taylor: You know what? I’m beginning to think that nothing is going to satisfy the Ground Zero Football Stadium crowd either so the best thing to do is ignore their concerns and have a game. Difference between you and Pam Geller is shrinking by the hour and you haven’t found out yet how to grift from the situation.
That’s right! If this is going to be a I-hate-child-abuse contest, it’s easy to ramp it up as needed.
Villago Delenda Est
It’s good that the student body are doing this. But what is the Penn State University itself doing to take stock of the situation, to make whatever changes are needed to ensure this never happens again? Mike McQueary is on administrative leave, and he might end up fired like Paterno was. But this wasn’t just a matter of one or two bad eggs, it was an institutional failure, and I don’t quite see the institution addressing that just yet.
What amazes me is what a chum-churning spectacle the GOP nomination race has been is that not a single real, actual vote has been cast yet, and won’t be for a couple more months.
It’s possible that once the real process starts, the field will stabilize quickly.
I agree with the theory that the GOP Elite have already decided Romney will be the nominee, and everything else is a sideshow to pacify the rubes. Not too dissimilar to the Democratic primaries of 2004, in that TPTB wanted someone “safe,” like Gephardt or Kerry, and Dean’s insurgency was merely tolerated, then sabotaged.
I also agree with the theory that once Romney is anointed, the rubes will fall in line and vote for him, particularly if he chooses “one of their own” as a running mate. The GOP has no problem with nominating supremely unqualified people to be Veep (Agnew and Quayle leap to mind), because it really doesn’t give a damn about governance, only about diverting money to its patrons. Bush-Cheney isn’t an exception to that model, either; only the Real Candidate and the Rube Candidate were reversed.
Gilles de Rais
@WereBear: Believe it or not, the guy responsible for that, in what must be charitably termed the most all-time shortsighted moves in politics, was Jimmy Carter.
Y’all give pundits crap for lining up to suck off the Very Serious And Reasonable Paul Ryan while lining up to suck off the Very Serious And Reasonable Jon Huntsman who has identical views.
What’s with the Huntsman praise?
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@TenguPhule: Huntsman is the only one who’s marginally reasonable and intelligent, but think about a ticket with two men in magical underwear? Not on this planet. Huntsman’s out because he doesn’t help with the Christianist base.
@Gilles de Rais: Well, yes, but that is because Carter is a true Christian and felt Democratic values are, too.
It wasn’t until Karl Rove that the Evangelicals started bending policy their way… with crazy results.
Primary votes before April are distributed proportionally so this thing could drag on through the spring.
@Lol: yup. jonny boy is no different from the other loonies.
This is what strikes me. I mean, of course I’d never vote for him. That goes without saying. But ever since his (drunk? shrooming? vicodin-assisted?) speech with its “You’re awesome, girl!” moments, I’ve found myself thinking he’s probably an OK guy to bump into at a party as long as he’s never allowed to have any, y’know, power or influence. Over anything. Ever.
I saw the highlights video from that speech. Perry does seem to have that “David after dentist” quality to his demeanor, doesn’t he? On the other hand, he says he was stone-cold sober, not drunk or on pain meds, and I must say I find that a plausible if somewhat disturbing claim.
Villago Delenda Est
Keep in mind that Carter applied actual Christian values to things like private “Christian” schools that were actually ploys to get around racial integration.
That’s when maggots like Falwell, Robertson, etc turned Rethug.
Don’t think Cain or Perry would be chosen at VP guys. Santorum seems like a safe choice for Romney. Pawlenty as well. Would be shocked if one of the more explosive candidates like Cain/Perry/Bachmann are chosen.
Quaker in a Basement
Huntsman is the only major G.O.P. figure who appears to have done any thinking about where the party is at and where it should be going. He has many beliefs that I object to on principle, as do all of the others, but he has actually worked to eliminate some of the less popular ideas from the G.O.P. platform. The key here is “unpopular” not “objectionable”. Huntsman has supported gay rights, for exmaple, not necessarily because it is the right thing to do, but because it no longer appears to be helping the party to be seen to be opposing it. He has also supported changing the G.O.P.’s position on climate change and immigration for the same reason.
To put it another way, the other candidates are throwing out the red meat to their “base” whether it helps their chances in the long run or not. Huntsman is trying to avoid that. That doesn’t make him a political genius, but it puts him at the bare minimum level of competence you expect a politician to work at. None of the other G.O.P. candidates, including Romney, rise to that level.
Carter was a religious man himself, but wasn’t it the Reagan administration when the religious right / hypochristians became a real force?
I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate given that the party elite has been funding the shit out of the teabaggers: the Koch brothers largely astroturfed that shit into existence in the first place, the Murdoch empire’s basically been its voice in media, the elite think tanks have supported its crazy beliefs from the start.
As far as I can tell, the teabagger complaints about “party elites” comes down to a “dolchstosslegende,” a belief that there are powerful RINO traitors running the Republican Party in such a way that it sabotages the party (see also “Bush was a liberal:” it’s their explanation for why/how things fall apart every time they get their way at the ballot box). Romney, as a former liberal from New England and a not-really-Christian person, is rich scapegoat material.
@Lancelot Link: You’re right. From what I remember at the time, Carter took a shite-ton of abuse from the “realistic” media about actually trying to live up to the words of that religious philosopher Jesus; then Reagan came along and promised the Christianist bigots & conmen he’d give them all of the piety-pap while still keeping those people in their place. It was another “realignment” like the earlier version where Nixon captured the Dixiecrat racists by assuring him he’d work to gut LBJ’s civil rights laws. But then, is there an evil idea or individual in American politics during the last 50 years that didn’t have its roots in Nixon’s presidency?
Classic brilliant Taibbi.
My concern about this clown parade is that it gives the Democrats an excuse for another lurch right – despite the bloodbath for the almost GOPer Democrats in ’10. I’m not suggesting it would be reasonable…
I’m actually going to try to watch for a bit …
OMG, “The Commander In Chief Debate”
Left Coast Tom
This from the same writer who assured us barely two months ago that we should all be terribly frightened of Bachmann, and we should stop making fun of her because she thrived on our scorn?
I’m quickly coming to the view that the only reason people read Taibbi is because his “vampire squid” line regarding Goldman is still (reasonably enough, but still…) paying dividends.
The thread’s dead by now, pretty much, but I’ve only just thought of something. There’s a core of true believers among the Teabaggers, without whom the Koch brothers would have had no one to organize. And I certainly don’t disagree that the Teabaggers mistrust the motives of the GOP elite, see the elites as less than pure, and blame them for the party’s recent failures. But as I understand, the Teabagger tendency is itself split between Astroturfed and genuine grassroots groups, for just this reason. And mistrust between party base and elite does seem to me like a clear example of class conflict: the GOP’s 99%ers against the 1%ers.
Romney’s own lack of Teabagger purity cred is of course widely known. But the sense that he is the elite’s chosen man must also rankle the Teabaggers, and be part of the reason that they have not warmed to him.
Speaking as a Penn State alum, I would say I’m impressed at the 10,000 number, because a LOT less than a fifth of the student body was sane when I was there. (I’m assuming at least a quarter of those people were faculty/staff/administration, whom I always felt terribly sorry for.)
Still, that leaves four fifths who are bugfuck crazy egotists, total conservative nutbars, and/or perpetually drunken frat boys who think rape is a spectator sport.