Perry can’t remember the name of the government agency he would eliminate

In the 35 years that we’ve had regular presidential debates starting with Ford and Carter in 1976, I’ve never seen a candidate suffer such a brain disconnect as happened to Gov. Perry this evening, with the possible exception of President Ford twice declaring in the 1976 debate that Poland was not under Soviet domination. As seen on the video, Perry’s brain lock doesn’t just last for a few seconds, it goes on, agonizingly, for almost a full minute: instead of doing something to extricate himself from the embarrassing situation, he keeps earnestly trying to remember the name that he has already shown he can’t remember. He acts as though he doesn’t realize that he has already blown it, and so he blows it again, and then again, until he finally gives up and mutters a pathetic “oops.”

Anyone can have a brain lock. It was in the way Perry handled the brain lock that he showed himself to be witless.

I feel kind of sorry for him. After all, he didn’t run for president from motives of pure ambition, and evidently wasn’t thinking of running for president until well into 2011; he was, in effect, drafted by conservatives who were looking for a viable conservative candidate and thought Perry was it. And it turns out the poor guy, notwithstanding his ten years as governor of the nation’s second largest state, is simply not up to being on the national stage.

UPDATE: As reported at Politico, Perry told reporters in the spin room after the debate: “I’m glad I had my boots on tonight. I stepped in it out there.”

But this is not accurate. Perry did not simply step in it. He stepped in it again and again. He stepped in it, backed up, stepped in it again, backed up, then stepped in it again. It was the most witless performance by a high-level American politician, ever. I get no pleasure from saying that, or from seeing a man so humiliate himself.

UPDATE: Here is the way Drudge headlines Perry’s minute-long sojourn up the creek without a paddle:




Paul K. writes:

I don’t know if you watched tonight’s Republican debate, but the highlight for me occurred at 9:15 EST when Rick Perry had a complete brain freeze. He made a declaration that if elected he would close three federal departments, identifying Education, Commerce, and then said, “Uh…uh… uh…”

He couldn’t remember the third department he wants to close. It was amazing, like watching your third-grader in a school play when he forgets his lines. The moderator tried to prompt him but it was hopeless. He finally said, “Oops,” in an abashed, little-boy voice.

Answering a different question later, one of the other candidates mentioned the Department of Energy, reminding Perry that that was the one he was trying to remember.

And people say Herman Cain is out of his depth! Perry has the war chest to continue this campaign for months, despite being an absolute embarrassment.

Alexis Zarkov writes:

I haven’t watched the debate, only the part with Perry brain freeze, assuming he has a brain to freeze. He might be much more articulate in person; some people just can’t take the tension involved in public speaking. Of course such people shouldn’t seek the presidency. I knew he meant the DOE because Energy has been a conservative target since Reagan. Reagan tried to eliminate DOE, but the Republicans in Congress wouldn’t go along. If I were Perry, I would have exempted the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration), which is a part of the DOE, and a remnant of the old Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). We certainly must retain the functions NNSA provides as long as we want to have nuclear weapons. Do any of the Republicans in the debate understand this? Gingrich might; I have doubts about the rest. The whole crowd comes across as a bunch of incompetents. Fortunately most Americans can’t perceive just how bad they are.

Mark Jaws
This inability of the Texan governor to remember the three departments he wishes to “eliminate” clearly demonstrates that he has no intention to do so, but rather simply used this as a talking point to win conservative support. My cynicism grows daily.

I realize that I am just some schlub living in the hinterland, but if I were a GOP presidential candidate I would make the abolition of welfare my numero uno priority. It is welfare which puts people on the Democratic plantation, and it is welfare which draws those pregnant muchachas to San Diego to give birth to a little anchor. So far there are about 4 million ninos, costing us tens of billions a year. It is the welfare underclass which incurs tremendous costs on local and state governments. My motto would be “Welfare delanda est!’ Welfare must be abolished. Instead, stupid Republicans go after POPULAR programs with working class whites, such as Social Security and Medicare, while leaving the very program in place that ensures the growing brown demographic tide.

LA replies:

You wrote: “This inability of the Texan governor to remember the three departments he wishes to ‘eliminate’ clearly demonstrates that he has no intention to do so, but rather simply used this as a talking point to win conservative support.”

Excellent insight, Don Marco Jawsario. You are not only a philosopher, but a psychologist.

. LA writes:

Tim Stanley of The Telegraph, before he even gets to Perry’s brain-freeze, writes:

Rick Perry is the gift that keeps on giving: an endless slew of malapropisms and facial tics that range from “sleepyhead” to “dumb as dumb can be”. When other candidates are talking, Perry has a habit of staring [uncomprehendingly] at them. When Mitt Romney speaks, you can imagine [Perry] thinking, “This guy’s good. Maybe he should run for the presidency.”

Meanwhile, an L-dotter writes:

Reply 12 - Posted by: butch, 11/10/2011 2:27:50 AM

If Rick Perry wants to abolish entire cabinet-level departments - a bold if necessary move - he should be able to rattle them off and justify why each should be eliminated. To make such a bold proposal and then fail to follow though with a sound argument is extremely off-putting.

This comment and Mark Jaws’s get at Perry’s problem beyond the brain-lock, which the brain-lock revealed: the man’s an empty fake. If he were serious about eliminating those three departments it would be impossible for him to forget the name of one of them. The brain-lock showed that the idea of eliminating the Energy Department was just some talking point that his aides told him to say.

Here’s another L-dotter who thinks the reaction to Perry’s lapse is misplaced:

Reply 11 - Posted by: awen, 11/9/2011 10:16:51 PM

I am absolutely finished with American politics. I am absolutely done with anything political - besides voting, probably for the rest of my life.

I am watching America be destroyed by socialists, by Republican who are socialists in disguise, a media hellbent on destroying a good man’s reputation through false witness of women claiming sexual harrassment, and now the rise and fall of one man based on one moment of memory lapse.

As far as I am concerned, and I say this with a very heavy heart, America has earned its decline. Debates, shows and the media are now picking our candidates for us because we are so afraid of appearing not to be polished, slick and made for television ready.

I have been a long time Ldotter, but I am so disheartened by the continued pro Romney anti everyone else postings - the continual attacks on any candidate other than the “its my time/turn” candidate that I can no longer tolerate visiting this site.

If I didn’t believe that my life were in more powerful hands than any government, any ruling authority, I think I’d be in despair.

More comments:

Reply 15 - Posted by: PI65, 11/9/2011 10:19:00 PM

I’m sorry people but the man is suppose to be running for the leader of the free world. I know we are desperate to replace Obama but we need someone that can put two sentences together.

Reply 16 - Posted by: Gagolfer, 11/9/2011 10:19:25 PM

C’mon, get real. Perry is finished.

Reply 17 - Posted by: Tripwhipper, 11/9/2011 10:21:14 PM

I’ll take Perry’s momentary recollection gaffe about a major program he will eliminate to Romney’s historic gaffe called Romneycare and by extension Obamacare any day.

November 10

Nick B. writes:

I think I’ve finally realized the point of these endless debates. It’s simply to weed out those who are unqualified. I felt as though only Mitt and Newt could really handle the format in any credible way.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 09, 2011 09:54 PM | Send

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