September 14, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: I’m sorry I’m not sorry for being so baldly ‘sorry’

The campaign is beginning to take its toll on Gov. Perry

One of the great pleasures of any campaign, though especially delightful in Big Vote years, comes from watching Proud Men and Women in the pathetic act of refudiating* their proudest achievements.

You could about the see the last puddles of Mitt Romney’s soul drying up during the California debate as he broke into his well-honed number on the “lessons learned” from his “failed experiment” in health care reform as Massachusetts governor. The poor guy couldn’t help but slip in a few reminders of how brilliant the whole damn thing was, but he’s getting better at this stuff, and so just as quickly pivoted into that other routine about issuing “Obamacare” waivers. You know, if elected.

But then something else happened, something… odd. Having run through his usual talking points, the candidate seemed to sigh, and for a moment looked almost queasy. Was it Regret? The dumbstruck realization that Willard Mitt Romney would have to give up something more, something final, if he was going to reach up and grasp presidential Nirvana? Perhaps… but in fairness it also might’ve been the sight of Perry, who just feet away but off-camera was sticking his tongue between his middle and index fingers, which were held up to his mouth in the shape of a ‘V’.

Obscene gestures aside, Perry too has been busy Taking It Back as both Romney and Bachmann clobber him on Social Security and HPV vaccines, respectively. The Dark Fields took a broken-hearted whack at the inoculation issue yesterday, so we’ll leave that alone for now. (Though not entirely: Seriously, who’s to say we’re “crazy” for buying a new pair of underwear each afternoon, ya know, instead of doing the laundry, when the man-who-could-feasibly-be-president feels he must stand up in front of his fellow partisans and express heartfelt regret for having millions of schoolchildren immunized against a particularly dreadful form of cancer? There’s nothing crazy about wanting a pair of clean underwear, people.)

But as far as political parlor games go, the Social Security as Ponzi Scheme business is way more fun. If we may slip into Punditese for a moment, one might say, “America has seen ‘Perry the candidate’ being forced to confront ‘Perry the Texas governor’s’ ‘extremist views’ and in doing so ‘double-down’ on his choice to grab the ‘third rail’ of presidential politics, but then, with the Senior vote in the balance deciding to ‘walk it back’ and promise — Slam Dunk! — that the government wouldn’t touch their benefits, the selfish whores.” (We might’ve taken a left turn there at the end, but anyway…)

This, of course, led to the most satisfying exchange of the whole rotten week. Romney, not letting up, demanded Perry actually answer and attach his name to a real position on the, “Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme? Issue.” Perry, playing a slightly less principled John Proctor, gave in, all but crying, “I have given you my soul; leave me my name,” the torment of a presidential campaign finally penetrating his steel undercarriage. But Romney showed no mercy. “We’re talking about it right now, Governor,” he said, and once again pressed for an answer.

No, it’s not easy being For Real. If you want to hold on to yourself, go stand off to the side with Jon Huntsman, whose queer character from the first debate has morphed into a caricature of a man who quite simply doesn’t want to do this anymore, but is in too deep to go home without officially losing some kind of vote. Until then, terrible jokes, the occasional ugly dig, and a whole lot more skinny tie sandwiches for the Mandarin Candidate.

*Much as the Haters mocked Sarah Palin for her unholy breeding of “refute” and “repudiate” it does, when taken in context, seem to have a place in the language after all. Think of it — when one simultaneously denies the empirical validity and political viability of a certain argument, what have they done? They’ve refudiated, is what. Sarah Palin as Shakespeare.

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L’Affaire Weiner reached its logical conclusion last night when a Republican candidate won the special election to take his place representing New York’s 9th Congressional District. But you’d have hardly known what Weiner did to lose the seat, or that Republicans, looking to make a tidy “statement,” had played on the narrow-minded fears of the electorate’s disproportionately large amount of Orthodox Jews, from reading today’s accounts.

No, if you’d gone by this morning’s reporting, the election was about one man, Barack Obama. At least that’s what people will say, said the people who say things.

From the AP and NYT:

AP: “GOP novice Bob Turner wins Weiner’s old NY House seat in upset; victory seen as rebuke of Obama policies.”

More AP: “GOP scores upset wun as Turner takes Weiner’s NY House seat, seen as referendum on Obama policies.”

NYT: “Upset victory by Turner, R, in special Cong election will be seen as blow to Obama, analysts say.”

Have a great night, we’ll be seein’ you next Friday.

-GJK

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