The Washington Post

Rick Perry backs down... but on what?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) showed some remorse in an interview on Wednesday. Yes, you’re reading that correctly.

Did he apologize to climate scientists for accusing them of perpetrating a preposterous, world-spanning conspiracy to cook data so that they could channel money into their projects? No. Did he say sorry to Ben Bernanke for suggesting that the Federal Reserve chairman would be “treasonous” if he engaged in more quantitative easing to help President Obama politically, without any evidence that’s why Bernanke would act, and apparently without even a casual glance at what “treason” means? No, again.

After a Newsmax interviewer pointed out that “breaks” for illegal immigrants — whatever that means — were unpopular in a recent poll, Perry on Wednesday walked back his suggestion that Republicans who oppose the Texas DREAM Act, which extends in-state college fees to illegal immigrants residing in the state, “don’t have a heart.”

“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate,” Perry said.

By contrast, in a recent presidential debate, he doubled down on his outrageous aspersions toward Bernanke, and on Thursday he repeated much of their substance on CNBC.

So Rick Perry will express regret — when he has said something that makes him sound like a liberal? Or when he’s confronted with challenging poll numbers? Or when he has been unfair to fellow conservatives?

Perry says he has a heart. He can prove it by demonstrating some humility when it’s less politically convenient to do so.

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.


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