Monday, December 12, 2011

Perry on "Solynda": Is It a Gaffe in a Party Where Ignorance is a Virtue?

Rick PerryTo the surprise of absolutely no one, presidential candidate and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said something else dumb:
But his attempt to turn this tough talk into an attack on the current administration came with a few of the verbal misstatements that have plagued other public appearances by Perry. While criticizing President Barack Obama for picking winners and losers in the energy industry, he bungled the name of the most famous energy company to go under despite government assistance.

"No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money," Perry began. "I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda."
For the record, Solyndra was a company, not a country, and its bankruptcy was a small fraction of a broadly successful program to incentivize solar power.

After Republicans suffered a series of defeats in the 2011 elections, the media tried to frame the results as a rejection of the GOP "overreaching" by passing extremist policies. But as Karl Frisch pointed out, "Republicans did not overreach. What they did is who they are. It is what they stand for. It is what they campaign on."

Republicans have spent years devaluing intelligence & thoughtfulness. Republican voters keep picking candidates on the "incompetent & incapable" or "genuinely stupid" end of Bob Cesca's spectrum of ignorance like Sharron Angle & Christine O'Donnell over "genuinely smart but wrong" folks like Mike Castle & Sue Lowden. And Rick Perry seems to be not just ignorant but unserious, repeatedly making mistakes that show he's not even bothering to put in the time to try to get it right.

If Republican primary voters don't punish candidates for ignorance & mistakes, can Rick Perry's errors really be considered "gaffes"?
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