Perry's way 

Andy Warhol predicted that everyone would get to be famous for 15 minutes. In the Republican presidential race, everyone gets to be the media's darling for 15 minutes.

The commentators loved Michele Bachmann at first, assuring readers and viewers that she was not really the flake that her comments made her seem, but she was truly photogenic, and greatly impressing political experts, such as themselves.

Then Rick Perry rode in, and it was adios, Michele. Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos spent a broadcast gushing over the new candidate, and how he'd swooped in and taken Bachmann's supporters away from her. (They didn't explain that other things being equal, the fanatic fundamentalist vote will always go to a male candidate over a female. God made one sex superior, after all.)

Since Perry's been exposed in televised debates as a slow thinker, if thinker at all, the TV pundits are calling for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race, praising him for his tough "Move your ass" talk and for being fat. ("Why now?" Mike Huckabee must be asking.)

But unlike Bachmann, Perry's still in contention — George Bush without the winsomeness — and if he's unable to state his positions orally, he or an aide managed to get them down on paper in his book, "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington." They're worth knowing.

He's really fed up — had it to here — with the United States Constitution. Most presidential candidates profess some fondness for it; Perry wants pretty much a total makeover. He'd repeal the 16th Amendment, which permits the people to elect their own United States senators. He'd rather the state legislatures do it. Giving the people a voice in democracy is dangerous business. He'd also do away with the 17th Amendment, which allows for the income tax, the tax that asks rich people to pay their fair share of the cost of government. Don't they suffer enough already?

He'd let Congress override the Supreme Court — what is fair and just would be replaced by what is politically popular — and he'd abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges, so that those who made disagreeable decisions, like permitting black children to attend school with whites, could be gotten rid of.

He'd add an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, in all 50 states, and another banning abortion nationwide. He once would have left these matters to the individual states, like a conservative, but now he wants to expand the powers of the central government, like the right-wing preachers he cultivates and resembles. It's tempting to say of Perry "All hat and no cattle," but he'd never cover that 'do with a hat.


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