Rick Perry’s smart speech at Liberty University


Then Perry, apparently deciding to make ads for the Obama campaign, came out with a series of “See how dumb I am?” one-liners. He observed that he needed to pull out a dictionary to see what “convocation” meant. The next knee-slapper: He didn’t have the grades to be a vet, so he became a pilot. And then the real howler: He was in the top 10 in a high school class of 13.  Yes, he was trying to be self-deprecating, but it’s disturbing to see that he thinks being a rotten student and a know-nothing gives one street cred in the GOP.

The Post’s Philip Rucker, who was there, had a very different take on the address:

[Perry] talked about the many nights in his 20s he spent pondering his purpose, “wondering what to do with this one life among the billions that were on the planet,” but knowing that God’s answers would be revealed to him in due time. Perry mused about his personal failings: not realizing his dream of becoming a veterinarian because he flunked organic chemistry, being ordered to do push-ups as a college cadet when his superiors in morning inspections discovered insufficiently shined shoes, straying from his faith and being “lost” as a young Air Force pilot overseas. “He who knows the number of drops in the ocean, he counts the sands in the desert, he knows you by name. . . . He doesn’t require perfect people to execute his perfect plan,” Perry said...

After watching a video of the speech, I think it is pretty clear that Perry wasn’t making a joke; he was making a deeply serious point. He was talking to the students about the process of discovering your vocation and purpose in life — and spoke with candor about his journey and failures along the way. He pointed out that each of us is a flawed human being, but that “God uses broken people to reach a broken world.” Perry told them: “Don’t fret if you don’t know your place in the world, or what you want to be one day.  Simply trust. Trust that God wouldn’t have put you here unless he had a unique plan for your life.” It was a moving, personal and extremely self-aware address.  

Watch for yourself.  The relevant part of the speech begins at 14:30.

Marc Thiessen writes a weekly column for The Post on foreign and domestic policy and contributes to the PostPartisan blog. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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