What Rick Perry Can Learn From Clark Griswold
In 2001, I loaded my three boys, ages 13, 10, and 8 at the time, into the car and headed to downtown St. Louis. The Cubs were in town, and I planned to introduce my boys to the greatest rivalry in pro sports. We parked (for twenty dollars) and headed toward the stadium.
There was only one problem: we didn’t have any tickets. I planned to buy some on the street.
Scalpers were everywhere, but I underestimated the street value of tickets to this particular game. Four tickets together were hard to come by. I had over three hundred dollars in cash, but the few scalpers with sets of four demanded twice that. After forty minutes, I gave up.
The boys didn’t complain as we listened to the first inning on the ride back to West County. They’d grown accustomed to dad’s ambitious plans falling apart. I’m pretty sure that when I wasn’t around, they called me “Clark Griswold.” And I know their friends did. (Thanks, Facebook.)
I’m reminded of this embarrassing episode every time I hear Rick Perry’s name.
I put high hopes on a Perry campaign earlier in the summer. I thought he was exactly what the country needed. He looks the part, he seemed great with the press, and he’s a former Democrat, just like Ronald Reagan. He seemed to have the right attitude, as well.
Rick Perry, though, is the Clark Griswold of presidential politics. Like my aborted baseball excursion with the boys, Perry’s campaign strategy seems to have stopped with his announcement. His debate performances—all of them—have been dreadful.
This will sound uncharitable and condescending, but I know of no other way to say it: Rick Perry doesn’t seem to know very much.
He might be intelligent in IQ (I don’t honestly know), but he seems to lack the most basic information about important matters like Pakistani nukes and climate scientists. (Would it be too much to carry a card with “Dr. Roy Spencer” or “Roger Pielke Sr” written on it? Really?)
His defense of tuition credits for illegals irritates many, but at least he knows what the DREAM Act is.
It is Perry’s lack of stamina bothers me the most, though. He seems to punch himself out in the first round of these debates. He seemed to punch himself out in the first 72 hours of his campaign, too. I’m afraid that he’d collapse in exhaustion immediately after the GOP convention. Or, if elected, he’d end up in a sanitarium on a Caribbean island recuperating for six months immediately following the inauguration. For such a rugged looking man, he seems fragile.
Take it from a father who lives every day with the guilt of having been less than a perfect parent: Rick Perry doesn’t want to take a job that he can’t handle. Not when the world seems to be crumbling and frightened eyes everywhere look toward Uncle Sam for guidance and strength and ideas and hope.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask Barack Obama.