Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not-So-Deep in the Heart of Texas

Matt Taibbi takes apart the ingratiating Sears mannequin that is Rick Perry in his new piece for Rolling Stone:

"But this is America, remember, where one should never underestimate shallow. And Rick Perry brings shallow to a new level. He is very gifted in that regard. He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.

Perry's campaign is still struggling to recover from the kind of spectacular, submarine-at-crush-depth collapse seldom seen before in the history of presidential politics. The governor went from presumptive front-runner to stammering talk-show punch line seemingly in the speed of a single tweet, rightly blasted for being too incompetent even to hold his own in televised debates with a half-bright pizza salesman like Herman Cain and a goggle-eyed megachurch Joan of Arc like Michele Bachmann. But such superficial criticisms of his weirdly erratic campaign demeanor don't even begin to get at the root of why we should all be terrified of Perry and what he represents. After all, you have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism, turning Texas into a swamp of political incest and backroom dealing on a scale not often seen this side of the Congo or Sierra Leone.

In an era when there's exponentially more money in politics than we've ever seen before, Perry is the candidate who is exponentially more willing than we've ever seen before to whore himself out for that money. On the human level he is a nonpersonality, an almost perfect cipher – a man whose only discernible passion is his extreme willingness to be whatever someone will pay him to be, or vote for him to be. Even scarier, the religious community around which he has chosen to pull his human chameleon act features some of the most extreme end-is-nigh nutcases in America, the last people you want influencing the man with the nuclear football. Perry is a human price tag – 'Being There' meets 'Left Behind.' And sometimes there's nothing more dangerous than nothing at all."

I think Taibbi may be the only guy in the world who can mention Hitler in an argument without technically violating Godwin's Law -- and the only guy who can actually outdo a Hitler reference by bringing up Hannibal Lecter in the same piece.


Steven D Skelton said...

...and he kicks it right off with Adolph Hitler comment in the first paragraph.

Skelton's law forbids me from reading any further.

Nick said...

He could be the Adolf Hitler of shallow.

sho 'nuff.

Chez said...

This is actually the salient quote from the piece:

"To recap: Rick Perry sold the right to tax Texas highway drivers to Spanish billionaires, let a British firm write a law authorizing the sale of virtually all Texas state property to foreign corporations, and tried to literally sell the lives of retired Texas schoolteachers to a Swiss bank. Yet he's somehow built a reputation in the national media as a fist-shaking America-first nativist, with a Tea Partier's passion for small government. How Perry has managed to sell this fictional version of himself is a testament to the extraordinary power of marketing over reality in our modern political system. In fact, his entire career is a profound testament to our nagging collective inability, or perhaps unwillingness, to distinguish between what a politician says and what he actually does."

Nick said...

Yet he's somehow built a reputation in the national media as a fist-shaking America-first nativist, with a Tea Partier's passion for small government.

See? That right there is the problem with the liberal main stream media...

Marsupialus said...

I find Taibbi's articles unbearable. Not because of his style or his writing -- both of which I enjoy; I think he's an excellent writer -- it's because his subject matter drives me mad. You read an article like this and you wonder how does it go on? How does no one stop this? How can government be so easily bought? How do we continue to poison ourselves so that a few men can get richer?

I was never able to finish Griftopia. It made me despair to the point where I had to stop.