Perry’s Ignorance Worse Than It Looks

Perry’s Ignorance Worse Than It Looks December 13, 2011

Rick Perry’s campaign tried to rescue him from the mistake of saying there were 8 justices on the Supreme Court by claiming that he was talking about a case that he was not, in fact, talking about.

Rick Perry’s campaign today said the Texas governor’s reference to eight U.S. Supreme Court justices Friday was in regard to a ruling where all but one voted differently than what he thought was appropriate.

Perry on Friday in a meeting with The Des Moines Register’s editorial board spoke about his belief that prayer in public schools should be allowed…

Perry’s campaign today said that the 2012 Republican presidential candidate was referencing a 1963 case known as Abington School District v. Schempp, when the court ruled that school-sponsored Bible reading is unconstitutional. The vote was 8-1.

Perry in the meeting with the Register did not specifically mention the name of the case but did – about five minutes before making the “eight” comment — note a 1962 case while discussing school prayer. (The actual case was argued and decided in 1963.)

But Schempp wasn’t about school prayer, it was about mandatory Bible reading. As the article notes, the school prayer decision was Engle v Vitale in 1963. So no, he was not talking that case — but the amusing thing is that he’s too ignorant even to know what case he was talking about. In fact, when you look at the full transcript, it’s even worse than it looked before:

Question: As president you have to represent all Americans. By saying this president has declared war on religion, some people of this country who are of diverse faiths might read that as you would declare war on their religion.

PERRY: “Well, they would be wrong is how I would say that straight up.”

Question: You talk about state rights in terms of defending the constitution. You don’t see a role for the federal courts to uniformly interpret the First Amendment to defend religious rights in all 50 states?

PERRY: “No, here’s what I see happening with the First Amendment. And this goes back to 1962 and that case where you can’t have an organized prayer to an almighty God as I believe the way it was. I’m not a lawyer and I haven’t studied these cases in depth. But the idea that the court is telling us whether or not we can have prayer in school is really a bit offensive to me. That should be a decision at the local level. It’s one of the reasons I’ve called for doing away with the federal government.

Doing away with the federal government? The one you’re running to lead? Yeah, that makes sense.

Question : Just to clarify. When you talk about day of prayer or prayer in schools are you talking Christian prayer or non-denominational prayer?

PERRY: “What I’m saying is it’s not the government’s business to be telling folks that at the state level. Obviously if a school is a Jewish school in Dallas, Texas, that private school should be able to do that.”

Question: They can. The issue is public schools.

PERRY: “Well then the independent school boards that oversee those should make those decisions, not government. Again, I mean, the idea that we have to be so politically correct that there’s one family that says, ‘Listen, I don’t want my child,’ then that child ought to have the freedom — can sit over there and play Tic Tac Toe or what have you. But the issue is that for Washington to tell a local school district that you cannot have a prayer and a time of prayer in that school, I think, is offensive to most Americans. I trust the people of the states to make those decisions, I trust those independent school districts to make those decisions better than eight unelected and, frankly, unaccountable judges. And it’s one of the reasons that I’ve called for the end of lifetime appointments to federal judgeships. I would go to some set term.”

How many imbecilities do you count? First, he doesn’t know the difference between a private school and a public school. Second, he doesn’t seem to know that public school boards are the government. They are elected public officials running a government agency. This man isn’t qualified to run the night shift at a Taco Bell.


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  • There were 12 supreme court justices when Paul Revere rode his famous midtown busride to warn the British that the redcoat nazis were coming to take their guns!!!

    It’s all true on planet wingnut.

  • eric

    I trust those independent school districts to make those decisions better than eight unelected and, frankly, unaccountable judges.

    Perry, of course, appointed creationist Gail Lowe to be Chairman of the Texas SBOE. That was after his previous appointed Chairman, Don McLeroy, went down in flames. Perry could allow the SBOE to vote on their own leader and simply approve their choice, but he doesn’t let them do that. The man has no shame.

  • Aquaria

    Engel v. Vitale was decided on June 25, 1962, which was decided 6-1, with Hugo Black writing the majority opinion. Potter Stewart was the sole dissenter.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It’s one of the reasons I’ve called for doing away with the federal government.

    Wowie Zowie!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    And it’s one of the reasons that I’ve called for the end of lifetime appointments to federal judgeships.

    No biggie. Once he does away with the federal government, there won’t be any federal judgeships.

  • matty1

    he doesn’t know the difference between a private school and a public school.

    He’s not secretly English is he?

  • Aquaria

    Listen, I don’t want my child,’ then that child ought to have the freedom — can sit over there and play Tic Tac Toe or what have you.

