Take Five (On Second Thought edition)

ONE: Breaking: Democrat-turned-Republican Changes Position!

Rick Perry fun fact: Perry entered politics as a Democrat, and retained that party affiliation for about five years while serving as an elected Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives. A year after he chaired the Gore campaign in Texas, he became a Republican. He doesn’t much talk about this anymore, of course, since his own private “fierce urgency of now” entails hoodwinking right-wing voters into believing that he emerged from the womb a full-fledged, fire-breathing Republican, ready to take on that socialist squatter in the White House.

Former Democrat Perry demonstrated his ideological malleability most recently on the subject of marriage. His public stance on the issue was nationally articulated in July of this year at a conclave of Republican governors, prompted by a question about New York’s landmark recognition of marriage equality:

“You know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business if you live in some other state or particularly if you’re the federal government.”

That’s a position not wholly dissimilar to that of President Obama, a position that punts – conveniently – the issue of marriage equality back to the states, and while I disagree with it, Candidate Perry’s newest position on the issue is more objectionable by several orders of magnitude. Asked by the AP whether he would support a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, the former Democrat replied:

“I am for the federal marriage amendment. And that’s about as sharp a point as I could put on it.”

Well, apparently not quite as sharp, since Perry subsequently pandered just a smidge more and signed the “Marriage Pledge” put forward by the National Organization for Marriage, whose recent villainy has been commented on before here and here.

Seemingly unaware that his talking out of both sides of his mouth is an ongoing matter of record, the former Democrat recently took dead aim at his critics:

“With all due respect to anybody that’s out there either directly or indirectly criticizing me because I speak plainly, I call it like I see it,” Perry said on the Laura Ingraham radio show.

To my mind, it seems that the way the former Democrat “sees it” is remarkably mercurial, but – unlike, say, former Democrat Rick Perry, for example – I’m still a Democrat, so what the hell do I know? With all due respect to former Democrat Rick Perry, who chaired the Gore campaign in Texas, I think I’m seeing a campaign theme beginning to emerge here, and not one for the Republicans: Vote for former Democrat Rick Perry! You’ll always know where he stands, right up until he decides he wants to go and stand somewhere else.

TWO: Look Out, Pauly Shore

Erstwhile Republican frontrunner Michele Bachmann spent four days in Florida at the end of August, with a portion of the junket devoted to prying her foot out of her mouth. It started with these comments:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Nothing really out of character for Michele Bachmann, of course; poorly reasoned, disjointedly argued, theologically inept, politically dumb… the usual. But when the comments went viral, the candidate was forced to go on defense:

“Of course I was being humorous when I said that. It would be absurd to think it was anything else,” Bachmann said… on a campaign stop in Miami.

“I am a person who loves humor, I have a great sense of humor,” she said.

Yeah, just great, because after all, what’s funnier than a storm that killed 24 people and caused the worst flooding Vermont has suffered in 80 years, and a quake that damaged the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument? Comedy gold, right?

Why, it’s almost as funny as the recent CNN poll that showed Bachmann has fallen to fourth place, tied with the ever-hilarious Rudy Giuliani.  Or the Washington Post-ABC News poll that places her fifth, two notches below shambolic non-candidate Sarah Palin.

THREE: Puppet Show and Christine O’Donnell

Teabaggers just adore women, at least if the women are (in steeply descending order of current currency) Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Christine O’Donnell. But hark, what fresh hubbub threatens to ruin the perfect harmony of the Republican Party’s determined pursuit of being defeated again by Barack Obama?

First Sarah Palin was scheduled to attend the Tea Party of America’s Iowa rally this weekend. Then Christine O’Donnell was invited. Then Christine O’Donnell was uninvited. Then she was re-invited. Now Palin is out. Maybe.

And that’s where things briefly stood:

Sarah Palin’s [September 2] appearance at a tea party rally in Indianola, Iowa, is on hold, a person close to the former Alaska governor told The Wall Street Journal…

The person said Ms. Palin’s appearance was “no longer confirmed” and cited “continual lying” from event organizers at Tea Party of America, including a recent mixup over whether former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware would also speak…

The former governor’s team decided to back out Tuesday night after rally organizers re-invited Ms. O’Donnell to speak on stage. Organizers had booked Ms. O’Donnell, who lost her 2010 bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Delaware, to speak but quickly withdrew the invitation in an effort to avoid controversy.

A Tea Party of America leader told Ms. Palin’s aides that the former governor told him to re-invite Ms. O’Donnell, which is not true, the person said, adding that there were also issues over fund-raising and logistical changes that were not approved by Ms. Palin’s team.

But within hours, Palin was back on the bill and O’Donnell was back off:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is set to appear at a tea party rally in Iowa… a source close to Palin told CNN.

And Christine O’Donnell is out (again), the source said.

After the confusion, rally organizers “stepped up their game today” and “sorted out” various logistical issues that had concerned the governor’s aides, the Palin source told CNN…

O’Donnell was, for the second time in 48 hours, removed from the program Wednesday afternoon.

