Rick Perry Playing The Sarah Palin “Victim Card”

Rick Perry seems to be picking up where Sarah Palin left off.

Rick Perry told an Iowa newspaper that he blamed the media for the controversy that erupted over a rock near his hunting lodge that contained a racially divisive word:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that “media elites” are trying to portray him as a racist in a controversy over a slur against blacks that was painted on a rock near the entrance of his family’s hunting camp in Texas, according to a lengthy interview with the Republican presidential candidate published in the Des Moines Register.

“I think a lot of people get offended when the media elites try to paint everyone from the South who has a twang to their voice as somehow being racist,” Perry told the newspaper. “I’m very proud of my record dealing with not only that rock. When my family had the opportunity to paint over that word on the rock, we did it. I’m very proud of how we have dealt with the issue of racial diversity in the state of Texas, having appointed more qualified minorities than any governor in Texas history, including the first African-American to the Texas Supreme Court.”

That same kind of “woe is me, the poor victim” mentality can be seen in remarks by Perry’s wife Anita, who is taking a more public role in the campaign up until now:

An emotional Anita Perry reflected on the “rough month” she and her husband, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have endured on the campaign trail in a speech Thursday focused largely on faith.

The Texas first lady weaved together religion and politics in a speech at North Greenville University, characterizing her husband’s decision to seek the presidency in August as a calling from God. Perry suggested her husband was being targeted for his evangelical Christian faith.

“It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today,” she said. “We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith. He is the only true conservative – well, there are some true conservatives. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.”

This strikes me as the same kind of victimization meme that we used to see from Sarah Palin all the time. Like Palin, Perry is portraying himself as put upon by a “media elite” out to destroy him. Add in Anita Perry’s comments, and you get this image of Perry as the put-upon man of faith, and the only true conservative, being “brutalized” by the press and his party.

I refuse to believe that these are just coincidental comments from the candidate and his wife. These mentality of victimization, not to mention a disdain for the “MSM.” as most of them refer to the media, is something that seems to run pretty strong in conservative circles these days. The entire movement seems to see itself as put-upon and subject to conspiracies coming from all sides, and when something bad happens to the likes of Sarah Palin it’s viewed as evidence of some conspiracy against her when in reality it’s usually just the media repeating exactly what she said. Whether Perry believes this nonsense or not, he sure seems to be making an effort to appeal to it, and his wife is doing an excellent job of sending along the “Don’t Forget Romney is a Mormom” dog whistle for good measure.

Will it be enough to get the right to give him a second look? Only time will tell.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    It isn’t the dress that makes you look fat dear, it’s your fat ass.

  2. Doug,

    Please focus. Please think about the country. Please think about reality. According to Pugh Research report the media’s slant on stories is the inverse of the American public. While only 35% of Americans consider themselves to be “left of center” in their political views, over 70% of major media employees interview considered themselves “left of center.”
    The reality of the situation is we have a filter on events and the people associated to them which is reflective of a “left of center” perspective.
    As a result, we have a government that is brokering away American assets, interests and opportunity.
    Even the people of Germany knew they had made a mistake after Hitler gained power. He being a man who embraced mysticism, genocide and totalitarianism, saw “Socialism” as a way to mask his message and appeal to the middle.
    Perry is simply stating the obvious, and he too needs to focus on what’s at stake.
    Blessings,
    Media Yin Yang

  3. Restless says:

    So, God has allegedly called on Rick Perry, Herman Cain and I assume Michele Bachmann.
    I guess the Supreme Being is a low bidder. Never would’ve guessed.

  4. James H says:

    Even the people of Germany knew they had made a mistake after Hitler gained power.

    Second comment. Is that a Godwin’s record?

  5. @Editor & Chief:

    Don’t like a particular media outlet?

    Well, there’s this button on your remote control that can help with that. It’s labeled “Off”

  6. Hey Norm says:

    I have to say though…in Perry’s defense…that I never thought there was much to the rock story to begin with.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    When did the “liberal media” mantra really begin? Was it during Clinton years? Bush the II?

    It seems to me that conservatives need to label the media as big, bad liberals as a fail safe. Right now they can control the House yet blame Obama for too much spending, and control the Supreme Court, yet blame Obama for overreach.

    What happens when they have the Senate, House, Presidency, and Supreme Court under their control, and there is no one else to blame?

    Like cavalry in old western films, here comes the “liberal” media to take all the blame!

  8. Rob in CT says:

    Oh, the poor dear. Where’s that violin…

    I agree with Norm about the Niggerhead thing. Ta-Nehise Coates nailed that, I think. He basically said “it doesn’t tell us much about Rick Perry. It does tell us something about our country and its history.”

  9. Rob in CT says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I remember it clearly during the 90s. My dad used to listen to Rush a lot back then. It goes back at least to Clinton.

  10. mattb says:

    @Editor & Chief:

    According to Pugh Research report the media’s slant on stories is the inverse of the American public. While only 35% of Americans consider themselves to be “left of center” in their political views, over 70% of major media employees interview considered themselves “left of center.”

    Pugh? Do you mean Pew?

