August 22nd, 2011

BACK TO THE FUTURE: VDB Presents, For Your Enjoyment, Some Old But Marginally Revealing Footage of Rick Perry and Sarah Palin, In Which Perry Eats His Own Liver

by Philip Baruth

Admittedly, this is for campaign trail junkies only. But every so often an intuition you have in the past actually pans out in technicolor here and now, the present, about something tiny and seemingly inconsequential. Regardless, it satisfies your inner campaign nerd. Case in point: Back in 2008, just a few days after the McCain campaign’s collapse at the polls, Sarah Palin showed up at the National Governors’ Association, and Palinmania was still at such a pitch that the key question going in to the conference was whether or not Palin would formally address the press. For the record, she did.

But Palin and her fellow GOP governors also worked out a strategy to avoid 1) Palin looking like a diva, and 2) the utter eclipse of her senior GOP colleagues: they held a joint press conference.

Of course no one got asked any questions but Palin. And that’s fun and nostalgic and sick-making in its own way.

The really interesting thing, though, is the tell-tales on the guy standing directly to Palin’s right throughout: Texas Governor Rick Perry. Remember watching this at the time and thinking Perry was pretty overt at certain moments, not very shy about signaling that the reporters had the wrong heart-throb.

Take a look at 2:05 here, and 2:45. In both cases, you see Perry doing what Joseph Heller in Catch-22 called “eating his own liver.” In the first of those clips, he all but demands that a question go to someone else other than Palin (”Who do you want?”), and in the second, he simply boxes her out of the frame with a massive shoulder pad.

Which is choice. But ask it this way: What do you think it does to Perry to see Palin still floating this thin balloon?