Christopher Hitchens Takes Rick Perry’s Measure

Polemicist Christopher Hitchens weighs in on the prospect of a Rick Perry presidency in this article from Salon.com. His concluding sentences:

Is it better to have a candidate who actually believes in biblical inerrancy and the extreme youthfulness and recency of the Grand Canyon, or a candidate who half-affects such convictions in the hope of political gain? Either would be depressing. A mixture of the two—not excluded in Perry’s case—would lower the tone nicely.

I would have not chosen such a soft landing for the final sentence (“…lower the tone nicely.”), but that only reflects the difference between my temperament and Hitchens’s. I expressed similar sentiments about Perry in a late-July post. Notice my choice of the words “frightening,” “appalling,” and “alarmed.”

If Governor Perry had taken the trouble to consult a meteorologist, he would have learned that, barring a tropical storm, hot and dry weather is likely to continue at least into early September. I can think of three possible reasons why he didn’t do so: (1) He actually believed that prayer could produce rain; (2) he was pandering to his Christian constituency; and/or (3) he had a vested interest in deflecting the public’s attention from scientific explanations that might mention climate change. Any one of these possibilities is frightening, not only because Perry is governor of one of our nation’s largest and most populous states, but additionally because he is considering a run for the U.S. presidency. A Perry presidency is an appalling prospect, and every American with a scintilla of sense should be alarmed about it.

Hitchens has, during the course of his career, witnessed so much political idiocy that he may see a Perry presidency as just another loose cannon on the deck. And he may be right. But while Bush II only brought our ship of state to the brink of disaster, a Rick Perry at the helm could bring us crashing on the shoals. He is, by almost any measure, far more radical than his Republican predecessor.

“The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be President of the United States, please pay attention.”
—Molly Ivins (1944-2007, RIP).
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