Water Cooler – Gov. Rick Perry Tries to Walk Away From His Own Book

Governor Rick Perry
Governor Rick Perry by eschipul

Candidates talk all the time, so it is easy for a single instance of in-artful phrasing to get out there. A slip of the tongue (accidentally telling the truth more often than not) can lead to the need to disavow a statement.

It is one thing to say you did not quite say what you meant when it contradicts your position, but it is quite another to disavow an entire book you spent several months writing. It’s almost sad that Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is in the position of doing just that.

You see Gov. Rick penned (apparently on his own, there is no second author listed) a little tome called Fed UP!: Our Fight To Save America From Washington. In this book he goes out of his way to say what he thinks the Federal Government is doing that is unconstitutional, and the list is long.

The Texas Governor believes that child labor laws are unconstitutional, so is the Clean Air Act and, of course, Medicare. This is not particularly surprising for a gung-ho conservative.

The thing is now that he is running for President, that kind of stuff is a lot more problematic than when he was as a just a governor flirting with secession based on an 1850’s understanding of the 10th Amendment.

People like Social Security and Medicare, they like it so much that when the Ryan Budget passed it dumped the GOP’s popularity like a load of medical waste in a land fill. Now these positions that Gov. Perry takes are bread and butter to a lot of the Republican base, but they are anathema to all those Independent voters and even the moderate Republicans still left in that party. To become President Perry he needs those votes.

So what is a candidate to do? Well you get your communications director out there to try to spin it before it snowballs. This is what the Wall St Journal ( that very lefty rag) reported what the Communications Director said:

But since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program.

The issue bubbled up Thursday, when a gaggle of protestors confronted Mr. Perry outside a café in Portsmouth, N.H., accusing him of trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare. Mr. Perry didn’t respond when one of the protesters inside the café accused him of believing the Social Security system was unconstitutional.

In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”


That is pretty weak if you ask me, and clearly the campaign has not told their principal that he has to disavow his own book on the campaign trail. That is going to be quite the trick since this book only came out 8 months ago. Even harder when the reality is that he believes all this guff.

What in the world will he be able to say about this? “I, um, believed it then but don’t now” is not going to work, it will make him look more wishy-washy than Mitt Romney. Hell, since there is no ghost writer listed he can’t even say that he was misinterpreted, these are (ostensibly) his own freaking words, direct from his word processor to the page.

I have heard a lot of folks say that we should be really nervous about Gov. Perry running for the Republican nomination. That he is as socially conservative as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Crazy Town) , but has the attention of the money men like Gov. Romney and that the combination is perhaps deadly.

Color me unconvinced. He has been running for office for all of 9 days and the number of stories that have come out about him has been huge and it shows no sign of stopping. If he add flip flopping to the list, I am hard pressed to see how he is still in the race come the turn of the year, let alone a viable nominee that could defeat an incumbent president, even one with numbers like we are seeing for President Obama.

What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours.

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