In a discussion Tuesday night on MSNBC about Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) and his campaign’s tortured attempts to run away from his nine-month-old tome “Fed up!,” I said that they are trying to disavow something that is wrapped around his leg like a ball and chain. Time magazine just made that ball and chain a lot heavier with a report that Perry belongs to that crazy club that believes being gay is akin to being an alcoholic.
The latest revelation of Perry’s mind-set comes from his first book, “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting for” published in 2008. And as we all know, you can’t write about the scouts without mentioning gays. Time magazine highlights this interesting comment: “Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink,” he wrote. “And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender.” Perry takes a pass on the pretty-much-settled nature-vs.-nurture fight, but says gays and lesbians should choose abstinence. What in the Sam Hill . . .?
Time tried to get an explanation from the Perry campaign. The sound of crickets has been the response thus far. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent points out that the sound of silence is the third approach Perry’s people have used to deal with the head-scratching and problematic musings lurking within the pages of Perry’s two books. They’re going to have to do a much better job than this. As Sargent rightly notes, the Perry camp should have been prepared for these questions and appears to have been caught totally flat-footed.
With the poll numbers putting him at the head of the pack, Perry might not care that his views will alienate him from the moderates and independents he’d need to actually win the White House. After all, he’s not alone in his views on homosexuality. But not being prepared for questions on books with his name on the cover is a rookie mistake on the national political stage. And if there is one thing Perry has mastered in his 11 days on the campaign trail, it’s the rookie mistake.