Tag Archives: 2012 campaign

‘Oops’ Perry now ‘regrets’ earlier call to end DOE

I want to give a half-hearted shout-out to Rick “Oops” Perry for something he said today at his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of energy.

The former Texas governor said he regrets insisting that the Department of Energy be one of three such agencies he would eliminate if he were elected president.

He tried to say so during a 2012 Republican presidential debate, but suffered a brain freeze at a critical moment. Hey, it’s happened to all of us, right?

He said he’d toss out the departments of Education, Commerce and … then he forgot the third one. He fumbled around before muttering his infamous “oops.”

Why the change of heart? He said he’s learned about the Energy Department and what it does to promote energy policy. I want to presume he also knows about the myriad forms of energy involved in that policy that go far beyond fossil fuel production that, of course, is a big deal here in Texas.

My shout-out would be full-throated if I actually believed he meant the “I regret” statement. I’m not sure I believe much of what Gov. Perry says about anything these days — not that I fully believed him back when he was governor.

I mean, after all, he did call Donald J. Trump a “cancer on conservatism.” He did accuse the president-elect of lacking any ideology. He did say that his party needed to excise that “cancer.” This all came during his second failed effort, in 2016, to become the GOP presidential nominee.

Now, after all that heated rhetoric, he wants to become energy secretary. He wants to run a department he once said he intended to throw into the Dumpster.

I don’t know which Rick Perry to believe.

Or whether to believe a single thing this guy has ever said.

Michele Bachmann: She’s b-a-a-a-c-k!


It’s hard to believe that for a time during the 2012 Republican Party presidential primary — brief as it was — this individual was a leading contender for the party’s presidential nomination.

I refer, of course, to Michele Bachmann, a former member of Congress from Minnesota.

Here is what she told Minnesota Public Radio: “He also recognizes there is a threat around the world, not just here in Minnesota, of radical Islam. I wish our President Obama also understood the threat of radical Islam and took it seriously.”

Bachmann is referring to her new pupil, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who she is now advising on foreign policy.

For the umpteenth time, I feel the need to remind the president’s critics — even a particular congressional has-been — of something regarding the nation’s fight against international terrorists.

Barack Obama is as dedicated as any of those critics are in seeking out and killing terrorists, and, yes, that includes the radical Islamists.

While I, too, wish that the president would refer to the Islamists by name as he talks to the nation about the threat, I do not for a single, solitary instant believe he is doesn’t take them “seriously.”

I feel the need to restate something I’ve declared already: We’re killing terrorists daily in the field. Our air strikes are decimating them in Syria, Iraq and in other Middle East hideouts; our special operations forces are hunting them down on the ground and are coordinating with local armed forces and militia in killing them. Our intelligence apparatus is working with international allies every hour of every day to stop terrorist conspiracies.

These ill-informed critics keep harping on the attacks that do occur. They never acknowledge — not surprisingly — that we’re stopping many more attacks from occurring because of our highly capable intelligence operatives.

Still, none of this stops demagogues such as Michele Bachmann from repeating the tired canard about Barack Obama’s alleged lack of commitment to fighting the terrorists.

Earth to Bachmann: The president is fighting them and killing them.

Perry heading for the exit?


It isn’t supposed to end this way, but that’s where it’s headed.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the one-time TEA Party darling and conservative firebrand, is — shall we say — in a critical flameout.

The former U.S. Air Force pilot knows of what I speak. His campaign “engine” has stalled and he cannot get it to reignite.

I am not crying crocodile tears over this. Honestly, I was hoping he’d do better in this presidential campaign than he did in the previous one that was punctuated by the infamous “oops” moment.

Perry campaign on the ropes

Perry pulled the plug on his 2012 Republican presidential campaign, came back to Texas to finish his stint as the state’s governor; he rested up, cracked the books and studied the issues; then he returned to the campaign hoping to redeem himself.

Being that I prefer political redemption over condemnation in almost all cases, I was pulling for Perry to do better.

