Reading some of the reviews of last night’s Republican presidential primary debate, I can’t help but praise the Washington press corps for the various, creative ways they say Rick Perry makes George W. Bush look like a strong candidate for the Fields Medal. Here’s a sampling:
Jonathan Chait, The New Republic:
Perry treats questions as interruptions. … His total liberation from the constraints of reason give Perry a chance to represent the Republican id in a way Romney simply cannot match.
Roger Simon, Politico:
What his answers sometimes lacked in logic was made up for in enthusiasm, and after some initial nervousness -he gripped the sides of his podium as if he were hanging onto a life raft – Perry settled down to his talking points.”
David Frum, Frum Forum:
I was shocked and surprised at how unprofessional Perry’s debate performance was. Nervous, irritable, stuttering, floundering, he missed opportunity after opportunity.
What confidence can anybody have that Perry will come to work as president any better prepared than how he come to this debate or that he’ll show more insight and intelligence than he did in this first national outing ? Not much.
Aaron Blake & Chris Cillizza, Washington Post:
One of those questions is whether he can survive the detailed policy discussions. Challenged Wednesday to talk about which climate scientists he most agreed with in his doubts about global warming, Perry stumbled through a pained response that included a comparison between global warming doubters and Galileo.
While doubting global warming won’t necessarily hurt him in a Republican primary, the exchange showed that Perry can get tripped up. While he may have clear the bar set for his first debate, he also showed he can stumble in a way that Romney has not.
Gail Collins, New York Times:
Rick Perry, possibly the first major presidential candidate opposed to the direct election of U.S. senators since the advent of the Bull Moose Party. He did not do anything superweird at his maiden presidential debate, unless you count bouncing up and down and cocking his head a lot. Or claiming that the reason a quarter of the Texas population has no health insurance is because of government interference.
Cross-posted from AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field