Yesterday, in a speech that was surprising partly because it took this long for a Republican Presidential candidate to deliver it, Gov. Rick Perry denounced Donald Trump and his overblown offensive rhetoric, calling Trump’s candidacy a “cancer on conservatism.”
(Also a cancer on conservatism? Most conservatives.)
He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.
Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.
Donald Trump was born into privilege. He received deferments to avoid service in Vietnam. He breathes the free air thousands of heroes died protecting. And he couldn’t have endured for five minutes what John McCain endured for five and a half years.
For the most part, it was a powerful speech. Any Republican candidate could have given it weeks ago since Trump’s bullshittery is nothing new, but I suppose it’s better late than never. Perry needs a jump in the polls if he wants to qualify for the first GOP debate and this speech could help him out.
But the governor who once led a prayer rally for Jesus lost me when he explained Trump’s biggest offense.
It wasn’t calling Mexican immigrants rapists.
It wasn’t denying that Sen. John McCain was a war hero.
But most telling to me is not Mr. Trump’s bombast, his refusal to show any remorse for his comments about Senator McCain, but his admission that there is not a single time in his life that he sought the forgiveness of God.
A man too arrogant, too self-absorbed, to seek God’s forgiveness is precisely the type of leader John Adams prayed would never occupy the White House.
Despite the many awful things Trump has said, his claim that “If I do something wrong, I try to do something right… I don’t bring God into that picture” was a breath of fresh air. It’s something you’d want every candidate, from any party, to say.
For Perry to discredit Trump for not properly bowing down to his God is why he, too, has no business in the White House. Perry’s more interested in whether someone reads the Bible instead of the Constitution. And if the two are in conflict, better take the Bible.
Perry took a speech that could have set him apart from the Republican fundamentalists like Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum and used it to make a statement about how he’s no different from any of them on this matter.
Separation of church and state — the idea of government getting out of religion — ought to be a proud conservative principle. But Perry, like the rest of the candidates in the GOP clown car, essentially sees Christianity as a prerequisite to hold high public office.
He wasted an opportunity to convince people outside the Republican base to consider voting for him in 2016.