No, I didn’t watch the latest in seemingly thousands of Republican primary debates. I have, however, watched the clip of Rick Perry blanking on the third agency he’d cut from his government.
Political media (especially on the left, which is the media I tend to consume) has declared it to be a devastating moment for the Perry campaign. Sure, it was awkward. And you don’t often see a moment like that from politicians.
I actually thought Rick Perry was sort of charming in that moment. When he got to the third agency he’d cut (after Commerce and Education), he recognized pretty quickly that he was blanking. He sort of laughed at himself, as he was responding to Ron Paul, who was not about to help him.
The moderator at CNBC smelled blood and pressed Perry, which forced him to finally say, “I can’t remember the third right now. Sorry. Oops.”
People draw blanks all the time. I know I do. Hell, I write for a living, and I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve reached for a word in a meeting with a client, only to find that word hiding just beyond my grasp.
More and more, we expect our politicians to be like us, to be human. Rick seemed more like a regular guy in that moment than Mitt Romney ever will. And I thought he handled it surprisingly well, considering how big a deal it was destined to be. He just had that feeling of, “Nope, it’s gone. Shit happens.”
Don’t get me wrong. There are a thousand reasons to not vote for Rick Perry (you know, like that he wants to cut the Commerce, Education, and Energy (!) Departments). But losing a word momentarily isn’t one of those reasons.