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Rick Perry: Texas tough

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Rick Horowitz
September 8, 2011
“Maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country.” --Rick Perry
“Because it worked so well the last time?” --Rick Horowitz

“Bring ’em on!” says the man from Texas—or was that the previous man from Texas? Whatever.


Must be something in the water. (Industrial waste?) You come out of the Lone Star State, and your default settings automatically go to Total Testosterone: You’re the long-stridin’, sun-squintin’, gun-totin’, plain-speakin’, g-droppin’, tough-as-nails, raw-as-a-rattlesnake son of the West with the sheriff’s badge and the don’t-mess-with-me jawline.


Pass the popcorn—we think we’re in love!


There’s something about a swagger, right? When times are tough—and aren’t times always tough?—we need a man who’s tough. The kind of man who takes no guff from nobody. A man’s man, not one of those namby-pamby types who wants to be “reasonable.” Who’d rather “meet you halfway.” Who prefers to “lead from behind.”


Not that we’re naming names. (But do we have to spell it out for you?)


We need a man who stands tall. A man who sits tall in the saddle. A man who’s not afraid to speak his mind, no matter what’s in it. A man who says what he thinks, even when he’s not actually thinking. If he’s got good hair, so much the better.


Comparing himself to Galileo? It takes a certain kind of confidence, even in a politician—and especially in an anti-science, climate-change-denying politician—to compare yourself to Galileo. So what if he got the comparison absolutely backwards?


Isn’t it enough that he mentioned him? Isn’t it enough that he’s got someone on his staff who’s even heard of Galileo? Anything beyond that, and he’d be one of those elites who think they’re so smart instead of the kind of leader who’s perfectly secure in his own beliefs and won’t back down just because somebody throws a pile of so-called data at him.


He knows what he knows. And he knows everything he needs to know. For everything else, he’s got people. People are for handling the details—he’s more of a big-picture guy. That’s what Texas guys are: big-picture guys. Maybe it’s the terrain out there. Maybe it’s sitting on top of a horse and wearing boots. But they don’t let themselves get bogged down in all that nitty-gritty stuff. Leaders need to be bigger than that. They need to be about values.


Here’s one of his very biggest values: If you cross him, he’ll hurt you. If you get in his way, he’ll hurt you. He can take a punch, his handlers want you to know, and he can deliver a punch, too. But he prefers delivering—he definitely prefers delivering. Soundbite for soundbite, he’s the top dog in the kennel. He’s the absolute alpha male.


The good hair is just a bonus.


He makes his bets, and then—because he’s a man’s man, a swaggery man, a Texas man—he doubles down on his bets. That’s right: He doesn’t back down, he doubles down. Try to set him back on his heels, and he’ll rip your legs off. Then he’ll have your toes for breakfast.


Isn’t that exactly the kind of man America is hungry for?


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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