We've all heard about Rick Perry's latest debate fiasco. This time, he couldn't name all three of the cabinet departments that he would cut as part of a "conservative" reform of the federal government.
Perry started out by saying he was going to list 3 agencies that should be abolished. He said "Education, Commerce" — but then spent a very long time trying to think of the third one. Another candidate suggested: "EPA." Perry jokingly said, "Yeah, the EPA." The moderator asked Perry if he seriously meant the EPA, and he said no. Finally, he admitted he just couldn't think of the rest of his message. Perry ended his segment by actually saying out loud: "Oops!"
I don't think we've grasped just how bad a mistake this was. The third department was, of course, Energy. What has been the cabinet department that is at the top of every Republican politico's list of "cabinet departments I would close?" Energy! But, Rick Perry - supposedly the guy who was going to be the conservative standard bearer - couldn't remember that.
We've learned two things about Rick Perry the last two months. First, whatever virtues he might have, quick-wittedness is not one of them. The guy just can't think on his feet in the same way that Romney, Cain, Gingrich, and even Bachmann can.
Second, and worse than that, he's just not as conservative as advertised.