I have to admit, watching Rick Perry not be able to remember part 3 of an equation he has probably recited hundreds of times on the stump made me feel very sympathetic.
You see, I do this about once every three weeks, and it is always a result of my mind being three-four sentences ahead of my mouth. When any sidebar steps in I lose my place, every time.
It’s not a big deal. In fact, it’s a little deal, and anyone who understands this very normal occurrence to people who have to store up volumes of information…most of it trivia compared to the actual task of being president…will think no more of.
So, Rick Perry lost no points with me, and quite frankly, had this even occurred to someone I don’t particularly like, except maybe Obama and the Democrat leadership, I’d feel equally sympathetic.
Lessons in Media Math
But have you read today’s blogs and internet news? This incident is being spread like wildfire, but again only among a few hundred thousand wonkish readers in the morning. But by 7 PM, all the major news networks will have run their spreads and sound bytes, so then ordinary citizens around the country on the national news broadcasts will also know about this slip up in a mud hole. Now we’re up to maybe 25% in all.
Therein lies a lesson, for you see, Rick Perry’s brain lockdown tells us nothing about Rick Perry, either as a man or potential president.
But it tells us volumes about the media and blogosphere pundit-class out there, including many of whom are conservatives.
There’s a math to this drama that can help you understand everything the media does, including our own conservative media talking heads.
Imagine sitting in a school auditorium or church and a kid flubs his lines or Bible verse.
Ever see that? Ever notice how the rest of the audience sort of stirs restlessly in their seats, with low murmurs, til finally, after 10-15 seconds that seems like a Methodist stem-winder, the kid gets an off-stage cue which brings him back to his part, and he finishes his lines?
The kid is mortified, which lasts about a day. Locks himself in the room at night, then a little teasing at school next day.
But notice how no one in the audience just breaks out into a belly laugh…you know, because it’s not their kid, but someone else’s poor kid? This is because a version of the Golden Rule applies here, “Wish unto others as you would have them wish unto you.”
My point is, who is being judged here is not Rick Perry, but the audience. In particular, our audience of conservatives.
So if you didn’t know, most of the audience to the live presentation of last night’s CNBC debate were in fact members of the media and pundit class. More ordinary Americans, ordinary Republicans, ordinary conservatives and ordinary likely-Perry voters were all watching the Bones marathon on channel 47.
Not a lot of people saw it.
Now, I can understand the leftwing media, who’re all rooting for Romney anyway, and the RINO media, who make up (tops) 25% of the Republican electorate, wanting to crow about Perry’s little misstep, and try to turn it into a big stumble.
By why would conservatives, who make up the only voting bloc large enough to take down Obama in anything resembling a landslide? I can see no profit in Herman Cain’s people guffawing over Rick Perry’s bad luck here any more than I can find in Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann and Perry making sport over that leftwing-planted cross burning in Herman Cain’s front yard right now.
Now I’m not naming names as I looked at Drudge only. But a lot of Perry pundits will likely be backing water right now for probably only one reason, which involves the one compelling rule of almost all the media, and that is:
What will my colleagues think if I still hang with Rick Perry?
Rick Perry has embarrassed them. Much of the “Perry showed his behind” literature today will come from conservatives who are looking over their shoulders wondering who will be sniggering at them if they come to Perry’s defense and hold to Perry as their man.
So yes, it’s true, the media class is not composed of real men, for the most part.
It is to protect themselves that most media feeding frenzies are born, and as both Herman Cain and Rick Perry can attest, truth, fact, or common sense dare not get in the way.
Don’t worry, Rick Perry will be back. He’s not my No 1, but he will make a fine president, and nothing he’s done lately minimizes that fact.