19 October 2011
Idiots of the week: debaters and debate watchers
The joint appearances of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have become a kind of inter-network reality mini-series, and are being judged as such. A new low has been reached when bloggers and tweeters and others strain to analyze what Gov. Perry could have meant when he addressed Herman Cain as "brother." A further low is reached when Perry's people feel compelled to offer explanations. They say that "brother" is equivalent to "pardner," -- but they also say that their man also addressed Mitt Romney the same way, which was not the case according to this story. Of course, hostile observers are vigilant for any hint of racial condescension on the part of the Texan, but the most obvious explanation exculpates Perry. He was, in fact, cutting a promo on Cain. That is, in the argot of professional wrestling, he was challenging or taunting the pizza godfather with the promise of a superior economic plan. "Brother" is the giveaway. Anyone who has ever heard "Hulk" Hogan speak knows that he uses the word "brother" the way some people use "like" or "you know." Perry, it seems, was trying to prove that he is "hip" or "down with the homies" by imitating the phrases and cadences of a celebrity thirty years past his prime. He might have made this more clear had he gone on to say, "Whatcha gonna do, Herm Cain, when Perrymania and all the Perrymaniacs run wild on you? Instead of nine-nine-nine, brother, it's gonna be one-two-three!" He would have been front-runner again in an instant.