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Is This Rick Perry’s Howard Dean Moment – And The End Of Rick Perry?

by David Badash on October 31, 2011

in News,Politics

Post image for Is This Rick Perry’s Howard Dean Moment – And The End Of Rick Perry?

Is Rick Perry’s possibly intoxicated address to New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Action his “Howard Dean moment,” and the end of his campaign?

Rick Perry addressed the ultra-conservative (and virulently anti-gay) advocacy group Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire this weekend and offered up for pundits and prognosticators alike his Howard Dean moment. Perry, as evidenced in the video below, addressed the crowd and appeared drunk. Mark Halperin in Time Magazine called it, “Rick Perry Unplugged and Loose.” Alexander Burns at Politico called the Perry speech “bizarre.”  Gawker asked, “Just How Drunk Is Rick Perry in This Video?“, while Mother Jones queried if this was “the Weirdest Rick Perry Speech Ever?” And wondering if the Texas Governor were “plastered,” Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs wrote, “Rick Perry was either in a very giddy mood due to exhaustion, or in serious need of a designated driver. You decide.”

John Ward at The Huffington Post called Perry’s performance “unusually expressive,” and added the comment, “It was different,” from Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

Is this the end of Rick Perry for President? After flip-flops and gaffes galore, can anyone — even a Texas Evangelical — survive delivering an apparently intoxicated speech, rife with questionable comments and unquestionably unpresidential behavior? Howard Dean’s presidential aspirations met the Angel of Death after “The Dean Scream.” Surely, this pixelated, punch-drunk Perry is worse. America couldn’t forgive a candidate who displayed too much enthusiasm, surely it cannot forgive one who displayed a total lack of discretion and self control?

For context, let’s compare Perry’s 25 minute, “bizarre,” speech, to Howard Dean’s “Dean Scream.” Also via Wikipedia:

On January 19, 2004, Dean’s campaign suffered a staggering blow when a last-minute surge by rivals John Kerry and John Edwards led to a disappointing third-place finish for Dean in the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses, representing the first votes cast in primary season. Dean’s public address that night was widely rebroadcast and portrayed as a media gaffe that ended his campaign.

Dean, who had been suffering with a severe bout of the flu for several days, attended a post-caucus rally for his volunteers at the Val-Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Iowa and delivered his concession speech, aimed at cheering up those in attendance. Dean was shouting over the cheers of his enthusiastic audience, but the crowd noise was being filtered out by his unidirectional microphone, leaving only his full-throated exhortations audible to the television viewers. To those at home, he seemed to raise his voice out of sheer emotion. Additionally, Dean began his speech with a flushed-red face, clenching his teeth as he rolled up his sleeves.

According to a Newsday Editorial written by Verne Gay, some members of the television audience criticized the speech as loud, peculiar, and unpresidential. In particular, this quote from the speech was aired repeatedly in the days following the caucus:

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York … And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!

Senator Harkin was on stage with Dean, holding his suit jacket. This final “Yeah!” with its unusual tone that Dean later said was due to the cracking of his hoarse voice, has become known in American political jargon as the “Dean Scream” or the “I Have A Scream” speech.

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