In the end, O’Donnell opted to hawk her book at a conservative gathering in Vegas, and a crowd of about 2,000 flocked to the Indianola Balloon Grounds to hear Palin not declare herself a presidential candidate:

Sarah Palin sounded very much like a candidate Saturday as she railed against the Obama administration, big business and big finance in addition to outlining what she called “my plan” before a rain-soaked crowd at a Tea Party of America rally.

Still, by the end of her roughly 40-minute speech, the ex-Alaska governor remained a noncandidate.

FOUR: Pandermonium in South Carolina

Perhaps desperate to prove that he has a mind, Mitt Romney changed his the other day:

Mitt Romney has reversed his decision last week to skip a Tea Party-ish forum hosted by conservative Sen. Jim DeMint. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin reports that Romney will show up at the South Carolina event after all, and his staff says the move was due to a scheduling problem. And the campaign denies the change is a reaction to Rick Perry’s movement to the top of national polls.

Last week, The Washington Post‘s Nia-Malika Henderson reported that Romney would skip the event — and that it would be seen as a “snub.” Tea Party favorite DeMint endorsed Romney in 2008, ”but has yet to give him anything other than tepid support more recently,” Henderson wrote, even as Romney signed DeMint’s “Cut, Cap, and Balance” pledge to lower the debt.

So Romney, along with Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, attended DeMint’s little soiree. Conspicuously absent was Romney’s worst nightmare, former Democrat Rick Perry:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry surprised the organizers of today’s Palmetto Freedom Forum by withdrawing from the event just hours before it is scheduled to begin…

According to several sources familiar with events, the chairman of Perry’s campaign in South Carolina, former Republican party chief Katon Dawson, called organizers this morning to say that Perry needs to return to Texas to deal with quickly-spreading wildfires.

So did the Mittster’s flip-flop get him a fresh DeMint endorsement? Not yet, at least:

Sen. Jim DeMint… urged his supporters Monday to withhold their support from candidates and “continue to listen.”

DeMint’s comments came after he moderated a two-hour forum… in which the Greenville Republican personally questioned five of the leading GOP candidates on health care, federal spending and the national debt…

If anything, he said, the event prompted more questions for him than answers.

FIVE: Breaking: Democrat-turned-Republican Burns Ass in Series of Bizarre Flaming Trousers Incidents, Refuses Health Care

Former Democrat Rick Perry has vowed to dismantle what he and a lot of jerks in his (current) party call “ObamaCare”:

“If I’m so fortunate to be elected the president of the United States, on Day One, when I walk into the Oval Office, there will be an executive order on that desk that eliminates as much of ObamaCare that I can have done with an executive order… Now hopefully, Lord willing, the 11th Court of Appeals has already found that that individual mandate is unconstitutional, and hopefully that will be gone to the Supreme Court, and I won’t have to deal with that.”

Why does he hate “ObamaCare” so much? Maybe because he would have preferred “HillaryCare” instead:

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been among the most vocal critics of President Obama’s health care reform initiative, and of Mitt Romney’s preceding health care program in Massachusetts. But in 1993, while serving as Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Perry praised the efforts of then-first lady Hillary Clinton to reform health care, a precursor to Obama’s health care reform efforts.

In a letter to Clinton, who is now U.S. Secretary of State, Perry wrote: “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.”

Quite understandably, the Perry campaign takes umbrage at the mirth this letter has prompted:

“You need to read the letter,” top Perry political strategist Dave Carney told The Daily Caller. “He praised her efforts in trying to tackle the issue and urged her not to overlook rural Americans. The letter was at the onset of her efforts before she proposed anything. No one could have imagined the horrible monstrosity she cooked up, in fact not to be outdone until ObamaCare years later.”

And remember, kids, whenever a Republican uses the phrase “no one could have imagined” chances are the rest of the statement is a tissue of lies.

Perry also made himself look foolish on the issue of health care in 2001, when he said this in a speech at the Border Summit in Edinburg, Texas:

Legislation authored by border legislators Pat Haggerty and Eddie Lucio establishes an important study that will look at the feasibility of bi-national health insurance. This study recognizes that the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border compose one region, and we must address health care problems throughout that region. That’s why I am also excited that Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar is working on an initiative that could extend the benefits of telemedicine to individuals living on the Mexican side of the border.

What?! What the hell kind of Republican does this former Democrat think he is? In the same speech, the former Democrat also said this:

I want to extend my gratitude to our Mexican neighbors for hosting me this July as I sought to learn one of the world’s great languages, Spanish. I enjoyed your hospitality, and was grateful for your patience as I worked on my vocabulary. No longer do I refer to “la verdad” as “la verdura.”

Gracias a Dios for that, I guess. I’m becoming more and more convinced that la verdad is that former Democrat Rick Perry isn’t as smart as la verdura. Or even el arbusto, come to think of it.