Friday, November 11, 2011
THE PERRY/CAIN TICKET: AN ELECTION NIGHTMARE
Yesterday, I couldn’t find my keys. I said to myself, “Bea Bell, you’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached.” Well, I haven’t lost my head yet but I’m about to lose my mind because people just never cease to amaze me. I don’t mean that in a good way.
The other day, during the GOP debates, Texas Governor Rick Perry stumbled when trying to name the three agencies he would cut if elected president. The agency he could not remember was the Department of Energy, and the crowd went wild—at least the media crowd. The lead story for almost every news program that night, and for the days following, was Perry’s memory lapse. On the television news show, Nightline, Political Director Amy Walter lamented, “Cats get nine lives…I don’t know that candidates get that many.”
I just don’t get it. Have you ever tried to introduce someone you’ve known for years but your mind is a total blank when you start to say their name? Who hasn’t walked into a room and suddenly can’t remember why you walked in? I don’t understand this need to have a president or a presidential candidate appear “presidential” or flawless. Of course, there are moral and ethical boundaries for everyone whether they’re running for president or not, but to get fired up over a slip of memory is silly.
Herman Cain made a joke by asking, “How do you beat Obama? You beat him with a Cain!” Some bright reporter asked him to clarify as to whether this could be interpreted as promoting violence. Cain got testy, and rightly so, as he answered, “Herman Cain, C-A-I-N. Do I have to connect all the dots for you?"
These are the kind of things that drive me crazy. There are plenty of hard issues to focus on but we’ve become so pretentious that the slightest slip of the tongue is not only newsworthy, but could mean political death for a candidate.
I went to sleep last night and had the worst nightmare of my life caused either by those thoughts or the slice of Godfather’s pizza I ate just before going to bed. I dreamed that it was 2012. The Republican and Democratic conventions were over. The candidates had been chosen and their running mates had been picked. Toward the middle and slightly to the left stood Barack Obama and Joe Bidden for the Democrats. Several steps from center and off to the right were Rick Perry and Herman Cain for the Republican Tea Party! Here’s the nightmare part.
Perry and Cain won the presidential election (sob)! There was no particular strategy. Perry couldn’t remember what platform he was running on, but he did recall the applause he got when defending the state of Texas as having executed 234 people, more than any other state in this nation. He also changed his campaign slogan to HANG ‘EM HIGH! Of course Perry could empathize with Herman Cain’s inability to remember the sexual harassments accusations against him, that’s why he picked him as a running mate.
Perry managed to shift voter attention from jobs and the economy (how stupid) to the death penalty and smaller government. Naturally, the whole point of picking Cain was to siphon votes from Barrack Obama. It worked. Presto, the country wound up with 666 and the 999 plan! That woke me up.
After thinking about the dream, I promised myself three things: I’ll never eat pizza before going to bed again, I’ll never... Damn! I can’t remember the second or the third thing—oops!