Rick Perry’s Collateral Damage

December 13th, 2011 at 1:15 pm | 36 Comments |

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The epic collapse of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Presidential campaign has been much-discussed with an emphasis on how this collapse affects his political future. This is to be expected, but a debacle like this will inevitably take down the fortunes of others.

I’m not talking about people like the staffers who left former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign for Perry’s campaign. That’s too obvious and they are professionals who made their political beds. I’m talking about the innocent victims of the Perry campaign’s decline.

Writers from Texas. Rick Perry’s political campaign promised to be a bonanza for writers based in Texas. Many of us (like me) were looking forward to writing articles that mixed local political anecdotes, policy analysis and homespun sayings (like “that dog won’t hunt”) into packages that people all over America could read about for many months. Some of us even received publishing deals to write books about Rick Perry. Now, the publishing deals are being rescinded, editors are suggesting we might want to think about other topics to write about and that dog, well, you know.

Guys Who Like Brush Jackets. For reasons best known to the gods of irony, Rick Perry decided to film a demagogic anti-gay advertisement while wearing a brush jacket. Now, there is nothing wrong with brush jackets. I own one, as do millions of other Texans. The problem is, Perry decided to wear the same type of clothing in his advertisement that the late Heath Ledger immortalized in Ang Lee’s masterpiece Brokeback Mountain. An internet meme was born and now I can’t wear my brush jacket in public for at least a few months because people might think I’m trying to look like Rick Perry. And it’s such a comfortable jacket.

-The author and his comfortable jacket.

Aggies. Texas A&M University is an excellent university. It is a top-tier national research university and it is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. I would be proud to send my child to Texas A&M and some of my best friends are Aggies. Texas A&M, however, has always had a bit of an image problem as being a school that has a fair amount of students (and graduates) that haven’t quite left the barnyard far behind them.

Most Aggies take this reputation in stride and they themselves like to tell an Aggie joke from time to time. But Rick Perry has managed to make himself the most famous Aggie in America and he hasn’t done so by doing something cool like getting nominated for an elite scholarship.

During this campaign season, Rick Perry has managed to personify and promote a stereotype about Texas A&M that isn’t true anymore, to the extent it ever really was. I’d imagine more than a few Aggies would have preferred that Perry had stayed in Austin for most of 2011.

The proverb that says “when elephants fight, the grass gets trampled” seems particularly apt in this year’s Republican Presidential race. So even if you are happy that Rick Perry is unlikely to be the GOP’s Presidential nominee in 2012, please give a thought to those who were trampled in that melee, through no fault of their own.

In any conflict, there will be collateral damage and this is true in Presidential elections as well.

Recent Posts by Mark R. Yzaguirre

36 Comments so far ↓

  • Lonewolf

    You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. However, Perry is proof that you can break an unlimited number of eggs, and still not come up with an omelette.

    • Ray_Harwick

      Texas A&M Alert – Please give widest distribution:

      Rick Perry’s alma mater will provide the next head football coach for Fresno State (also known as California State University, Fresno – my alma mater). Note to incoming coach: Be sure you know your bible. The reason Fresno State is seeking a new coach is because, after nearly a decade of guiding the team, the play they know best is how to Tebow** in the end zone before the games starts.

      **Tebowing: 1. Dropping to one knee to pray while thousands of people around you are doing something else. 2. Multi-tasking for American Christians whereby they take advantage of network television camera to cheer for their team and rub their religious agenda in the public nose when people just want to watch football. 3. Being the Jehova’s Witness or Mormon Missionary who rings the doorbell when the national championship game is tied with 3 seconds to play.

  • Saladdin

    The Funny or Die version of this commercial is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Actually Perry’s promise was that he would be a great retail politician, but he really hasn’t shined in that area and he’s a bad public speaker to boot.

  • LFC

    Amusing post. Unfortunately for you, since you’re a resident of Texas, you have to weigh the claim of collateral damage against the fact that the only reason Rick Perry was in place to damage the reputation of your state is because Texas elevated him to the level of governor in the first place.

    Of course it could have been vastly worse. Imagine the Texas Tarnish you’d be living with if you had an incompetent governor actually become President and then proceed to pretty much destroy our economy, fail to protect our nation, screw up two wars, brutalize our military due to a war of choice promoted on lies, send our federal debt into the stratosphere, bring back torture as policy, and generally embarrass our nation in the eyes of the rest of the world. Oh, wait. Your state already did that to us.

    • PracticalGirl

      But some in Texas desperately wish we could quit him.

      • LFC

        I know the feeling. I live in Pennsylvania where we elected Santorum. What an embarrassment, but I thought we at least corrected it. Then we sent Toomey to Washington.

        Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh on the left, Philadelphia on the right, and West Virginia in the middle.

