Can you feel the excitement, people? It just might be possible that the 2012 GOP primary will feature a cagematch showdown between Rick Perry and Sarah Palin for the off-the-wall Tea Party constituency that can make or break a Republican candidate.
Perry's now saying he's tempted by the idea of running, and he'll consider the matter as soon as this darn legislative session is over; Palin is starting a bus tour designed to either propel her into the race or sell more books, it's hard to tell which.
Personally, we don't think either has the near-psychotic work ethic needed to run for president these days, but that makes it even better -- they just may get into the race thinking it'll be easy, and then we can all sit back and watch the implosion.
How do they stack up? let's look at five crucial categories.
5. Hating America so much they want to secede Perry: Has publicly flirted with the idea of secession. Palin: Loves the Alaska Independence Party, which wants to get the hell out of the U.S. Advantage: Republicans throw conniptions when some Hollywood actor talks about leaving the United States if one candidate or another gets elected, but they apparently can talk with impunity about such anti-American subjects as dissolving the union. Rick Perry only talked about it obliquely, though; Palin is an AIP admirer. So, if you assume that Tea Partiers hate America enough to leave it, and you should, advantage Palin.
4. Foreign policy expertise Perry: Criticized President Obama's Middle East policy on the basis of being "someone who has visited Israel numerous times." Palin: Can see Russia from her front porch, has been all but personally threatened by Russian MiGs trying to test American resolve. Advantage: There are some key things we don't know here -- what kind of package tour Perry took, and what kind of defensive firepower Palin has mounted on her front porch. A push.
3. Shooting wildlife Perry: Shot a coyote while jogging, using a laser-sighted pistol. Palin: Shoots moose from a helicopter. Advantage: In the vicious, never-ending evolutionary battle between man and animal, humankind must use every technological weapon it has in its arsenal to improve its odds.
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The idea of a laser sight on a coyote provides a nice visual: the (what we are expected to assume was a) snarling, frothing, rabies-ridden beast about to eviscerate an innocent jogger, until that fateful red dot shows up on its forehead. Or, on the other hand, being completely and utterly out of any danger at all while shooting a placid animal that is not threatening you in any way. Advantage: Palin. It takes balls to kill for no reason at all, as opposed to putting out some el lame-o "self-defense" scenario.
2. Higher Education Perry: Texas A&M; yell leader and got an animal science degree. Palin: University of Hawaii for about a semester, Hawaii Pacific University for a semester, North Idaho Community College, University of Idaho for two semesters, Matanuska-Susitna College for a semester, then back to UI for her degree in communications/journalism. Advantage: Very, very tough call. Let's call it another push.
1. Hair Perry: Look, you don't get to be known as Governor Goodhair for nothing. Palin: Paid $10,000 in 2008 campaign funds for a hairstylist. Advantage: If we go by consistency, it's got to be advantage Perry. But then again the GOP has never been big on consistency (i.e., if a Democrat does it, it's bad; if a Republican does it, it's fine), so we might just have to wait and see how this plays out on the campaign trail.
And please, Dear God, let it happen.