It looks as if Rick Perry is either the guaranteed Republican nominee already, or else this year’s Fred Thompson. Sadly, since he’s only been a declared candidate for a couple of days, it’s probably a bit too early to say. But Perry has the right chops—he’s already implied that Obama doesn’t love America, and that Ben Bernanke should be given some sort of Texas treatment if he tries to stimulate the economy, since that would be “treasonous.” He’s vindictive, dumb as a post, a rigid Creationist, a global warming denier, and completely in bed with the oil industry. And, of course, thinks secession might be the solution, although to what, exactly, isn’t clear. Oh, I wish and hope. Anyway, what’s not to like? Oh, and he has never lost a political campaign, including when the Bush group supported Sissy Farenhold in her campaign against him for governor a couple of years ago. Really, what’s not to like here?
I’m certain this tells us something important about the state of political discourse in America right now that Perry seems to now be the leading contender for the nomination.
But I’m not certain what that might be. The whole process of “defining deviancy down,” in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous phrase, has been going on so long in American politics that’s we long ago lost the ability to differentiate between a real news “headline” from whatever is showing up in The Onion on any particular day. This seems particularly true in the political sphere, where it appears that anyone can say just about anything and not be called on it. Still, it seems safe to say that this year’s group of candidates for the Republican nomination of President of the United States of America marks a new low in, well, something. A race to the bottom that turns out not to have one. A number of them had no problem whatsoever with the US defaulting on its obligations. All of them think global warming is some sort of conspiracy (well, maybe not Romney or Huntsman, but they’ve assumed the position for the time being). I wish I could be at one of these “debates” (using the term loosely, of course) just so I could pose a question to Bachmann, Santorum, Cain, and maybe Perry too—“You all say that God told you to run. Why didn’t He just tell one of you?”
And leaving aside the question of whether America is ready for another Texas governor as President, it’s fairly clear already that the forthcoming campaign is bound to set now lows in mendacity, racist innuendo, and the usual Republican bag of tricks. This will provide tremendous fodder for the usual raft of lefty bloggers, including myself, and I suppose I won’t be able to resist, especially when it comes to the usual hooting about how whorish the US media remains. Boy, do I miss Media Whores Online and Billmon—they’d have a field day with this crew and the press coverage they’re getting. In a rational universe, they’d all be laughed off the stage.