Perry campaign fed up with ‘Fed Up!’
By Ezra Klein,
As I wrote last week, Rick Perry’s 2010 manifesto ‘Fed Up’ is unusually interesting for a book written by a politician. Perhaps too interesting. The Perry campaign is now trying to disown it:
His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program..In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.
This is a mistake. Disowning the book won’t work. It was written in 2010, not 1994,, and as the Wall Street Journal notes, Perry mentioned it on the campaign trail as recently as Sunday: “A questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: ‘Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”
There is no chance that the Perry campaign is going to convince anyone that his book is not a useful guide to his thinking. What will happen if they try is that they will draw attention to its most radical passages, make their candidate look insincere, and signal to the other campaigns and to Republican elites that even Perry’s advisers think Perry’s book makes him vulnerable. Fed up with ‘Fed Up!’ as they may be, they’re stuck with it.