Friday, August 19, 2011


I love the fact that after Rick Perry made threatening remarks about Ben Bernanke, the press went out the next day and delivered a clearly spoon-fed story about how he was a new Rick Perry, subdued and on message -- see the stories from The New York Times and Bloomberg. Right after that, though, he told a child and his mother that evolution is "a theory that is out there -- and it's got some gaps in it," and accused climate-change researches of faking science for the money. Oops -- so much for subdued and on message.

What was deeply amusing to me was this CBS News story from that brief moment in the middle, in which reporter John Dickerson (yeah, the Slate guy) told anchor Scott Pelley that Perry's ability to tone it down is a sign of his political awesomeness just the way his Texas swagger is (emphasis added below):

DICKERSON: Well, today he found some of the restraint that was lacking yesterday. On Monday he campaigned in casual clothes and had lots of strong opinions about a variety of different things. Today he campaigned in a coat and tie and measured his words carefully. When he came to Iowa, he didn't read from his prepared speech. Today, at the end of his three-day swing, he read almost entirely, word for word, from that speech. What started as a swagger became more of a tiptoe.

PELLEY: What does that tell you?

DICKERSON: It tells us he's serious about campaigning. As a third-term governor, he could be pretty set in his ways. But he changed quickly to fix a mistake -- and this was a mistake. At worst, it suggested he didn't have the temperament to be president, these remarks. At best, it distracted from his effort to introduce himself to voters and to stay focused on his main message, which is President Obama's bad economic record. The challenge now for Perry is to make sure that he doesn't bury that energy that made him so compelling to voters in the first place.

So what's the new narrative going to be? I assume it'll be something along the lines of "tacky, uncouth, unrepresentative provocateurs, intimidated by Perry's political awesomeness, unfairly try to force him off message." (That would seem to be the meaning of this headline from ABC's Note.)

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