It is fairly common: idiotic commentary prompting a politically calculated apology devoid of substance. Fairly simple and equally undesirable. Ok. So, Perry attempts to execute this common tactic this week by continuing to apologize for a comment that he made during the Repub. presidential debate of September 22. As a refresher, he rashly claimed that "opponents of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants do not 'have a heart'" (HuffPost). Heartless? Interesting. To be sure, the idea was to present himself as the one "mainstream" Repub. candidate who does not seek to completely marginalize the hispanic vote. It is an interesting politic tactic that could be rewarding, if only Perry avoided the foolish rhetoric that has come to define his declining campaign.
Immigration is just one of many topics on which Perry has a mixed "conservative" record. During the most recent Repub. debate, we saw Perry on the defensive, attempting to defend himself against his record as Texas governor, by attempting to point out alleged weaknesses in Romney's "immigration stances." The Nevada audience responded with disgust, helping to cement Romney's claim to debate victory on that night. As expected, Perry is showing commentary schizophrenia. First, he utters these bizarre, ill-advised proclamations; and then he and his camp spend expensive time and energy attempting to both apologize and distance Governor Perry from his own delusions and commentary. I am sure that the American public is getting tired of this standard boilerplate.
But this is merely one element of a campaign that seems to be without definitive focus.
Perry's own campaign road proposals seem bizarre, even for a party historically willing to accept unconventional policy alternatives. As Cain ascended in the polls (thanks, in part, to his "9-9-9 Plan"), Perry attempted to capitalize on Repub. anti-tax sentiment by proposing his own tax reform measure: an optional 20% flat tax. The tax plan is replete with confusion and uncertainty. The plan will not derail Cain's campaign or transfer some of Cain's support to Perry. Each one of Perry's efforts at "one-upmanship" has ended in more bizarre rhetoric and predictable apology.
On the topic of Perry's tax plan: Bloomberg reported this week that Perry's optional 20% flat tax would increase taxes for approximately "41 percent of U.S. households." Comforting. So--again, an increase. I would like to hear from Ron Paul. Yes, Ron Paul. I am confident that he would not be warm to this inane plan. Interestingly, that same Bloomberg article notes that, "46 percent of households aren't paying Federal income tax this year." Most--not all--tax reform measures currently being debated seek to increase the number of taxable Americans. The short end of it is: more taxable Americans, means more revenue, translating to more spending programs. While this may not be explicitly stated, the reality remains: a serious tax reform policy of liberating Americans from the tyranny of the tax collectors is only being proposed by one candidate: that renegade Texas Congressman, Ron Paul. I am above the influence. Unlike the media, I am unapologetically mentioning him by name.
As the campaign season progresses, and more GOP debates are televised, Perry will be sure to open himself up to more criticism, resulting in a further decline in the polls. The result? More apologies and more incoherent policy proposals. I think that Texas heat has, indeed, been a culprit.