In Bureaucracy, History, Politics on October 19, 2011 at 12:09 am

Anita Perry, the wealthy wife of Texas Governor–and Presidential candidate–Rick Perry, sympathizes with the plight of the unemployed.

Anita and Rick Perry

She knows what it’s like to be unemployed–because her son, Griffin, resigned from his job at Deutsche Bank to campaign for his father.

“He resigned from his job two weeks ago because he can’t go out and campaign with his father because of SEC regulations,” she said in a Pendleton, S.C. diner on October 14.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently adopted stricter rules for investment advisers undertaking political activity.

Anita Perry’s comment came in response to a question from a middle-aged voter who had lost his six-figure job and now works as a handyman.

“My son lost his job because of this administration,” she added.

Related image

Griffin Perry

Blaming the Obama administration is, of course, second-nature for those on the radical right.  Even its members who don’t believe Jesus actually lived are convinced that Obama killed him.

Anita Perry may have forgotten that, on October 13, she said that her son had eagerly resigned.

She recalled that her husband assembled the family to discuss his run for the Presidency last May.

“So, our son Griffin Perry is 28.  He loves politics, and he just couldn’t wait.  He said ‘Dad, I’m in!  I’m in!  I’ll do whatever you need me to do.  I’ll resign my job.  I’ll do what you need me to do.’” she said in a speech at North Greenville University.

Someone might have advised Mrs. Perry there is a difference between voluntarily resigning from a job and being involuntarily terminated from it.

And someone else might have consoled her with the news that, having a family fortune and the income of an attorney-wife to rely on, her son isn’t in danger of standing in a breadline anytime soon.

So why would Anita Perry stoop to mingling with those she considers her social inferiors?  And why would she pour out her woes to people she would otherwise cross the street to avoid?

Simple.  She needs them.  Or, to be more accurate: She needs their votes.

True, her husband is hauling in huge campaign donations that dwarf those of his rivals.  But money can’t vote.

And with an estimated 14 to 25 million Americans unemployed, the Perrys must reach beyond the minority of voters who would qualify for their country-club membership.

Of course, the voluntary resignation of her son isn’t the only complaint Anita Perry has to make.

“We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party,” she told a South Carolina audience on October 13.  “So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith.

“He is the only true conservative–well, there are some true conservatives.  And they’re there for good reasons.  And they may feel like God called them, too.  But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.”

Actually, it’s been Rick Perry–through his surrogate spokesman-pastor, Robert Jeffress–who has repeatedly attacked the Mormon religion of his campaign rival, Mitt Romney.

Jeffress told reporters at the Values Voter Summit in Washington he believed Mormonism was a “cult.”  While Perry has said he doesn’t agree with the charge, he has refused to repudiate the remarks–or support–of the influential Baptist pastor.

It’s the same strategy favored by demagogues like Richard Nixon: The “respectable” Nixon took the high road, while ordering his subordinate, Spiro Agnew, to attack the patriotism of anyone who dared disagree with him.

Why is all of this important?

Because the priorities of the leader of an organization usually determine the priorities of that organization.  And those prioroties, in turn, derive from the character of that leader.

As the ancient historian Plutarch observed in his biography of Alexander the Great:

“And the most glorious episodes do not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men.

“Sometimes a matter of less moment, an expression or a jest, informs us better of their characters and inclinations than the most famous sieges, the greatest armaments, or the bloodiest battles.”

So consider the character traits that Perry has so far revealed:

  • He uses surrogates to attack the religion of his opponentts.
  • He holds his own religious beliefs sacred.
  • He seeks to slash programs for the poor.
  • He piles up millions of dollars for himself.
  • His family believes he has been chosen by God to redeem the nation from becoming “soft” and “Godless.”
  • His family believes themselves entitled to ignore laws that are supposed to govern all Americans.

It’s fascinating to imagine the verdict Plutarch would deliver on American politics today.  After all, he did shrewdly analyze the ruthless political maneuverings of such despots as Alexander and Julius Caesar.

Yes, it would be fascinating.  And more than a little frightening.

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