Republican front-runner Rick Perry wowed the crowd last night with his stirring defense of the Texas death penalty.
I can’t say which is more disgusting … the fact that the audience applauded at the mention of Perry’s record number of executions — 234 — or Perry’s saying he doesn’t struggle over the possibility that some of the condemned might be innocent.
A few days ago I linked to a couple of articles about Texas executions, “Rick Perry set to carry out one or two more questionable executions as candidatee” and “Cameron Todd Willingham Execution: Rick Perry’s Role Deserves Scrutiny.” Summation: There is a high probability that some death row prisoners in Texas are innocent, and Perry not only doesn’t bother to review these cases before the execution, in at least one case he made sure no one else reviewed it, either.
Steve Benen reminds us that while Perry may have a pure faith in the infallibility of the Texas justice system, he has a low opinion of science. Perry is a pure distillation of meanness and ignorance. Yeah, just what we need in a POTUS.
The other part of last night’s debate that people are talking about is Perry’s calling Social Security a “ponzi scheme.” Will talk like that cost him the GOP nomination? One would think so, since the GOP’s voter base skews elderly. However, the “ponzi scheme” talk could work very well with younger voters.
On the third hand — the GOP establishment is not lining up to support Perry. Karl Rove disses him. More telling, perhaps, is Jennifer Rubin’s conclusion that Perry “failed to impress” in last night’s debate. My take on Rubin is that she pretty much reflects GOP beltway insider thinking.
But while the GOP establishment may not have been impressed with Perry, Jonathan Chait thinks Perry won the night with the base.
The media seems to consider Romney the winner. Pardon the condescension, but they’re not thinking like Republican base voters. Romney approaches every question as if he is in an actual debate, trying to provide the most intellectually compelling answer available, within the bounds of political expediency. Perry treats questions as interruptions. What scientists do you trust on climate change? I don’t want to risk the economy. Are you taking a radical position on social security? We can have reasons or we can have results. His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.
The baggers know that reason, like reality, has a well-known liberal bias.