Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Perry Pinata

A piñata is a figure, usually made from a clay pot covered with paper mache and decorated in bright colors, with candy and fruit inside. At parties piñatas are suspended from a rope and children, usually blind-folded, take turns hitting it with a stick until it breaks and the candy falls out onto the ground and the children rush to collect it. Breaking the piñata is a fun activity at Mexican parties.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been declared the frontrunner in the GOP Presidential 2012 race by many a media pundit, based on the numerous polls showing him soaring past all his competitors. Last night at the Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library, Perry, making his national introduction to most Americans, Perry was hoisted above the stage like a gaudily decorated piñata. It stood to reason the others at the party would take whacks at it, and they did. While the piñata did not break completely, spilling its treats on to the floor, it was severely cracked and offered a glimpse of what’s inside.

The children are going to be disappointed. 

Perry, late to enter the race, had his best moment when answering the first question about the state of his state. Sidestepping the deplorable statistics about the quality of life in Texas, Perry solidly replied Texas created an environment that fostered economic growth and if the nation was interested in seeing those policies in the White House, he was their man. It was his high point of the night.

When faced with the question as to why Texas is dead last in the nation for getting its residents covered with health care insurance, Perry could only reply that Texans don’t want a Massachusetts style plan. That may be true, but Governor Perry failed to lay out what they do want and what he’s been doing the last ten years to deliver it to them.  

Instead, he ducked behind the issue and blasted the Federal government, citing the  strings attached to the Medicare funds they provide his state. While conservatives may not like the MassCare plan, then Gov. Romney was able to get the Feds approval to make changes to how Medicare funds are used in order to get his citizens 98% insured. That’s quite a difference in leadership, ability and results. 

On the issue of Social Security, Perry doubled-down on his claim the federal retirement system is a “Ponzi Scheme” for those 30 years old and under. While Social Security has its difficulties, those can be remedied fairly easily with adjustments to retirement age, contribution rates and options for participants on the use of their contributions. The problem with Perry and Social Security is his inability to explain why he believes the system is a failure and more importantly, what solutions he would offer to remedy it. Perhaps those will emerge in future debates. But for pundits to declare Perry is gutsy in calling the system a fraudulent scheme are presenting a flase argument. No GOP candidate is saying the system is fine as is. They all agree it has problems and some have offered solutions and proposals for reform. Perry is merely ringing an alrm bell and shouting "Fire" but he brings no water.

When the issues turned to foreign policy, Perry was asked about his stated belief Americans don’t want to see “Military adventurism.” Perry explained we as a nation should not be going into harms way without a clear entry and exit strategy. Sounds good, but when asked where in the world Perry thought the US engaged in such a cavalier policy, Perry merely reiterated his original claim about adventurism and said he was making a philosphical argument. All right then, cite some examples of American adventurism and how you would have approached the issue. In this regard, Perry again came up woefully short by not elaborating.

On education, Perry cited some questionable stats on student improvements, but glossed over the heavy budget cuts in education he has pushed in his state. The results are not pretty as Texas has logged some of the lowest ranks results for education in the nation. Is that a record Republicans want to tout in a general election campaign? Doubtful.

At one point during the debate the Texas Governor lamented, “I kinda feel like the piñata here at the party.”  He better get used to feeling that way as this campaign continues.

So as the Perry piñata cracked, it dropped boilerplate conservative candies on to the stage. That might be enough for some diehards. Perry however, he revealed himself to be unwilling or unable to speak on issues with any depth. He repeated platitudes; he dodged issues and fell back on job creation as a remedy for all domestic problems. The Texan spoke in a halting, searching style, which did not portray him as in command, when moving away from his talking points. Last nights performance did little to erase the image Perrys a shallow, swaggering cowpoke. If anything, he may just have cast himself as man who knows what he’s supposed to say to his base, but when pressed, can’t respond as to why.

Please check us out on Facebook and If you like what you see, please "Like" us. You can find us here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome! thanks doug!!!