    Rick, you’re so terribly deluded. You haven’t been that kid who was shuffled off to the side. Besides, if you’re going to force your delusion into schools, then you’re going to have to let the school insert itself into churches. Fair is fair, after all.

    Wouldn’t that be fun?

    But the issue is that for Washington to tell a local school district that you cannot have a prayer and a time of prayer in that school, I think, is offensive to most Americans.

    Offensive != Constitutional, Rickie-poo. Nobody has a right not to be offended. I find you offensive, for instance, but that doesn’t make you unconstitutional (unfortunately).

    Why are you so fucking stupid that you can’t get this? Did someone hit you over the head. I remember when you used to be somewhat sensible. I really do. But something has happened to you. Cooites from GDub, or some other crazy disease that eats what little of a brain you used to have.

    I trust the people of the states to make those decisions

    I don’t. In one of them, they voted for you. That’s weapons-grade stupid. I wouldn’t trust your average Texan to decide which toilet paper to buy at the grocery store.

    I trust those independent school districts to make those decisions better than eight unelected and, frankly, unaccountable judges.

    I trust judges to understand the law better than some christer idiot who wouldn’t know the Constitution from a hole in the ground–and wouldn’t respect it even he could read it.

    And it’s one of the reasons that I’ve called for the end of lifetime appointments to federal judgeships. I would go to some set term.”

    And you’ll be stepping down from the Texas governorship…when?

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    When Perry plays tic-tac-toe by himself, does he ever win?

  • Strategically Shaved Monkey

    “But the issue is that for Washington to tell a local school district that you cannot have a prayer and a time of prayer in that school”

    Is he premoting Islam? Since when do biblebashers have set prayer times?

  • jamessweet

    When Perry plays tic-tac-toe by himself, does he ever win?

    Only after he fills in all eight squares.

  • Stevarious

    Doing away with the federal government? The one you’re running to lead? Yeah, that makes sense.

    I don’t think that he realizes that if he becomes president, he has to stop being governor.

    Or maybe his plan for his presidency amounts to exactly four acts? 1: Get sworn in. 2: Announce that presidents can still be governors. 3: Dissolve the federal government and 4: Roll some shitty Texas home-rolled cigar with the constitution and light it up while cackling madly.

  • matty1

    Is he premoting Islam? Since when do biblebashers have set prayer times?

    There you have it Rick Perry supports creeping Sharia.

  • It’s one of the reasons I’ve called for doing away with the federal government.

    Well, now we finally know the third department he wants to abolish—the whole federal government.

  • It’s one of the reasons I’ve called for doing away with the federal government.

    So are we going to turn over U.S. military operations to the states, or simply privatize the industry?

    And what do you need a constitutional amendment, or even a constitution, for without a federal government?

    It’s too bad this guy’s campaign peaked months before the first caucus or primary.

  • bbgunn

    Which village in Texas is missing Perry?

  • MikeMa

    @jamessweet – excellent sir. 8 squares. 1 internets award to you for saturnalia.

    Perry’s idea to do away with the federal government fits right in with his ultimate state’s rights position. Fifty states convert instantly to fifty countries. Texas will finally secede by default.

  • Jordan Genso

    Second, he doesn’t seem to know that public school boards are the government.

    Thank you. I got into a discussion with an individual in regards to Michigan’s new anti-bullying legislation, and he kept claiming that “the government should have no role in stopping bullying, it should be up to the local school boards.”

    Even after I pointed out the blatant contradiction of his position, he never admitted he was wrong.

  • Jim

    I knew Perry was stupid. I didn’t know how stupid.

    This has just solidified some things that have been on my mind.

    1. Many in the US have embraced ignorance and stupidity as a sign of high status.

    2. Many in the US have embraced a strain of christianity that supports the 1%.

    3. These people elect stupid, corporate christians to office.

    4. These elected corporate christians oppose a fair economy and oppose regulating fossil fuels.

    5. The two largest users of fossil fuels are Americans and the Chinese.

    6. Neither the US nor China are part of the Kyoto Protocol, and Canada just withdrew.

    7. The only thing climate scientists get wrong is the pace of warming; it is happening faster than expected.

    8. The arctic ice is reducing, droughts are increasing, and deserts are expanding.

    9. Warming is compromising harvests.

    10. Globally, the rich are getting richer, the poor poorer.

    11. The rich have acquired and keep acquiring more political power.

    Given these facts, would someone please offer me a compelling counter argument to the following:

    As fresh water and food become scarcer and scarcer, the rich will back fascist parties that will keep the poor from organizing against them. Ultimately food shortages will lead to epidemic death by starvation. The planet will warm to late Cretaceous levels. This will lead to the extinction of most mega fauna, including us.

