Some of the reaction to Politico’s tireless quest to find out if Democrats think Rick Perry is “dumb” centered on the fact reporters conveniently have yet to produce President Obama’s school records. That’s true–and a point worth making. But David Harsanyi has an excellent article on the other double standard in the Politico piece.
Harsanyi notes that Perry gets hit with the accusation he doesn’t stay up late reading Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute white papers because, apparently, he’d rather listen to his advisers. Harsanyi pounces:
Listen, I love reading a Cato white paper as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t make me smart; it makes me tragically boring. No doubt Barack Obama picked up his sad conviction in redistributionist economics perusing stacks of white papers—highlight marker within reach—but his presidency was won on crude progressive populism anchored in emotion, not reason. Policy ideas had little to do with Obama’s election victory, though they have almost everything to do with his failures as president.
Well said. The president ran the most vacuous, messianic campaign imaginable—and yet Perry is tagged as a dense would-be theocrat. Further, the press swooned over Obama’s cabinet picks–even as they dropped off one by one for getting caught cheating on their taxes—and the ridiculous notion that sending Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, to spend time with her husband’s donors in the Middle East, was the modern equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals.” Yet Perry is “dumb” because his “advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years.”
And what of Obama’s ideas in office? We have the health care reform bill that Americans now favor repealing by 20 points. And we have the stimulus, which the administration projected would keep unemployment below 8 percent. Harsanyi also warns Perry against running the kind of campaign Obama ran–one devoid of ideas and practical policy advocacy.
He’s right there as well. Should he be the nominee, Perry will have to convince voters that his ideas, as well as his experience, set him apart from the president.