He’s not. He has run into the buzzsaw aka Donald Trump. The TEA Party faithful have turned to others, such as Trump, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina … oh, I could go on, but you get the point.

Perry has quit paying his campaign staff. He’ giving up on New Hampshire. Still, he calls the race a “marathon” and insists he’s in it for the duration.

Well, it now appears that the duration has arrived.


Turn out the lights, Gov. Perry


The late “Dandy Don” Meredith would sing, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” whenever a team was getting blown out on Monday Night Football telecasts.

It now appears that another Texan, former Gov. Rick Perry, may need to follow that advice, according to those who say they’re in the know.

Perry is out of money. He has quit paying his campaign staff. His second run for the presidency of the United States is likely to end perhaps before the first actual Republican Party primary contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

A part of me wishes it wouldn’t end.

Perry worked quite hard in the period between his first presidential run and this one to rehabilitate his image. His first effort ended in early 2012 after the infamous GOP debate “oops” moment. This time, he was better prepared. But the primary faithful began tuning into other candidates. Indeed, there are 16 others running for the party’s presidential nomination.

Perry said this week he’s “in it to win it.” Sure he is. That’s what you expect him to say.

However, even after his blistering critique of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s bizarre pronouncements, his own well-defined message and the “retail political” skill he employs in meeting and greeting potential voters — a skill he honed to perfection while being elected to three full terms as Texas governor — he remains far back of the front tier of GOP candidates.

The winnowing of this large Republican field will begin in due course. It might be soon.

As one New Hampshire Republican said of Perry, “He is out of money and out of time.”

Is the party over? Looks like it from here.



Pulling for Gov. Perry to make the debate stage

Go, Rick, go!

I want to see former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on the Fox News Channel Republican presidential debate stage next week.

His poll numbers are pretty anemic. Fox says only the Top 10 contenders will take part in the joint appearance.

Perry is on the bubble.

C’mon, Rick. Say something really provocative to boost those poll numbers!


In truth, my desire is to see if Perry can redeem himself from the 2012 debate debacle in which he said “Oops” upon forgetting the third of three federal agencies he’d cut if he were elected president. The moment produced arguably the most talked-about sound bite of the 2012 GOP primary campaign.

Everyone says Perry is better prepared this time. He’s gotten plenty of rest. He’s boned up on the issues. He’s healthy.

But the GOP faithful doesn’t seem to love him as much as it did four years ago.

It’s not that I actually support Gov. Perry. It’s just that I believe in redemption.

He’s got the chance to redeem himself — but he’s got to show up on that debate stage in Cleveland.

Fox, CNN get it right on debate format

The Republican Party’s presidential field figures to be a thundering herd by the time summer rolls around.

Accordingly, two cable news networks have decided on a format that is going to exclude some of this potentially huge field.

Good for them. The networks, that is.


Fox News Channel is going to play host to the first GOP primary debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Its plan is to limit the participants to the top 10 candidates, based on their standing in the polls at that time. There well might be at least double that number of candidates seeking the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Fox says the candidates must be declared. Many observers are noting that the criteria are going to keep several high-powered candidates off the debate stage.

CNN is going to play host for the second debate, on Sept. 16, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Its format is a bit more convoluted. CNN is planning a two-tiered event: The top candidates will share one stage; the also-rans will share another one.

I prefer the Fox approach, to be honest.

There is no possible way that having 20 — or maybe more — candidates on the same stage is going to do a bit of good for the voters who might be undecided on who would get their vote in a Republican primary. Fox has taken a simpler approach to determining which candidates should participate in the first of what looks like a long series of joint appearances.

My only hope for the debate formats as the series unfolds is that the networks somehow restrict audience cheering. The 2012 GOP debates were annoying in the extreme as the candidates paraded onto debate stages, waving to their cheering fans in the crowd. It was weird and in my view detracted from the importance of the event, which was to ask these candidates for their views on critical issues of the day.

But for starters, I’m glad to know Fox and CNN are going to cull the herd of hopefuls from a debate stage with limited space.

