Perry the Cowboy Versus Obama the Diplomat


After watching Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s debut in a presidential debate last week, one thing is clear: His tactics are almost completely the opposite of those used by President Barack Obama. 

The president is calculated, precise, and almost professorial in his rhetoric. Obama during his 2008 campaign spoke to the American people about change that would make this nation a better country and did so in such a way that relaxed most Americans. Rather than get boisterous about his slogans and platform, people say his calm, but defiant desire for progress was refreshing when compared to the same old scare tactics of elections. Rather than focus on negatively bashing Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama focused on the issues and precisely calculated when to make promises and how to shrug off pointed attacks at his relatively inexperienced political history.

Perry does not instill a sense of calm, but a sense of vigor and energy. Not a fan of debates in general, as he chose to skip them entirely in his 2010 gubernatorial race, Perry's reluctance to participate is clear. Whereas the president focuses on answering questions in a positive framework, Perry twists his responses to reflect tangential comments that he would rather talk about. He continued to stir up trouble when he unapologetically reaffirmed his belief that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme — Romney immediately chastised him for it by referencing the millions who are dependent upon it.

Perry is the classic cowboy politician, fighting tooth and nail for his beliefs and never missing an opportunity to bash his opponents back for a comment. In Perry's first presidential debate, when the moderator asked about "RomneyCare" being a great opportunity, Perry jumped in to say that it was “a great opportunity for us as a country to see what will not work.” Rather than focus on the issues from analytical standpoint, Perry does so from an emotional stance, ready to bulldoze anyone in his way.

This is a great cause of concern, as one the president’s many hats is "Chief Diplomat," a role that if Perry were to win, would lose all the finesse it requires. Every time another nation disagrees with a United States action, Obama does not call a press meeting to bash the country in return. He calmly states why that nation is wrong and explains why the United States is in the right. Perry would go after these other nations for being downright wrong.

Without recognition of mistakes, apologies, or retraction statements, Perry does not back down, he does stay strong and that is why many Americans appreciate his no nonsense attitude.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore