From our Late to the Comeback Party desk
Last week’s issue of The Weekly Standard featured a pair of Act Two political characters – one failed, one jailed – auditioning for the 2014 Comeback Kid designation.
Start with Fred Barnes’s take on Rick Perry, Version 2.0.
Google has not been kind to Rick Perry. Type in “Rick Perry gaffe” and you get 111,000 results. Google also offers “searches related to Rick Perry gaffe.” These include “Rick Perry drunk speech, Rick Perry oops, Rick Perry gaffe YouTube, Rick Perry gaffe debate . . . Rick Perry video, Rick Perry forgets department, Rick Perry debate gaffe.”
It’s a neat package of stories, videos, and political humor at Perry’s expense that covers everything that went wrong in his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. The campaign was so dreadful it earned Perry, 64, a reputation as poorly informed and slow-witted. He was left for dead, politically speaking.
Rick Perry is no longer dead. He is alive, well, and hyperactive as a national political figure. He’s now a leading candidate to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, assuming he runs. He has admirers in the media. Jennifer Rubin, the hard-to-please blogger for the Washington Post, wrote recently: “The media and voters are seeing a Rick Perry largely absent in the 2012 race—shrewd, self-possessed, competent and calm.”
Well, we’ll be the judge of that, won’t we?
Meanwhile, meander east a bit and you bump into a profile by the redoubtable Matt Labash of classic Louisiana politician Edwin Edwards, former governor/prison inmate of the Pelican State, who is once again running for high office.
Out of prison, with a new wife and infant son, Edwin Edwards, 86, hits the campaign trail again
The last time I saw Edwin Edwards, he was breaking the law. It was 14 years ago, in the cafeteria of the Russell B. Long federal courthouse in Baton Rouge, where a portrait of Russell’s dad Huey—the Kingfish himself—kept watch over the lobby. At the building’s ribbon-cutting several years earlier, Edwards, who was then in the last of his four nonconsecutive terms as emperor/governor of Louisiana (and who is now running for Congress), had joked that the ceremony was “my first invitation to a federal courthouse not delivered by U.S. marshals.”
Like all his best lines—and Edwards always had the best lines (on his electoral chances: The only way I can lose . . . is if I’m caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy; on his deliberative competitor: Dave Treen is so slow, it takes him an hour-and-a-half to watch 60 Minutes)—the one at his courthouse christening was dark, perfectly timed, and rooted in truth.
(And don’t forget the classic bumper sticker in his 1991 gubernatorial bakeoff with KKK poobah David Duke: Vote for the lizard, not the wizard.)
As usual, the rest of the piece is an un(L)abashed joy to read.