Maybe one more item about the Politico e-book is overkill, but I want to highlight what Ed Kilgore says about the book’s blaring-est anecdote: Rick Perry on painkillers, messing with a rival campaign’s manager in the men’s room.
This appears to be Allen and Thomas’ central parable for the entire Perry campaign, the heavily-funded can’t-miss candidacy that allegedly ran aground because the governor came across as Bobo the Simpleminded during debates (I’d be more impressed if Allen and Thomas could specifically show the drugs convinced Perry to re-embrace college tuition benefits for the children of undocumented workers, which hurt Perry as much as any goofiness).
It’s not the central parable, but Kilgore is right: It was the issue stances that did Perry in. Check the Gallup poll of the national race. Perry peaked in the weeks after he entered. By mid-October, after he’d said opponents of tuition breaks for non-citizens “didn’t have a heart,” he was collapsing. The bathroom anecdote, the sign of alleged Perry loopiness, was from October 11, before a debate he performed adequately in. The infamous “oops” didn’t happen until he was buried about halfway up his torso.
So, back to painkillers. Which drugs did Perry take? The campaign, probably less responsive to reporter questions than any serious modern bid, didn’t say. They didn’t talk about the experimental surgery Perry underwent on his back until after the Texas Tribune broke news about it. Both the painkillers and the surgery – common procedures that countless Americans undergo – were clouded in secrecy, because of the fear that they made Perry sound goofy and weak. It’s actually an insult to the people who take painkillers and don’t turn into drooling fiends.