This is going to sound weird, me defending Rick Perry. I can't think of any scenario where I'd ever vote for Rick Perry ... for anything.
But good God. Would people please let up on him about his brain cramp the other night? First of all, these debates are endless. I'm surprised more of these candidates don't stumble and fall verbally.
But he did. I may not like him. I may even loathe him. But on this, I have some sympathy. I have the same empathy for all candidates and politicians who misspeak. The pressure not to screw up is enormous. Think about it in your own lives. The minute the microscope is on you not to screw up, the odds of that happening just increase immeasurably. The entire situation changes. You can't relax.
Now, let's consider that you're crisscrossing the country (if it's Tuesday I must be in Dubuque, Iowa) and probably operating on minimal sleep. You're crossing time zones the way I cross the street every day. To top it off, you go to some auditorium, or TV network affiliate, somebody's pancaking makeup all over you, and the whole thing just seems like a daze.
I admit I laughed when I heard it. To Perry's credit, he did too. He's been a pretty good sport about it, actually ... something that even I, an avowed opponent of his, can appreciate. Score one for him.
Perry will survive this. Whether he survives the rest of his right-wing, militarily religious platform remains to be seen. I have more faith in the American people than a lot of people. I understand folks in the rest of the country are more conservative than we eastern liberals. I understand that liberalism in tough times is a tough sell. I understand our natural tendency, when things get tough, to circle the wagons, and I understand that less and less people can afford the type of benevolence and largesse liberalism espouses.
So in that sense, I don't have a problem with conservatives, provided they're based in some reality. There are many, many ways to get things done. And if Mitt Romney proves to be the guy we choose to do it, then Mitt Romney it is.
I just don't think that man will be Rick Perry ... and I don't think it has anything to do with making a gaffe in a debate. I think in the end, people are more discerning than they're given credit for, and I think they will reject Perry for much better reasons than because he forgot about one of the three things he'll eliminate if he's elected president (I think the fact that he wants to eliminate the education department is much scarier the fact he forgot about which of the other departments he wants to gas).
So can we please leave it alone and go back to our normal bloviating?
The only thing I can add to the above: Mitt Romney is a Mormon, so I assume he believes in God. Otherwise, why call yourself anything?
But in the event he didn't believe in God, surely he must by now. He's been given two enormous gifts: Herman Cain's sexual harassment issues and, now, Perry's gaffe (which, despite my protestations, will probably hurt him among some of our more uncompromising electorate).
With Michelle Bachmann already on life support, I'd say that unless Newt Gingrich suddenly catches fire (and sometimes, Newt's a little too cute for his own good), this nomination looks like Mitt's to lose.
But then, I thought John McCain was dead in the water at this point in 2007, and I couldn't have been more wrong. So who knows. Things change awfully fast in politics.
Got into an on-line debate with a couple of people on Kim Kardashian and her "now-you-see-it-now-you-don't" marriage to Kris Humphries. The jist of the issue was my naivete for being somewhat outraged over the whole charade, and how I thought it was uber disrespectful for the family to throw such a crassly lavish affair for something that proved to be such a farce.
I'm not naive. I don't watch reality shows, but I think I understand their concept quite well. To me, they represent the lowest of the lowest forms of entertainment, and cannot understand what people see in them. But apparently, our need to be diverted and entertained is so great that we numbingly accept such swill to be piped into our living rooms and family rooms. So be it.
But this whole "wedding" thing goes way beyond any of that. I'm of a generation whose parents took the whole wedding thing pretty seriously. Our wedding in 1977 cost $5,000, and I can only imagine how much more the same reception would cost today.
Fathers would literally spend their last pennies to make sure their daughters had classy, dignified weddings. This was no joke. It was a serious thing ... a true cause to celebrate, and to bring people together.
The crux of my outrage has more to do with the fact that the Kardashians made a mockery out of this aspect of it. Not that Kim and the basketball player couldn't stay married more than a second. I just think that when you juxtapose the fact that there are fathers all over America who can't afford even one-tenth of what the Kardashians spent on this farce (and I'm sure it kills them that they can't), it reeks of clueless obliviousness to see what these people spent on something they obviously cared nothing about in the long run.
Somewhere, Marie Antoinette is smiling broadly.
Then there's the guy who said, apparently in all seriousness, that the Kardashians actually did a good thing because of all the people they employed by putting on such a crassly lavish affair.
I don't even know how to respond to that one.
Actually, my favorite Kardashian anecdote is that Mike Barnacle, formerly of the Boston Globe, used to call her father, O.J. Simpson lawyer Robert Kardashian, "Skunkhead."
Look at a picture of him sometime. He had a white streak in the middle of a head full of dark hair. The name was amusingly appropriate, especially when you consider the con job his defense team did on that jury.
But, hey, at last Skunkhead knew when he was out of his league. He's the guy who brought Johnnie Cochran into the game.
Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't think our soldiers, past and present, for what they do on our behalf.
This is a complicated subject for me. I'm one of those people who think that there has to be an indisputable moral compulsion to take up arms (well nothing's ever totally indisputable, but we're talking reasons that all but the extreme antiwar lunatic fringe could at least understand). And I'm not convinced that some of our most recent military ventures fit that definition.
Be that as it may, however, whatever ambivalence I may have about the use of force, it does not extend to the people asked to fight. Yes, it's a choice. Yes, these men and women join the service voluntarily, and, as such, understand the risk they take when they do.
But there are so many reasons to enlist in the military, and while all wars are tragedies, that doesn't mean you don't need a military for national defense.
So whether I agreed or disagreed with the Iraq War, I would never condemn the soldiers who fought in it. They did their duty, and, with rare exceptions, did it honorably.
The same goes for Vietnam too.
So today, a salute to all the soldiers who have made the sacrifice to go overseas and fight, regardless of the war, and regardless of any opinions about whether they should have been sent there. They all deserve our everlasting gratitude.