It was probably not a great idea for Rick Perry to rent a hunting camp once called Niggerhead. Not that Rick minds offending blacks — he questioned President Obama’s patriotism, didn’t he? — it’s just that sensibilities have changed in the past fifty years in ways that the Texas Governor may not have noticed.
He has called Hispanics in his state “Josés,” as in, “The Josés will sue you at the drop of a hat.” He has implied that President Obama, while lacking any true feeling for the country, is also a coward. Likewise he has said that the head of the Federal Reserve Bank, Ben Bernanke, is “almost treasonous” if he orders more money to be printed before the election. He has called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He thinks Medicare is a socialist conspiracy and will bankrupt the country. He says government is the problem and the best place to create jobs is in the private sector. To make his point, he cites the large number of new jobs in Texas during his tenure and doesn’t mention that most of them are government jobs.
Even if this latest blow-up on the tough-talking Texan’s yellow brick road is just another dust devil, does it suggest that in his case the N-word might have a different meaning? Nitwit, perhaps? Do you get the feeling that soon enough we won’t have Rick Perry to kick around any more? The cowboy governor’s campaign is reeling.
Yesterday, it was stammering performances against the likes of Michelle Bachmann, Newt and the Mitten. Today it’s the hunting camp; tomorrow, who knows? Pick your favorite gaff, stumble, screw-up, but whatever the reason, the ‘charismatic’ governor is falling fast in the polls and nowhere more precipitously than among those of a tea-party persuasion.
Apparently the tea partiers are disillusioned with Ricky because he’s started to tone down some of his best attention-getting positions. They liked him better when he was completely irrational, like them. Now he’s beginning to sound more like the other Republican candidates, except they’re better at grammar than he is.
Politicians are forever blathering about how canny the American electorate is: “The American people are too smart to be taken in by empty promises,” they say as they make yet another empty promise. Of course, to be fair, when your choice eventually comes down to two candidates, both of whom are running on a platform constructed entirely of empty promises, what are you supposed to do?
Still, there is little evidence to suggest that ‘smart’ is a good word to describe the American voting public. ‘Smarting’ might be better. ‘Fed up’ is good. But ‘smart?’ We elected George W. Bush, not once but twice. Was that smart? Look where it got us. Thousands dead and maimed and trillions of dollars spent, a huge increase in the national debt, and nobody can say for what. Nobody except, of course, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who chant, “We won. We won.” Won what? What did we win? Halliburton won enormous defense contracts and Cheney and Rumsfeld both won fat book contracts. Maybe that’s what they meant.
So now we’re in for another whole year of political bluster and bombast. A lot of us may be disappointed in Obama’s leadership but we can at least be thankful that we will be spared any serious challenge to his candidacy and all the misstatements, cheap posturing, and flatulence that would entail.
The Republicans will have to carry the burden for most of the year and we can all take comfort in the obvious talents they bring to the party. There are lots more N-words to draw on. Yes, N is for nitwit, but that’s not all. N is also for nothing, nada, nil, not, nonentity, nowhere, nobody home, nausea, numskull, nincompoop, none, no one, and no, no, no.