A few months ago I pointed out that there’s strong circumstantial evidence that Rick Perry is not very smart. Or, he’s very lazy. While George W. Bush had a reputation as dull, his standardized test scores indicated that he wasn’t without any raw material. This makes sense in light of the fact that his father is reputedly bright, having graduated from Yale with an economics degree in three years. Perry in contrast may be the real deal in terms of a dumb authentic Texas politician.
All that being said, one reader pointed out that Perry did have the intellect to become an officer in the Air Force. Since the military uses standardized tests a fair amount you can put a floor on his intelligence. So I let the matter rest, especially since Perry dropped a great deal in the polls.
But all this came back to mind over the past few days, after Rick Perry’s famous brain freeze during the recent debate. I don’t judge Perry too harshly on this matter in regards to intellect, as I suspect a lot of the problem here is that he hasn’t campaigned very long with the same talking points. Nevertheless, he did forget about the Department of Energy, which should be high on his mental checklist recalling his priorities in this area.
Kevin Drum is in no mood for apologies:
Right. And with that, I will now repeat my most brilliant political prediction ever. This was #4 on my list of reasons that Rick Perry won’t win the Republican nomination:
He’s too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I’m keenly aware that Americans don’t vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I’ve read about Perry suggests that he’s a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George W. Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there’s a limit to how doltish they can be too.
I demand abject apologies from everyone who gave me a hard time over this. Rick Perry is too dimwitted to be president. End of story.
Drum presumably got a negative reaction because intelligence isn’t something spoken of in polite company. Even many readers of this blog became offended or angry, despite their distaste for Perry’s politics. But a bigger issue is the point that people bring up about Perry having a “senior moment.” That’s not totally implausible. He’s a 61 year old man. But does he look like a 61 year old man? From what I recall Rick Perry has gotten some extensive cosmetic surgery, as well as experimental treatments like human growth hormone injections. This has given him a youthful look on the outside, but it doesn’t change his slow decline on the inside. If he looked more his age I wonder if people would be more forgiving. As it is, they see a vigorous man, and assume a vigorous mind.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore