There was another Republican debate last night, this time hosted by CNBC, the last TV bastion of our weary money barons and the pushers of "The War on Wealth" news story. But the only real headline to come out of this latest episode of "Survivor: GOP Presidential Primary," was that Rick Perry continues to stink at debating. "Oops," he did it again, y'all!
From CBS News:
Perry was discussing his jobs plan and his flat tax plan when he said: "And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the... what's the third one there? Let's see."
Perry then paused and there was audible laughter in the room. Texas Rep. Ron Paul then chimed in "You need five," to which Perry responded, "Oh, five, OK. So Commerce, Education, and the..."
Romney then suggested, "EPA?" to which Perry responded, "EPA, there you go, no..." with laughter from the candidate and the audience.
Moderator John Harwood from CNBC then asked, "Seriously, is the EPA the one you were talking about?"
"No, sir, no, sir. We were talking about the agencies of government -- the EPA needs to be rebuilt. There's no doubt about that," Perry responded.
"But you can't name the third one?" Harwood asked.
"The third agency of government I would, I would do away with, the Education, the... Commerce and, let's see," Perry said, as his brain freeze continued.
Finally, Perry gave up, saying: "I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops."
The Many Crises of Herman Cain got a momentary reprieve as there was fresh blood in the water, coming from a badly wounded Texas Governor, whose poor showing in debates has gone from misfortune to unfortunate meme. One mistake is a mistake. Several mistakes is a critical flaw.
Rick Perry sucks at debates. And he knows he sucks, and he obviously can't get better. There was even a story a while back about Perry sitting out a few episodes of "Survivor: GOP," but was quickly slapped down for fear of folks believing Perry was too scared to debate a gaggle of known kooks (Paul, Santorum), morons (Bachmann, Cain), grifters (Gingrich) and Ken Doll Candidates (Huntsman and Romney).
I mean, when Michele Bachmann feels pity for you ...
In an interview with CNBC after the debate, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann sympathized with Perry, saying "we all felt very bad for him."
Perry later admitted that, yeah, he flubbed it up good, but the campaign must go on!
"Oh, shoot, no," Perry told The Associated Press on Thursday morning, the day after making the error during a GOP debate. Asked whether his campaign, which is struggling to regain traction, could survive, Perry replied: "This ain't a day for quitting nothing."
That said, even with this screw up, there's no reason for Rick Perry to drop out as the race is still wide open. Herman Cain can't win a general election and almost all his support is a mix of pity and self-loathing. Bachmann is too dumb. Hunstman is too smart. Romney is a soulless android missing his "emotion" microchip. Hell, The Wall Street Journal declared the other day that this race is wide open for Gingrich. GINGRICH! The guy who spends every debate arguing with the moderators for insisting that the candidates "debate" each other.
Gingrich is about as likable as a pap smear, but he still has a chance in a race where everyone is either too conservative to win in a general or once helped one too many old ladies cross the street who may or may not have been illegal immigrants making them awful socialists and unable to make it out of the primary. Even yours truly predicted that Gingrich of no money and no charm still had a shot at the crown simply by following John McCain's pattern of appearing to be the most reasonable candidate in a sea of idiots.
Said The Snob:
The establishment is likely leaning towards Romney as he "waited his turn" and is cut from the Daddy Warbucks, Robber Barons N' Wall Street, cloth. But he still fails a ton of purity tests and has that air of desperation and "I'll say anything" about him. The more he tries to get people to like him the more they seem to recoil in horror. This means that as long as Newt Gingrich, like McCain, can survive this summer of discontent, he still has a chance to be the choice of compromising Daddy Warbuckes who feel Romney is weak for being politically flip flopping follower of Joesph Smith.
Now can Newt win against Obama? Goodness no. But he's just recognizable yet pedestrian enough to survive. He has basic name recognition. He still has conservative bona fides for his Contract With America stunt with the help of a little selective, revisionist history. He's still associated with that "winning" feeling of the mid-1990s when the Republicans took over Congress. Although he's botched the whole subtle move to the center to appeal to folks who can't tell the difference between their Ds and Rs with dissing Paul Ryan's planway too early, and he's probably sitting on some John Edwards-level epic fail that has caused his staff to abandon him. Gingrich is the most likely to execute the old Hollywood and business practice of "failing upwards."
Failing up is what's used to explain the careers of Hollywood actors and actresses who still get major roles or pull nice salaries when most of their films were critically dismissed or financial flops. Case in point: The entire career of Ben Affleck. I really want Hollywood to stop trying to make Ben Affleck happen. Yet, there he is! He keeps coming back! It's obvious that Matt Damon had all the talent in that duo. Affleck is associated with a slew of critical and financial bombs. And as somewhat enjoyable "Gone Baby Gone" was, most folks still snicker when they think of his J. Lo period.
Newt Gingrich is the Ben Affleck of the RNC. Coasting on the success and hardwork of others, yet somehow still liked by certain conservatives even though he has miserably failed at almost everything he's touched since he was booted from Congress. Extra-marital affairs, tacky excesses, ethics violations and sheer smuggness mean nothing when for some reason someone out there really, really likes you and keeps putting you on Meet the Presson Sunday.
You keep saying "WHO IS THIS GUY! AND WHO KEEPS INVITING HIM TO THINGS!" Yet there he is! Others from the 90s Republican Revolution Gingrich was part of are on the backs of milk cartons or publicly disgraced (what's Bill Frist, Dick Armeyand Tom DeLay doing these days?), but look at Gingrich! He's half-assed running for President.
There's no need to "pull a Pawlenty" and run away, Rick. (Or Newt.) There's still a lot of horse nobody wants to bet on left in this race.