Eminent Texan Rick Perry. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Eminent Texan Rick Perry. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Poor Rick Perry. If running for president didn’t require you to say things, he’d have had it in the bag.

Every few months, we have the thought that “hey, it’s been a while since we heard from Rick Perry! Maybe he should run for president again!” But then he opens his mouth, revealing the large foot permanently inserted there, and we realize that those two thoughts were causally linked. It is only when we haven’t heard from Rick in a while that he seems like a good call. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or something.

He is the Olive Garden of politicians. “It can’t possibly have been that bad,” you tell yourself. And then you get there.

The remarks came Wednesday night in a speech at the California Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. San Francisco! As SFGate reported, Perry spoke compellingly on a range of topics, from fracking to interstate competition. Then they opened the floor for Q&A, and things started to gallop downhill.

First, Perry was asked about reparative therapy for gays and lesbians. The Republican Party of Texas has actually added text to its platform supporting this. He replied that he did not know whether it worked.

Well, glad it’s in the platform, then!

Then, in response to a question from Commonwealth Club interviewer Greg Dalton, asking if Perry thought homosexuality was a disorder, Perry said, “Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

Ick.

Frankly, I only feel a little bad that Rick Perry, as a person who says this kind of thing, will not get to be president. I feel much worse for the people in the state of Texas who have to live with a governor who thinks this.

Maybe the real news here is that he managed to get through so much of his appearance before inserting his foot into his mouth. It might be a record.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.