WHAT I WOULD DO RIGHT NOW IF I WERE RUNNING THE RICK PERRY CAMPAIGN
If I were in charge of Perry's campaign, I'd send him to New York to do a lengthy interview with Maureen Dowd. It took her longer than I expected to thoroughly reject Barack Obama as a pathetic fag, but she's done it -- note the dancer-in-tights opening line of today's column:
The president was in "Afternoon of a Faun" mode, a rural deity playing on his panpipes in the woods.
As the column progresses, she's not particularly kind to Rick Perry, although I'm certain that's changeable:
... Perry galloped through Iowa like an unbroken stallion in danger of cracking a leg.
The Texas governor called the president "the greatest threat to our country" and questioned his patriotism and sense of duty. The former Air Force pilot said the military and veterans would prefer a commander in chief who had been in uniform.
Perry said Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, would commit a "treasonous" act if he "prints more money" and threatened Lee Marvin justice. "We would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas," he said.
Why do conservatives always have to brand people traitors? Why can't they just say "You're mistaken"?
I think if the campaign sent Perry to Dowd to answer that and other questions face-to-face, she'd be thoroughly disarmed. Go read the two columns she wrote when another male preener and self-invented tough guy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was first running for governor -- Arnold endlessly holds forth as Dowd seems to sit there saying, "Oh, please tell me more." He claims seriousness and a profound respect for women, as well as a belief in, er, the triumph of the will:
"I love shopping for my wife," he replied excitedly. "Because wherever I go in the world, I think about her and I want to bring something back. So when you go to Europe, they have great stores. So I go and I get jackets, shirts, whole outfits, dresses. Because I know exactly the sizes! Then I have people in the store try on the clothes that I find. Or I go find some woman coming in who is about the same size. Or when I buy jewelry I have them put it on, see what the necklace looks like or the bracelet. And I would say I'm 95 percent on the money. With the size and with the style. Maria loves that. Sometimes I get a little beating because I'll come home with a jacket that's a little oversized, and she'll say, 'Do you think really I'm that fat?' And I have a lot of patience to go with her because I like to tell her, 'This looks good.' She always says, 'Why don't you go over in the men's section?' and I say: 'No, no. I want to stay here and I want to help you because you'll find something great.'"
... Books? "Things about electricity. 'California Electricity Crisis.' And another one about how the schools work. I'm trying to educate myself and get up to speed with a lot of things that I'll need for the future. I don't have the time to go and read novels."
... He applies [bodybuilding]'s "visualization" method to politics: "When you lie down and you put 490 on the bench press, how do you know you can't do 500 except for trying it?" ...
Soon, Dowd was calling Gray Davis, the man Schwarzenegger hoped to unseat, "androgynous," and was arguing that it was pointless to bring up old sexual harassment charges against Schwarzenegger because feminists didn't go after Bill Clinton in the '90s.
That's what will happen to Perry if he sits down with Dowd, looks deep into her eyes, and tells her all the serious thoughts he has and all the lessons he's learned from his hardscrabble life on the dusty Texas plains, or wherever the hell he grew up. She's ready for a Rick Perry.