These past two weeks have not been good for Rick Perry. After two major gaffes that would have succeeded in making George Bush cringe from embarrassment, Perry has received immense amounts of attention from the media while simultaneously becoming a laughingstock across the internet. As his campaign is quickly discovering, any press does not necessarily mean good press.
The first blunder was the entirety of a speech in New Hampshire that came across as quite a bit unusual. Perry was overly exuberant with some pretty wild gestures and stories, going so far as to ramble off his high school’s motto to his audience. His excitement was paired with giggles and smirks at intermittent points in his speech.
The normal dignity and poise you’d expect from a Presidential candidate was completely absent and led to claims he may have had too much to drink before getting behind the podium. Other stories circulated that he was having some sort of bad reaction to medication.
His campaign swiftly answered that he had not had anything to drink that night. Instead, his staff seemed content to let the media portray their candidate as a sober buffoon.
It went so far that MSNBC correspondent Rachel Maddow claimed that this was the end of his campaign seeing as “Perry can no longer be considered a serious contender for president after this.”
While her claim did somewhat romanticize the damage that this speech would have caused Rick Perry, after his latest performance in last Wednesdays GOP Presidential Candidate debate, there is no question that his run for President is over.
There are a few times when hearing “oops” is frightening. Surgery is one. High stakes political campaigns for the most powerful office in the world is another.
For those of you who have somehow not heard about Rick Perry’s major “Oops,” during the debate he could not remember which government agencies he would abolish. His response to the question was “I would do away with the Education, the Commerce and — let’s see — I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” The third agency was Energy.
The mistake led to an absolute field day in the media. It has been mocked on every major news station, been posted all over Facebook and has even been parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” This has also led to some speculation about how much Perry even knows about his own campaign. It was suggested that it was just a talking point his advisors fed him that he somehow failed to correctly memorize. Who knows, anymore, if he even actually has any reasons for getting rid of any government agency. This seems highly improbable due to how many interactions that Perry must have had with the Energy Department coming from a state that has a heavily oil-dependent economy.
Personally, I’ve had enough brain freezes in everyday conversation, that I can pretty easily forgive a mistake that happened in a debate being televised to millions of people around the country. I also think the fact that he wants to get rid of the Education Department is a bit more appalling than just forgetting the name of an agency, but that’s besides the point.
Unfortunately for Mr. Perry, the voting public seems to be much less forgiving of his little gaffe. After his flub, Perry’s support from Republican respondents has dropped down to a shocking 4 percent.
His decline in the polls has been fairly consistent since entering the race in mid-August, but this marks an all-time low and the first time he has dropped below fellow Texan candidate Ron Paul. Even with allegations of sexual assault continuing to arise, Herman Cain managed to secure 27 percent in the same poll. Newt Gingrich, who has a campaign strategy that appears to consist of avoiding attention as to not screw it up, still managed to get 22 percent of support.
With such poor numbers and a falling public image, Rick Perry’s campaign looks to be in the process of crashing and burning. No amount of positive media attention would be able to remove the stains that his “unique” speech and debate mistake have proven to be.
It could be said that these past three months of campaigning have worn Perry out to a point where mistakes just happen. But coming from Texas and getting to witness how he works as Governor, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s just taken this long for his true colors to finally shine through.
Multimedia Editor Jeremy Benedik is a College junior from Georgetown, Texas.