Theodore's World: Superman vs. Warm Body ~ A Must Read About Rick Perry!!!

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September 27, 2011

Superman vs. Warm Body ~ A Must Read About Rick Perry!!!

Superman vs. Warm Body

By Thomas Sowell

One of the problems in trying to select a leader for any large organization or institution is the tendency to start out looking for Superman, passing up many good people who fail to meet that standard, and eventually ending up settling for a warm body.

Some Republicans seem to be longing for another Ronald Reagan. Good luck on that one, unless you are prepared to wait for several generations. Moreover, even Ronald Reagan himself did not always act like Ronald Reagan.

The current outbreak of "gotcha" attacks on Texas Governor Rick Perry show one of the other pitfalls for those who are trying to pick a national leader. The three big sound-bite issues used against him during the TV "debates" have involved Social Security, immigration and a vaccine against cervical cancer.

Where these three issues have been discussed at length, whether in a few media accounts or in Governor Perry's own more extended discussions in an interview on Sean Hannity's program, his position was far more reasonable than it appeared to be in either his opponents' sound bites or even in his own abbreviated accounts during the limited time available in the TV "debate" format.

On Social Security, Governor Perry was not only right to call it a "Ponzi scheme," but was also right to point out that this did not mean welshing on the government's obligation to continue paying retirees what they had been promised.

Even those of us who still disagree with particular decisions made by Governor Perry can see some of those decisions as simply the errors of a decent man who realized that he was faced not with a theory but with a situation.

For example, the ability to save young people from cervical cancer with a stroke of a pen was a temptation that any decent and humane individual would find hard to resist, even if Governor Perry himself now admits to second thoughts about how it was done.

Many of us can agree with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's contention that it should have been done differently. But it reflects no credit on her to have tried to scare people with claims about the dangers of vaccination. Such scares have already cost the lives of children who have died on both sides of the Atlantic from diseases that vaccination would have prevented.

The biggest mischaracterization of Governor Perry's position has been on immigration. The fact that he has more confidence in putting "boots on the ground" along the border, instead of relying on a fence that can be climbed over or tunneled under where there is no one around, is a logistical judgment, not a question of being against border control.

Texas Rangers have already been put along the border to guard the border where the federal government has failed to guard it. Former Senator Rick Santorum's sound-bite attempts to paint Governor Perry as soft on border control have apparently been politically successful, judging by polls. But his repeated interrupting of Perry's presentation of his case during the recent debate is the kind of cheap political trick that contributes nothing to public understanding and much to public misunderstanding.

Those of us who disagree with Governor Perry's decision to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend the state colleges and universities, under the same terms as Texas citizens, need at least to understand what his options were. These were children who were here only because of their parents' decisions and who had graduated from a Texas high school.

Governor Perry saw the issue as whether these children should now be allowed to continue their education, and become self-supporting taxpayers, or whether Texas would be better off with a higher risk of those young people becoming dependents or worse. I still see Governor Perry's decision as an error, but the kind of error that a decent and humane individual would be tempted to make.

I have far more questions about those who would blow this error up into something that it is not. Error-free leaders don't exist — and we don't want to end up settling for a warm body.

Ultimately, this is not about Governor Perry. It is about a process that can destroy any potential leader, even when the country needs a new leader with a character that the "gotcha" attackers demonstrate they do not have.

To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is

Wild Thing's comment.......

I thought this was an excellent article by Sowell on Perry.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 27, 2011 02:47 AM


Thomas Sowell not only possesses remarkable intelligence but also a keen common sense. When this man speaks, I always listen.

Posted by: BobF at September 27, 2011 07:33 AM

Excellent article. Thomas Sowell articulates what I think, but can't put into sensible words. Just consider what better shape our economy would be in if Thomas Sowell or his buddy Walter Williams was TreasSec instead of Geitner or Fed Reserve Chairman instead of Ben Bernanke.

I am sticking with my support of Rick Perry unless something really big occurs to change my mind. As Sowell so well points out, the "blemishes" of Perry's are blown out of proportion and are mainly the result of a decent man trying to do the right thing. I really like Sarah Palin, but if she was to enter the race I would still stick with Perry. Sarah has become too much of a reality show "celebrity". Chris Christie - hell No.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at September 27, 2011 11:24 AM

Bob, I agree, he is always worth reading. Our local paper is very liberal but they do one good thing and they do have his column thank goodness.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 28, 2011 02:13 AM

Tom, me too, I am a Perry girl, I agree he is not perfect, but none of them are and he is so close to what I want to see as President.

I agree with the rest you said too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 28, 2011 02:15 AM