8 Things We've Learned From Rick Perry


Monday, Rick Perry announced he wouldn't be running for governor again, putting an end to his record as Texas' longest serving governor. For many, this is the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel. To celebrate, here's a look back at what the good governor has taught us over his 13 years.

1. Being gay is like being an alcoholic

In 2008 Rick Perry wrote a book that pretty much no one read, except his diehard supporters — and, I should add, me. But I'm sure I had a different motivation.

His thoughts on homosexuality are well documented, but no one can create an analogy like Texas' top guy: 

"Even if an alcoholic is powerless over alcohol once it enters his body, he still makes a choice to drink. And, even if someone is attracted to a person of the same sex, he or she still makes a choice to engage in sexual activity with someone of the same gender."

2. Three is really hard to count to

In the presidential debate on Nov. 9, 2011, Rick Perry told the audience he really wanted to get rid of three government agencies. One of the most painful moments in debate history then exploded in the faces of television audiences everywhere: 

"I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the — what's the third one there? Let's see… The third agency of government I would — I would do away with, Education, the…," Perry continued to try and find his answer. "Commerce," an unknown voice volunteered, according to the debate transcript. "Commerce and, let's see," Perry answered. "I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops."

3. Texans want someone who shoots things

Texans really don't care about governing, what that really care about is how accurately you can aim at that coyote on your morning jog. Or so Perry said in his 2010 book Fed Up.

"Texans, on the other hand, elect folks like me — you know the type, the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights, loaded with hollow point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter's dog." 

4. Turkey is in the Middle East, so it must be full of terrorists

In the GOP presidential primary debate in South Carolina, Perry decided it would be a good time to give Turkey, a long-time NATO member and critical U.S. ally, a little kick in the pants:

“Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then, yes. Not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.”

The comment turned into a mini-scandal, with Turkish politicians immediately denouncing him, and Mustafa Akyol, a columnist with the English-language Hurriyet Daily news, calling him "an idiot." 

5. Geography: It's hard

In February 2011, Rick Perry declared Juarez, Mexico, "the most dangerous city in America." Then, in a Q&A later that year, Perry mixed up Iran and Iraq. He corrected himself after the audience shouted the correct country at him. But that wasn't the last of his geographical woes. Speaking at a Faith and Family Coalition conference earlier this year, Perry lamented, "I fear where we’ve come to in America, where our administration won’t make one phone call to save our men and women in a embassy in Lebanon." 

Lebanon, Libya. Same thing. 

6. What's the voting age again?

At a New Hampshire town hall meeting in November 2011, Perry appealed to legal voters — legal as in, you can now drink legally at bars. Because if you are going to vote for Perry, won't you need to? 

“Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12, I ask for your support,” Perry said, eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd. "Those who won’t be, just work hard. Because you’re ... counting on us.”

7. The gays are oppressed, just like those Christian kids at school

In one of the most poorly received political advertisements ever, Rick Perry declared, “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Within hours, the video had garnered thousands of dislikes. I'd post the funniest comments on the video here, but the Perry campaign disabled them. It looks like they knew what they were in for. But hey! Someone has to stand up for those Christian school children who can't say Merry Christmas to each other! 

8. Teen moms just don't get it

In the midst of Texas' current debate on abortion, Perry decided it was high time to lob a personal attack at State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), the pink-shoed woman that filibustered Texas' abortion bill. At a pro-life conference outside of Dallas in late June, Perry said: 

"Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. The daughter of a single mother, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."

Even Perry's Republican allies slammed him for this one, as they should have.