  • Rob_654

    After seeing Perry perform on the campaign trail and hearing him answer questions, all I can say is that Texas must be a very different place to elect that guy time after time.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    great piece. I love the picture and the quote: now I can’t wear my brush jacket in public for at least a few months because people might think I’m trying to look like Rick Perry. And it’s such a comfortable jacket.

    Well, at least you had the good sense to say you were not trying to look like Heath Ledger. (I am not talking about the character he played, but the actor himself). Heath you ain’t and to be honest, neither am I by a long shot. It is just nice to see a picture of a normal looking guy being himself without pretense.

    I am of two minds about Texas, there are things I love about it (the hospitality, the land) and things I hate (the poverty). I think that Perry is likely the last of his kind, demographics will see to that.

  • TexasDog

    Oh how I wish he would just fade away. Maybe after the Iowa Caucus he can drop out gracefully.

    • Baron Siegfried

      Don’t be so sure of that . . . over at RedState, they’re trying to whup up a “Save Rick Perry” campaign, as they see both Newt and Mutton taking them down in flames. A sentiment with which, of course, I heartily agree.

      However, I think that the electorate has been burned rather badly by low-competence Texas governors before and are understandably a bit hesitant to allow another the opportunity to complete what the first started. While he panders shamelessly to the basest of his base, he will be sowing the seeds of the attack ads against him in the general. This, I suspect, will be the subject of much analysis in PoliSci classes for decades to come, as the qualities demanded by the extreme elements of the party to secure the nomination are exactly those which will repel the independent, moderate, and centrist voters whose support will be necessary to be elected.

      The irony here is so thick one could cut, package, and sell it . . .

  • Ray_Harwick

    Mark either didn’t know, or just skipped over, some of the juicier ironies of Perry’s “I’m Proud To Be A Persecuted Christian Who Hates Gays” advertisement:

    1. It was produced by Perry’s GAY staff members.

    2. They outfitted the boss in Brokeback style.

    3. The background music was composed by Aaron Copeland (see: Fanfare For The Common Man) who, besides being America’s most notable home-grown classical composer, was also one of America’s most notable, home-grown flaming homosexuals.

    I’d say Perry’s staff intensionally sabotaged his advertisement, but, Nay. It was just a coincidence. Right?

    • Graychin

      Never assume a conspiracy when simple stupidity and/or incompetence is a sufficient explanation.

    • jakester

      It had to be, it was almost a liberal parody of a conservative Christian where the straight man didn’t get it.

    • Houndentenor

      Copland was also a communist for awhile in the 1930s. He appeared before the McCarthy Committee where no one seemed to know who he was or why he was there (and therefore failed to have noticed that he had given a number of pro-socialist speeches…he lied about his red affiliations and no one bothered to do the research to catch him).

      BTW, I’m appalled that Copland’s estate would allow his music to be used this way. Assuming they asked for permission (political campaigns often do not knowing that artists tend not to be conservative).

      • Ray_Harwick

        Maybe they’re Republicans. If Newt can work both sides of the fence, who not the Copelands? Seriously, I have grave doubts that the surviving kin of Aaron Copeland have a litmus test for whoever pays royalties for his music. Let’s just be thankful it wasn’t Malher’s sentimental melodies and military themes that framed Adolph Hitler’s propaganda films.

  • Oldskool

    About that fence on the border? Yeah, when we build it, it’s going up on the other side of the state, at night, while you guys are asleep. Sorry.

  • rbottoms

    You elected a dipsh*t as governor and now you’re all embarrassed about it.

    Poor baby.

  • ScienceChick

    My eighth grader came to me and asked who Rick Perry was and why did he hate gays? After learning he was running for president, she was aghast that Gov. Perry might think people would be won over to his side for gay-bashing. “And Mom? The way he was eating that sausage….. ” She gave me that look teens use today – What has been seen, cannot be unseen.

    • Ray_Harwick

      It was a corn dog.

      • ScienceChick

        Can not be unseen!!!!!

      • LFC

        Ray, I found the posting on this and they updated to say that some told them it was a fake. Their response to this is absolutely friggin’ priceless:

        Update: It has come to our attention that a bunch of “scientists” have theorized that this photo of Rick Perry enjoying a corndog in front of a painting of a naked man is fake. Here is our position: We do agree that the science is not settled on this. But the idea that we would decide whether the photo was photoshopped based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to us, is just nonsense. After all, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

        • Ray_Harwick

          Okay. I’m down with that. This is unsettled and we should wait until we have the data before we try to force this down the throats of an unsuspecting public. Makes sense to be cautious. Also, theoretically, it was Michelangelo who painted Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but I don’t think that’s settled, either.

    • rbottoms

      “Well blow me down.”

      ~ Popeye the Sailor

      • rongoodman

        After I stop laughing hysterically, I might have to consider putting bleach in my eyes–that image is going to be hard to forget.

