Living Large in Carson City: Rick Perry: Macho Man Edition

I am not sure why I am so fascinated by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Part of my fascination comes from his blatant affectation of the upright Texas lawman personae he wraps himself in these days. He has an internal radar for news crews that happen to be in the area (actually, most of his photo ops are scripted to make him look more macho than he is).  This is especially true now that he is contemplating running for president – again.

Perry and his crew, however, choose the strangest moments to capture him on film. Some of them are downright idiotic. Take this picture for instance:



As author Jon Ponder notes:

“It appears to show Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry in a helicopter gunship leaning on a powerful-looking weapon aimed at the ground. He is scanning the field below presumably, given recent headlines, seeking to target and shoot refugee children who are attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico.”

Something tells me Perry doesn’t care about how these images appear to the public. After all he isn’t the first politician or past commander-in-chief who posed for a similar photo ops. Who can get this image out of their heads once it has been seared into their brains?


 It’s obvious neither of these men have a scintilla of long term image awareness between the two of them. While Perry has led a lower profile life politically so far, he is working day and night to counter his “golly shucks”, good ole’ boy image. Here is a photo actually taken by the governor’s own staff:


I am not sure which is more disturbing, the steely-eyed death glare Perry chose to display to the camera, or the fact that the staffer would think this was a good image to cast his boss in for future perusal by the media. Either way, Perry is showing some serious ‘tude here, just not very warm and inviting.

Ok, I’m willing to “intellectually” concede that Perry is a bad ass on some level, whatever that might be. However, the real challenge he faces is not in the image he projects, but the comments that come out of his mouth when he is trying to seriously address issues. Consider these comments he made last weekend about the Israeli genocide of innocent civilians in Gaza:

 “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Sunday suggested that 1,700 civilians who had died in Gaza — including children — were legitimate targets for Israelis because Hamas was using them as human “shields.”

Huh? I wonder how many of Perry’s upper echelon staffers keeled over in spastic convulsions as images of the dead, especially children popped up in listeners minds. The Palestinian to Israeli death toll is heavily skewed in favor of the Israeli forces. When children are factored into the equation, it is a wonder that more of the media hasn’t called out the governor to take issue with his egregious statements. Here is Jack Tapper‘s take on lopsided number of deaths:

“If my calculations are right,” Tapper said, “Israel has, in the last three weeks, killed more Palestinian children, more than 200, than the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in military operations since 2006, which includes the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and now Operation Protective Edge.”

Human shield is a euphemism in the Israeli point of view of a “get out of jail card” in its most base form. Perhaps, Hamas does store their weapons in public places in the hope that Israel will not bomb them in fear of killing innocent civilians and children. It hasn’t worked so far and, the Israeli leaders don’t have qualms about pulling the trigger wherever their commanders decide to bomb.

If Perry were a smart man, which doesn’t seem to be the case, he would back off and keep his comments to himself until it becomes politically expedient to do so. His comments and photo ops in recent days, however, point in a different direction. Where Perry will end up in 2016 is anyone’s guess. If his legacy has any chance coming out honorable, and on the right side of history, he should lie low and develop a good case of camera shyness. Otherwise, his image and reputation will suffer as he tries to man up his personae at the expense of his common sense.