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The power of pictures

Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This is Texas Gov. Rick Perry. A few months ago I barely knew his name and couldn’t have picked him from a crowd. Probably still couldn’t, for that matter.

But I came across this photo recently and was struck by its dynamism. Great photo. What do you think when you see it? What kind of man is this? Probably depends on whether you recognize him and what your political persuasion happens to be.

My thoughts at the time: This could be some megachurch evangelist. Slick, handsome, charismatic, oozing self-confidence. Giant gestures, fire and brimstone. Probably a deep, booming voice. Loves the limelight. Note the huge ring where most married men would wear a wedding ring, the crisp white shirt with French cuffs, the carefully coiffed hair, the glint of a highly buffed nail. I knew immediately I didn’t like this man — and that was before I knew anything about his political ideas or his record in Texas. That was before he led a giant prayer meeting/rally and reportedly did a fine job of erasing the line between church and state, politics and religion.

If you’re a Republican, you may think he’s the party’s salvation (there’s that religious stuff again). He will officially announce his candidacy Saturday, and I expect he’ll blow “Queen of Rage” Michele Bachmann right off her tea party pedestal. After today, I also expect he’ll move ahead of Mitt Romney in the standings.

Mr. Republican? Maybe not. We’ll see. After all, we are awash with candidates, even though the election is still more than 14 months away.


  1. Perry will definitely shake up the polls, but he’s entering into a race in which the Tea Party already has some less-than-flattering names for him.

    “Slick Rick” and “Gardisil Rick,” the first being more of his ability to fit whatever situation in which he wants to find himself and the second being his use of state power to force school-aged girls to get the new HPV vaccine (forced vaccinations are commonly unpopular in Tea Party circles), are just two off the top of my head.

    The general Republican Party may like him, but I guarantee that, in the long run, he will face some staunch opposition from the Tea Party just as Romney has. (As a side note, the recent news about Romney’s campaign financing could hurt him significantly enough to fall without the aid of Governor Perry).

    • The more I learn about him, the less I like him. It will be interesting to see which candidate the GOP finally unites around — assuming that’s even possible.

  2. “megachurch evangelist” sums it up pretty well for me. Hell, in that pose, I can easily imagine him yelling “Heal this man!” as he slaps some poor sucker on the forehead!

"A republic, if you can keep it." ~ Benjamin Franklin

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