It’s not just that he used to be a Democrat and once supported Al Gore for president.
It’s that he still clings to liberal positions like college tuition discounts for illegal immigrants. And that the closest thing he has to a platform is his back porch. And that, on the rare occasion that he takes a position on something, it seems more like a caricature of a Republican stance than a real one. Take, for instance, his comment that Social Security — a program that over 54 million people depend on — is a “Ponzi scheme.” It’s also that he carries himself with the goofiness that Democrats seem to expect of Republicans. Take the bizarre speech that he gave to New Hampshire donors last month, sparking rumors in the blogosphere that he might have been drinking beforehand. He delivered it with the frantic demeanor of a man who’s either about to propose to his girlfriend or kill her. But what convinced me that Perry has to be a Democrat is the “Oops” heard ’round the world.
Just consider this scene from last night’s GOP debate in Michigan:
Perry: “It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education and the, uh, what’s the third one there? Let’s see …”
Ron Paul: “There are five …”
Perry: “Oh, five, okay … Commerce, Education and, um, the, um …”
Mitt Romney: “EPA?”
Perry: “EPA. There you go.”
Moderator: “Seriously, is the EPA the one you were talking about?”
Perry: “No, sir. We’re talking about the, uh, the agencies of government … The EPA needs to be rebuilt. There’s no doubt about that.”
Moderator: “But you can’t name the third one?”
Perry: “The third agency of government I’d do away with … The Education, the Commerce and let’s see … I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
Now, come on.
It takes SNL a whole team of writers to make a Republican look that stupid. There has to be something afoot. It’s not unheard of for Republicans to get involved in Democratic primaries. Rush Limbaugh did in 2008. Now Democrats are returning the favor. It’s no secret that a lot of them want to see President Obama run against Perry. Bob Shrum admitted that a month ago. But the most compelling evidence that Perry is in cahoots with the Democrats is something that he said two months ago after a Florida debate performance that left one pundit joking that Perry had had a stroke in the middle: “It’s not who’s the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater that we need to elect.” That’s when I knew that he had to be a plant. It’s not just that Democrats are hoping for the worst candidate. It’s that Perry is.
Dorian Davis is a former MTV HITS star turned libertarian writer. He’s been published in Business Week, The New York Daily News, XY & more. He’s an NYU graduate and National Journalism Center alum. He teaches journalism at Marymount Manhattan College.