  • Giggles

    Go Aggies… what are you good for.

    Football, football, football. Oh and a sub standard (barely passed his exams) presidential candidate.

    As for your book contracts, my heart bleeds, you are obviously (you say so yourself by your complaining) a merely average ‘homespun’ writer of ‘Texas sized’ talent and of unremarkable value.
    You were depending on Perry to put you onto Easy Street/K-Street/Newt Street. You, a Texas native, were depending on Perry for your pay check.

    This man has been your Governor for 10+ years and you didn’t know he would let you down.

    MARK R. YZAGUIRRE it is you who is the mutt that can’t hunt.

    • jerseychix

      You completely forgot the engineers that built the bonfire that killed a couple of kids. Though, I gotta say, TAMU has a good vet school.

  • Ray_Harwick

    Perry (Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum) Ally Update: From The Ruth Institute, a branch of National Organization “for” Marriage:

    Today In Christian Love: National Organization “for” Marriage’s alleged charitable arm – The Ruth Institute – version, speaking to all Americans who are non-Christian:

    “Yes, you are outsiders. Go start your own damn country. This one was started by Christians, you puerile dimwits. It is Christians who established and largely Christians who fought and died to maintain the freedoms you enjoy. And Christians are still the majority. Apparently your vaulted belief system doesn’t equip you to handle being in the minority. That’s interesting, isn’t it? After all, this was and is a societal situation valiantly handled by millions and millions of Christians who suffered — and currently suffer — real oppression, violence, torture, economic deprivation, and cruel deaths. But you have to go through turning off the TV once in a while and so your precious puny feelings are hurt. How delicate and frail your mental architecture is! You are a pitiful joke.”

    So, if you are not an According-To-Hoyle Christian, or if you are and don’t agree with these GOP allies – There! I’ll pass this along to my Jewish, Muslim, Buddest and, of course, since NOM doesn’t think Mormons are Christian, my Mormon friends to document who the Persecuted Christian Presidential Candidates Who Are Proud They Hate Gays hang out with. Thank heavens the Cain Train derailed or it would be the Gang Of Five.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Other collateral damage

    1. GOPROUD – after how negatively received was their outing of Perry’s pollster in retaliation for his ad

    2. HPV vaccine – after giving Michele Bachmann a vehicle to claim it makes kids mentally handicapped or whatever it was

    3. Experimental stem cell back surgery – who wants this after seeing how loopy his back pain meds make him?

    • Houndentenor

      So it reveals the GOP’s problems with hypocrisy (gays working on anti-gay ads) and it’s war on science (HPV vaccine and stem cell research).

      New Rule: If you are against stem cell research then sign a legal document that will prevent you from every benefiting from the medical treatments that will come from that research.

  • jakester

    Freaking dude was the ultimate party animal funny guy. You got to hand it to him, in a field full of clowns, he stood out.

  • Houndentenor

    Does this mean I can break out the Aggie jokes now? When I lived in NYC they were useless because no one there knew what an Aggie was, and in Texas everyone has already heard them.

    Why don’t they have ice at Texas A&M?

  • MurrayAbraham

    “Guys Who Like Brush Jackets” and “Aggies” are undoubtedly collateral damage, but not writers and even less staffers. The former didn’t seek to benefit from Perry, the later did.

  • dante

    Not for nothing, but how is “General Republican Party” not part of the collateral damage on this? In the past they’ve sought to emphasize their stand on social issues in an effort to whip up the base. This election (and 2010, to be honest) the GOP has sought to downplay the social aspects of their platform, and try to focus the campaigns more on the economic issues where they’re stronger. American’s in general are trending towards the Democratic party on social issues: Abortion, gays, etc. Even just 3 years later, it’s estimated that Prop 8 wouldn’t pass California based on current polling. Social issues are a LOSS for the Republican party in the general election. Idiotic acts like Perry’s commercial only draw more attention to the fact that the Republican party is stuck in the dark ages with regards to social issues. You don’t think that there are hundreds of thousands of people age 15-25 that are rolling their eyes and thinking “what do you expect, it’s the Republican party.” College Republicans (and those legions of Paultards) strive to avoid this subject at all cost. They talk more about economic and social freedom, *not* “we’re going to cram our religious morality down your throats”.

    Perry is now a laughing stock among anyone in the under-30 crowd. If you don’t think that that somehow drags down the rest of the Republican party, you’re delusional.

  • mannie

    This primary season is the gift that keeps on giving!! I was so disappointed when The Donald cancelled the debate. We had a bag of weed all set aside for that grand evening.

  • jnik

    Collateral damage certainly should include the state of Texas, which has shown that it simply cannot produce good Presidential material. There should be a Constiuitional Amendment prohibiting anyone from Texas from EVER entering the White House again.