    Don’t want to be a downer, but the post about how stupid Perry is just put everything in perspective for me. Would love to be wrong about this, but I can’t see how I am.

  • eric

    But the issue is that for Washington to tell a local school district that you cannot have a prayer and a time of prayer in that school

    I think what Governor Perry is really upset about is someone else telling his districts what they can and can’t do. Clearly, he has no problem with pan-district rules when he’s the one who gets to make them.

  • Rasmus Odinga Gambolputty de von Ausfern….of Ulm

    Like a kid who speculates what’s inside the gift wrapped boxes in the days leading up to xmas, I find myself wanting to find out what flavor of stupid the Republicans will offer for their presidential candidate.

  • d cwilson

    Perry’s idea to do away with the federal government fits right in with his ultimate state’s rights position. Fifty states convert instantly to fifty countries. Texas will finally secede by default.

    But without a federal government, how will Perry plug up Texas’ next budget deficit?

    I know, I know. Slashes to education spending. Dumb question.

  • “Which village in Texas is missing Perry?”

    All of them, Charlie.

  • Stevarious

    I know, I know. Slashes to education spending. Dumb question.

    Education budget? Please. Once Texas secedes, there won’t BE public schools. The only state education will be free – no, inexpensive mandatory bible class. If you’re not rich enough to afford private school then your children don’t deserve an education.

    Because obviously if your parents don’t have enough money to send you to private school, Jesus doesn’t WANT you to be educated.

  • lofgren

    As fresh water and food become scarcer and scarcer, the rich will back fascist parties that will keep the poor from organizing against them. Ultimately food shortages will lead to epidemic death by starvation.

    I would say that you are only wrong in believing that it has anything to do with climate change specifically. This has been the cycle since the dawn of humankind. Innovation leads to population explosion leads to expansion leads to revolution leads to resource depletion leads to reactionary totalitarianism leads to collapse. Any sense that our society was ever sustainable was always an untested belief based on faith and contrary to all evidence of history. It’s been fun while it lasted.

  • michaelswanson

    ‘Listen, I don’t want my child,’ then that child ought to have the freedom — can sit over there and play Tic Tac Toe or what have you.

    “Tic Tac Toe?” Classic. Another dismissive “you don’t belong, go sit in the corner” statement from yet another smug, unthinking Christian.

    Fuck Perry.

  • frankb

    Reagan: “I ran for the head of the federal government so I could dismantle it.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I know, I know. Slashes to education spending. Dumb question.

    We say “the travesty of wasted minds.” Republitards say “growing the base.”

  • Stevarious

    “I ran for the head of the federal government so I could dismantle it.”

    What do you know ya dumb conservative? You got the IQ of a rattle!

  • Stevarious

    Aaaand I just realized that could be construed as a jab towards Alzheimer’s patients. Which is not what I meant.

  • The Abington School District v. Schempp case was a Palin style defense, or I should say, a Palin handler defense. But unlike Palin, Perry doesn’t have a derp army lining up to endorse the ridiculous post hoc excuse for his dumb statement. And even after his advisers invented this explanation, my guess is this would approximate Perry’s understanding of Abington v Schempp.

  • Trebuchet

    @#1, Marcus:

    It’s all true on planet wingnut.

    I’m sorry, but you are wrong. And so are a great many other rational thinkers. This is insulting — to wingnuts.

    I’m a fully licensed (by the government!) mechanical engineer. The wingnut is a useful mechanical device, very handy for joints which must be frequently disassembled and where strength and security are not paramount. Perry, on the other hand, is utterly useless.

    Can we please stop insulting wingnuts by comparing them to Perry, Palin, Bachmann, WND, etc.? As an alternative, I propose “appendix”. An organ which is a vestige of bygone days, is of no known use, and has the potential to cause great harm.

    “Planet Appendixia”. I think I like that.

  • chilidog99

    I’m waiting for the day that Rick Perry pulls off the rubber mask and reveals that he is really Andy Kaufman

  • Stevarious

    I’m waiting for the day that Rick Perry pulls off the rubber mask and reveals that he is really Andy Kaufman

    Or Sacha Baron Cohen.

    Oh, wait, can’t be, he’s busy being Lord Monckton.

  • Pingback: What is the government? | The LatiNone()

  • It’s like going to a job interview and saying, “If you hire me, not only am I complete incompetent, and have no interest in learning how to do the job. I won’t even care enough to attempt to do it. Furthermore, if you hire me, I’m going to burn down the building.”