Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perry Gaffe Distracts from Failures of Other Candidates

Texas Gov. Rick Perry finally overshadowed all the other contenders for the Republican nomination for president. Just not in the way he would have preferred.

Perry's huge stumble ranks as the most embarrassing moment I've seen in a debate at that level. It was as bad as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's inability to even read her notes in a 2010 debate, but the stakes were much higher for Perry Wednesday night. His inability to name the three government agencies he would eliminate was particularly embarrassing because the one he couldn't come up with just happens to be the one that regulates the largest industry in his state -- the Department of Energy.

Perry's flop is a shame because it takes the spotlight off all too many other failures by the other candidates -- for instance, their insistence on attacking the rescue of the auto industry by holding on to the fairy tale belief that private equity markets could somehow have handled the matter at a moment when the nation's financial markets were crippled.

And Herman Cain's ridiculous defense against sexual harassment allegations -- hey, there are only four accusers and thousands of women who say I never touched them. Then he shows his high regard for women in general by calling former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a "princess."

Then there was Newt Gingrich pretending to be a historian, lauding the business genius of Henry Ford when it's commonly known that when Ford started out he was terrible at handling the business details, as opposed to the mechanics of building the vehicle.

The Perry moment will go down in history, but the other moments won't do much for the campaigns of the remaining candidates.

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