I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude on Rick Perry’s chances, but this is an encouraging sign.
Back in ’08, Palin was criticized for using her infant son Trig as a “prop.” That is, she dared to bring him onstage with her when she accepted the nomination. As if she was the first politician to bring her family up onstage. As if she should’ve left her baby in the car. As if the left wouldn’t accuse her of being ashamed of him if he hadn’t been there with his mom.
No, if you really want to use your kid as a prop, this so-far-unnamed woman* in New Hampshire just showed you how to do it. Push the little guy in front of a politician you don’t like. Whisper some questions in his ear that you think will embarrass the politician. When it doesn’t work, up the ante. Hiss louder while hiding behind your own flesh and blood. Use him as a prop.
The 2012 election won’t be about the issues. Sure, they’re important, but they won’t be the deciding factor. They never are, or we wouldn’t be in this mess right now. No, the most valuable skill for the candidate that ends up standing in the way of Obama’s rightful place in history? Dealing with hecklers and the press. (Pardon the redundancy.) And Perry does a fine job of it here. He has this amateur pegged from the start and he turns it right around on her, without being cruel to the child she’s using as a rhetorical human shield. When he says “Your mom’s asking about evolution,” what he’s really saying is, “Are you seeing this, folks? I know this is gonna be on the news tonight. See what this woman is doing?” But he’s not overt or confrontational about it. He plays it just right. Compare this with Obama’s deer-in-the-headlights moment earlier this week when he was asked about Biden’s “terrorists” gaffe. The Greatest Orator in Human History was reduced to a stuttering dunce, gulping, “Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh.” Perry just showed him how it’s done.
And it’s not about evolution** and “hating science.” This woman and her ilk don’t care about science. Look at how they treat people who don’t agree with them 100% on global warming. They just want everyone to defer to their chosen group of experts, the ones who tell them what they want to hear, and ignore the ones who don’t. Because hey, what could be less scientific than skepticism? Science is about not asking questions of those with the proper credentials.
No, this issue and all the other issues leading up to Nov. ’12 are just going to be used as clubs to beat their enemies with. And here, Perry showed his skill at a deft sort of rhetorical aikido. Don’t block your opponent; use their own moves against them. It’s been less than a week, and Perry’s already showing he can deal with this stuff. (See Ace of Spades for another recent example.)
The GOP candidate in 2012 has to understand that the majority of the American press is not going to act in good faith. McCain didn’t understand that last time. He thought they were still his buddies like they were back in 2000, and they demolished him for opposing The One. Palin played attack dog and got in a few good shots, but bless her heart, she just couldn’t fight them all.
We’ll see how Perry fares. He’s going to get hit with all kinds of stuff, especially the gay rumors. (Isn’t it great how the party of tolerance thinks homosexuality is an insult? That it should prevent someone from being president? Isn’t it great to hear that Perry must be gay because he’s vain about his personal appearance, coming from supporters of… Obama?) If he can deal with it as well as he’s done this past week, and if Obama doesn’t get any better at his job in the next 14 months… Who knows?
*And isn’t it interesting that we don’t know anything about this lovely lady? The same press that swarmed all over Joe the Plumber — for asking a question that Obama wasn’t prepared to lie about skillfully enough — doesn’t care who’s behind this nauseating example of parental ventriloquism. Who is this woman? Does she have any tax liens? Does she go by her middle name, and if so, what’s she hiding? What does she do for a living, and does she have the proper licenses? We don’t know any of that, and I’ll be surprised if the press bothers to go digging. Because asking a presidential candidate about taxes is much worse than using your own child as a political puppet, depending on whether or not the candidate belongs to the party you want to win.
**For what it’s worth, I’m not wild about creationism being taught in schools. I also don’t care what the President of the United States thinks about it. To paraphrase a great man, the origins of the universe are above the president’s pay grade. How about you repair the damage to our economy and our foreign policy first? kthxbai
P.S. I’ve been calling this unfit mother “Jane the Ventriloquist,” but now we know her real name: Kristin Bunce.