Let them eat chili
Fri September 18, 2009 5:18 pm

This is the YouTube link for Perry's comments yesterday about Texas being recession-proof before an audience of business leaders in Houston.

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Here is the transcript of what Perry said:

“Why is Texas kind of recession-proof, if you will? As a matter of fact, just today I think, Michael, you said someone had put a report out that the first state that's coming out of the recession is going to be the State of Texas. I told him, I said, 'We're in one?'" And Perry and his audience share a good laugh.

Unlike "Adios mofo," or "Why don't you just let us get on down the road?" or "If Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that?" there is nothing redeeming or feisty about Perry's comment. The words and the body language betray an egotism, an arrogance, a self-importance, a callousness that are downright creepy. This is "power corrupts" in action. If a governor of a state were running for president and made this comment in a public forum, he would be finished as a candidate.

If I had to pick one word to describe my reaction, it would not come from the shopworn political vocabulary: "shocked," "disturbed," "outraged," or "appalled." It would be "surprised." I saw the video just a short time after I had posted a writeup about the Rasmussen poll and about how the Perry campaign has been arrogant and overconfident. Seldom have I been proven so right so quickly. Never have I seen Perry so much off his game.

Perry's biggest strength as a campaigner is that he is very disciplined. He doesn't make this kind of gaffe. I have written before about how Perry told me in 1998 that he would defeat John Sharp for lieutenant governor because he was more disciplined. He was right. Sharp blinked in the end game and made a bad tactical decision that cost him the race.

This gaffe is going to stick. It is going to be national news. It will come back to haunt him in a campaign spot. If Hutchison can't make something of it, the Democrats can. You cannot be callous and cavalier when people are losing their jobs and their homes. I don't care how ideological the Republican base is. Unemployment in Texas just reached the 8% mark. Everybody knows someone who is suffering in these times. Everybody has lost part of their life savings. It could cost him the race.

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