Reading between Governor Rick Perry’s lines

Texas Governor Rick Perry should never ever be President. His far far right political views put him well outside of the mainstream.

When he’s not busy proclaiming everything is unconstitutional, he’s saying a lot of other things that are either offensive or deeply alarming or both. On the first day of his first week as an official Republican presidential hopeful Governor Perry simply outdid himself.

Here are 3 things Governor Perry said in just 24 hours that give you an idea of just how out there he is:

1. He is OK with making threats towards Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

Perry told a crowd in Iowa Monday evening, “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion.”

I wonder if Governor Perry means this literally or figuratively? Literally, treason is an offense punishable by death so by following his “reasoning” one could conclude that if Bernanke printed more money between now and election day and then travel to Texas, his life would be in danger. That’s a little out there for a presidential candidate.

2. Perry warns that a “big black cloud” hangs over the country.

While Perry seems to be referring to the dire economic situation it is a very peculiar turn of phrase to be sure. Does this “big black cloud” have a name? Is the “big black cloud” named President Barack Obama? Next, you’ll hear him doing his best Newt Gingrich impersonation talking about a Kenyan anti-colonialist cloud. It’s possible that this is totally benign, however in an election cycle rife with dog whistles on the right, my ears are particularly sensitive these days.

3. Perry seems to think a women’s proper place is at home ironing his shirts.

While speaking to a crowd in Waterloo, Iowa Governor Perry removed his suit jacket and then said, “My daughter’s cold so I gave her my jacket. If this shirt’s got a few wrinkles in it, it’s not my wife’s fault.”

It’s good to know that Governor Perry doesn’t blame his wife for the wrinkles in his shirt but I’m not sure anyone other than Perry would even give his wife a second thought if a wrinkle were to appear. In an attempt to appear folksy to a conservative Iowa audience Perry just sounds like he might be running to replace President Eisenhower.

Bonus! When asked if President Obama loves America Governor Perry responded, “You need to ask him.” How nice.

If the past 24 hours are indication of what is to come, this is going to be an ugly election season full of pandering, racial dog whistles, and sexist tropes. Awesome.

Join the Conversation

  • Sam Lindsay-Levine

    Sadly none of this seems outside the mainstream to me.

  • unequivocal

    When he’s not busy proclaiming everything is unconstitutional, he’s saying a lot of other things that are either offensive or deeply alarming or both.

    The examples given require a pretty broad definition of “offensive”, and an incredibly broad definition of “deeply alarming.”

    Perry definitely shouldn’t be president, but the relatively innocuous quotes in the article are the very least of the reasons why.

    • Dan C

      Agreed. That’s the problem. He really hasn’t made any gaffes yet.

      • Smiley

        Agreed too.

        I was going to write the same thing, but others got there before I did. It really is striking how easilysome people can be offended these days.

        It seems as if the reasoning is ‘I don’t like this guy, so let’s find something to offend me’. It should rather be the other way round, no?

        PS And if he’d said he was in a dark mood? Or that the future was not bright?

        • beet

          I found this first comment deeply alarming, even while I recognize it represents, sadly, the opinion of many people. But this is because that after years of study of economics, I believe that the root cause of America’s economic problems lies on what Barry Eichengreen calls our “exorbitant privilege”, the fact that foreign central banks hold $6 trillion in reserves locked up in their vaults and continue to buy more every day. In the short term this was good for America because it made foreign imports cheaper, but in the long term, it’s killing American industry because it makes American production and labor more expensive and prolongs our dependence on foreign oil. Our $500 billion annual trade deficit is our real vulnerability, because it represents what foreign countries can physically pull out of our consumption basket. The only solution to this is to devalue our currency, the dollar. I know that sadly, this will lead to some inflation, and I strongly believe in fiscal policies to aid the poor who are hurt by this, but I am positive that without a long term currency and trade rebalancing, America will never recover. The Fed does need to “print money” not only to revive growth but to improve America’s competitiveness. I also suspect that Perry believes deep down inside that this policy (as well as fiscal stimulus policies) would actually create jobs, which accounts for part of the intensity of his opposition to it, because I believe he’s put his desire to win in 2012 above a desire to create jobs over the next year. The same applies to some extent, I think, to many conservative Republicans who are against fiscal stimulus as well as monetary easing policies.

  • Spencer Koelle

    I think the “big black cloud” is likely to be a rorschach effect move. He knows there is bad stuff going on and people are scared about it. As long as he doesn’t get into specifics, they can project their personal fears on the “big black cloud” and he reassures them without commiting to do anything about distinct issues.

  • Dan C

    He has a very good shot at winning. Whether he’s responsible for it or not, some parts of the Texas economy have done well recently, which gives him all the soundbites he needs.

    The thought of having another evangelical in the White House makes me cringe.

  • bookaholic

    What is it with right wing politicians and ironing? Tony Abbott, current leader of the conservative opposition in Australia (paradoxically named the Liberal party), also made a comment about women doing the ironing about two years ago.

  • Critter

    Thank you for posting this…blatant racism at its worst. It’s incredible how many people are excusing his behavior. It’s absolutely clear what he mean by a “black cloud;” I don’t care what any Perry apologist has to say.

    • Corinne

      Can I dislike Perry and yet call out journalistic dishonesty against him? That was an edit, and I provided a link to it, and the full soundbite at the bottom of the comments.

      If can call out the sexism against Bachman without supporting her, I think people can call out things like this against Perry.

      • unequivocal

        Critter, I would really like to hear either a rebuttal or an acknowledgment of error. In light of the full clip, do you still stand by the claim that this is blatant racism?

  • Ted Ayers

    The threatening statements about Bernanke are pretty terrible, especially in the context of his tone in the video; he wasn’t trying to be funny but they laughed anyway. Congresswoman Giffords should probably give pArry a visit. But the other two quotes seem a little hypersensitive and included just for the sake of making a list.

  • Corinne

    Apologies, but if this is the MSNBC report you’re referring to with the “black cloud” mention, that was a convenient edit.

    Here is a link to a comparison between the edit and the entirety of that soundbite.

    Am I defending Rick Perry’s crazy? No. He has plenty of that without tricks. But, dishonesty is dishonesty.

    • unequivocal

      This is excellent; I appreciate you bringing the actual clip to our attention.

      Selective editing like this continues to irritate me, particularly in the face of posters like Critter above making statements like “It’s absolutely clear what he mean by a “black cloud;” I don’t care what any Perry apologist has to say.”

      Can’t we accept that people like Perry are horrible enough just based on their politics? Do we really have to flat out lie in order to strengthen our case?

      • Corinne

        Thank you for the appreciation!

        Now, I suppose we wait for some clarification in the article itself.

  • Brüno

    “Perry seems to think a women’s proper place is at home ironing his shirts.”

    I must say this is unfair towards the governor. It implies he forces his wife to iron his shirts. It ammounts to holding it against him, to say “my wife” when he answers truthfully on who ironed his shirt/jacket.

    It could just as well be that his wife wants to be kept as a housewife. There are more than enough women around who want to be a housewife, to a reasonable well off man that is and I would say a governor earns okay money.