The Perry Debate Debacle

November 10th, 2011

By Tom Carter

Rick Perry's Debate DebacleEven those who didn’t watch the debate last night have probably heard about Rick Perry’s devastating lapse.  Here’s the video, in case you didn’t see it live or would like to re-live the moment.

Personally, I had two reactions to Perry’s inability to remember the third of three departments he would abolish if he were president.  When a moderator gave him a second chance, he still couldn’t do it.

First, I cringed (as I’m sure most people did) to see someone so completely embarrassed.  I also couldn’t help but identify with his dilemma.  Actors call it “going up” when they’re onstage and suddenly can’t remember lines that they know well.  It’s both embarrassing and extremely frustrating, and the harder you try to remember, the more impossible it becomes.

Anyone who has spent any time in public speaking, especially fielding questions after a presentation, has either experienced it or fears that he will.  I spent a lot of time giving briefings — scripted, unscripted, and extemporaneous — and answering questions both during and afterwards.  More than once, I confidently began ticking off several key points, often beginning with “there are X things…” and suddenly found that I couldn’t remember them all.  Never mind that I had developed those ideas myself, written them in papers, and discussed them before.  One or more of them had simply disappeared from my mind.  I usually tried to make light of it as I desperately tried to remember, just as Perry did, and finally I referred to my notes or papers, assuming I had documents with me.  Perry couldn’t do that, and I felt sorry for him.

Second, I was comforted to see something, anything happen that would probably keep Perry from being the Republican nominee for president.  In addition to his other missteps, this will most likely do it.  As I’ve said before, we shouldn’t want Rick Perry anywhere near the White House.

Looks now like the nominee will be Mitt Romney.  Newt Gingrich, with the best policy mind and probably the most intelligent of all, is very unlikely to be nominated because of all the baggage he brings with him.  And Herman Cain — well, he’s done for, even if the charges of sexual harassment abate, which is unlikely.  Anyone who has ever wrung a chicken’s neck, which I once had to do because my grandfather made me, knows that the chicken will continue flopping on the ground and maybe even run around a bit, blood spurting from it’s headless neck.  But it’s dead, and everyone knows it.  So is Herman Cain.

It’s not that I’m so enamored with Romney.  It’s just that he’s the candidate among the current hopefuls with the best chance of winning in November 2012.  And someone has to do it, unless we want four more years of Barack Obama, unfettered with the need to worry about re-election.


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One Response to “The Perry Debate Debacle”



  1. d |

    Amen,brother. Farewell, Rick, oh yeah, that’s right,we are still stuck with him. I did not feel sorry for him,everyone else managed to remember their crap,could’nt he ,at least, have made up something? We do not need a man who cannot think on his feet,or remember what he was going to say. I am glad to see both Perry and Cain,out of the race. Hey,Republicans,try a little harded next time. We don’t even want Obama to win,but you guys are making it easy for him.


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