Come clean, Mme. Secretary

Hillary Rodham Clinton can put the email controversy to bed today. It might be finished. Then again, her foes well might decide to keep the flames going.

The former secretary of state will conduct a press conference in New York. She’ll take questions about the email tempest — the one involving her use of a private account while she ran the State Department.

I refuse to call this a “scandal” because it doesn’t rise that level. It is a problem, though, for the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate.


Congressional investigators are trying to link some missing emails to the Benghazi matter involving the deaths of four Americans in September 2012 at the U.S. consulate in Libya. That’s the politics of it: Republicans keep smelling blood and keep looking to inflict a mortal wound to Clinton’s budding presidential candidacy.

In a strange way, I see this controversy developing the way the Barack Obama “birther” controversy was kept alive before withering away.

Those on the far right kept insisting that Obama wasn’t constitutionally qualified to serve as president because, they said, he was born in Africa. He wasn’t. The president said he was born in Hawaii. The controversy persisted until the night of Obama’s re-election in November 2012.

I have a strong suspicion that the email matter will keep boiling throughout this year and most of next — until when or if Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States.

Still, it’s good that she’ll seek to quiet the storm today.

We’re all ears, Mme. Secretary.


Oh, for a little more good humor

I couldn’t keep from sharing these two videos on this blog.

They’re both hilarious and they remind us that good humor can exist between political adversaries.

The principals in these two brief videos are the 2012 presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

They spoke at the Al Smith Dinner in New York City, honoring the memory of the late politician and civic leader who once campaigned for the presidency himself. He lost big to Herbert Hoover in 1928.

With all the name-calling, questioning of candidates’ love of country, assertions of evil intent and the stalemate that stalls government’s efforts to actually do something, it’s good to see demonstrations of self-deprecation and some good-natured jabs at the other guy.

And to think this all happened less than three years ago.


Not quite so gracious a concession?

I hope now we’ll hear from Mitt Romney and hear his version of the phone call he made to President Obama the night he lost the 2012 presidential election.

Why? Because a new book by the president’s one-time senior political adviser paints a fairly dubious picture of the call the losing candidate made to the winner.

David Axelrod’s book, “Believer: My 40 Years in Politics,” tells of Romney telling Obama that the president did a good job of turning out the vote in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee. The president took that to mean “black people,” according to Axelrod.


So, there you have it. The president was re-elected by 5 million votes because African-Americans turned out en masse to put their guy over the top?

Let’s assume for a moment that Axelrod has it right, that Obama was “unsmiling” during his brief conversation with Romney.

The president then went on national television to declare victory. He said the following: “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.”

Well, Mitt, did you really and truly frame your “congratulatory phone call” in that light?


Mitt is out; eyes now turn to Jeb

Jeb Bush’s worst nightmare may have come true with Mitt Romney’s decision to forgo a run for the presidency in 2016.

With Mitt out of the picture, that puts the frontrunner’s bulls-eye on Jeb’s back.

It’s not going to be fun running from the front, according to Matt Latimer, writing for Politico.


Indeed, we’re beginning to get just a taste of what lies ahead for Bush. Stories about his partying, alleged bullying and an apparent disinterest in all things political at the fancy prep school he attended are starting to surface.

Not that it’s a deal-breaker, mind you. To my mind, it paints this son of a wealthy, patrician family as a fairly normal guy — sort of the way his big brother, George W., behaved when he was going through the same period in his life. W’s life got a bit more twisted along the way, what with alcohol abuse — but he straightened out in time to be elected governor of Texas in 1994 and to be elected president of the United States in 2000.

Jeb’s probable run for the presidency next year will face similar obstacles. But now he’s the apparent frontrunner and he’s got some fiery foes breathing heavily to catch him.

Romney would have been one of them, given his own penchant for going for the throat (see Newt Gingrich in the 2012 GOP nomination campaign).

Sure, Mitt is out of the picture, so that saves Jeb Bush from suffering from Mitt’s slings and arrows.

However, he’s going to take some serious hits from the bevy of other contenders seeking a shot at the spotlight.

Be careful of what you seek, Jeb. It might find you.