As Texas Gov. Rick Perry was contemplating a run for president, I and many others noted his propensity to make over-the-top, undisciplined wisecracks. Yesterday, he showed that trait — big time, as ABC News reported:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry capped off his first full day of campaigning in Iowa on Monday by suggesting that if the Federal Reserve prints more money between now and November 2012 it would be akin to an act of treason.
“If this guy prints more money between now and the election,” Perry said, “I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we — we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous in my opinion.”
Cringe. This is the sort of thing a boisterous governor or a Tea Party cheerleader says. It’s not remotely presidential. And it suggests that Perry hasn’t fully acclimated to a presidential race. Yes, the vice president reportedly called Republicans terrorists. Yes, the president accused Republicans of putting party above country. But the Republicans are supposed to be searching for someone better.
More to the point, if Perry isn’t going to bring some maturity and present an image of someone who would be acceptable to the large swatch of voters, what’s the rationale for his campaign?
That was the worst, but not the only gaffe of the day for Perry. In earlier conversation with Ben Smith of Politico Perry doubled down on his suggestion that we should consider devolving Social Security to the states. This is loopy, and it suggests a lack of seriousness about a key issue in the campaign (entitlement reform). Again, you can toss around that sort of policy slop when you are shooting the breeze in Texas, but it’s going to suggest Perry’s drunk from the Newt Gingrich well of off-the-top-of-the-head-silly-ideas.
Perry is late coming to the race. His margin of error is small. He needs to show he’s ready for the big leagues and fills a void in the field. This stuff isn't going to help his cause.