    And can you provide a link to where those statistics come from? The best I could find was this:
    http://www.journalism.org/node/2304
    Which contra your point notes that in 2002 40% of Journalists self identify as left-of-center.

    As far as the general population numbers, I think the year (2002) has a lot to do with the low accounting of left leaners. Note that Pew’s more recent work shows the numbers far more balanced in terms of right/left:
    http://www.people-press.org/2011/05/04/beyond-red-vs-blue-the-political-typology/

    But feel free to not let those “facts” get in the way of your comparing the current administration/MSM to Nazi’s.

  11. MM says:

    @mattb:

    Which contra your point notes that in 2002 40% of Journalists self identify as left-of-center.

    As far as the general population numbers, I think the year (2002) has a lot to do with the low accounting of left leaners. Note that Pew’s more recent work shows the numbers far more balanced in terms of right/left:

    I think there’s some data that says that journalists give money to Democrats at a greater clip, but even if I were a centrist or a right-leaning journalist, I wouldn’t be inclined to send money to candidates who demonize me constantly.

    The bigger picture though is that the GOP default answer to ANY criticism is to play the victim. Heck, Bryan Fischer (who claims that Mitt Romney doesn’t deserve the same constitutional rights as a mainline Christian) played victim after Romney gave him a very gentle rebuke.

  12. Ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson: On November 13, 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew became a household word when he vehemently denounced television news broadcasters as a biased “unelected elite” who subjected President Richard M. Nixon’s speeches to instant analysis. The president had a right to communicate directly with the people, Agnew asserted, without having his words “characterized through the prejudices of hostile critics.” Agnew raised the possibility of greater government regulation of this “virtual monopoly,” a suggestion that the veteran television newscaster Walter Cronkite took as “an implied threat to freedom of speech in this country.”
    http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/VP_Spiro_Agnew.htm

  13. Ernieyeball says:

    Apparently Spiro did not think citizens knew how to turn off the TV when the speech ended.
    Of course only rich folk had remote control in those days. The “Silent Majority” actually had to get up off the couch to change the channel!

  14. @MM: Donations to candidates from reporters is an extremely flawed methodology to use since most newspapers specifically prohibit such donations.

  15. sam says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    When did the “liberal media” mantra really begin? Was it during Clinton years? Bush the II?

    Yeah, Ernie’s right. The right’s war against the lamestream media probably dates from Nixon. Pop quiz: who minted the phrase ‘nattering nabobs of negativism’? Double points for pointing out the irony.

    Speaking of irony, Nixon was the last great liberal president (if you go by legislation passed).

  16. Eric Florack says:

    @Hey Norm: If you didn’t think there was much story there to begin with, isn’t that a fair clue tthat Perry’s complaint is a valid one?

  17. george says:

    The most interesting thing is that progressives and conservatives agree that:

    1) The media is a single entity with a uniform bias (they disagree on which way the bias goes, but that’s arguing about details).

    2) The average person isn’t intelligent enough to recognise media biases (as opposed to themselves, who are intelligent enough not to be fooled).

    3) The average person believes everything they’re told by this uniform, monolithic entity known as the media (a fate which they’re saved from sharing due to their superior intelligence).

    To a large extent, progressives and conservatives alike see themselves as the intelligent few who have to guide the gullible (if not downright stupid) masses to the truth, fighting the evil, monolithic media (sort of like Sauron on steroids I think) every step of the way.

    I have to admit, I don’t know anyone who believes much of what they see in the media … perhaps partly because of the Internet, but I think more because people are just cynical. Which also explains election turn outs … now around 60% in both the US and Canada, and dropping.

  18. mattb says:

    @george:
    Nice points and I think true for the most part. An sadly that resembled me for most of my 20’s.

    My issue isn’t with conservatives or conservatism. It’s with brain-dead individuals (and I’m not talking about the general public here). What I mean are the people you describe. And typically those are the folks who have the great epiphanies and radically switch sides. The problem is that regardless of if they’re conservative or liberal, they display exactly the same bias to actual facts (especially those that contradict their carefully constructed models).

  19. mattb says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I agree with Norm about the Niggerhead thing. Ta-Nehise Coates nailed that, I think. He basically said “it doesn’t tell us much about Rick Perry. It does tell us something about our country and its history.”

    While I agree in general with you two and Coates, the problem is that the vast majority of Perry’s Conservative cred comes from how he draws a direct connection to that history.

  20. doubter4444 says:

    @sam:
    William Safire

  21. doubter4444 says:

    And the irony is that he was a columnist for the NT Times for ever.
    His on language was fantastic. I miss it.

  22. MM says:

    @Timothy Watson: I would agree with you. However the evidence given that journalists are more liberal than a similar cross section of society tends to boil down to:

    1.) Self identification (which is inaccurate)

    2.) Donations (which as you noted is not always permitted and further weakens the sample size)

    3.) Spluttering and saying “isn’t it obvious?”

  23. jan says:

    @Editor & Chief:

    Please think about reality. According to Pugh Research report the media’s slant on stories is the inverse of the American public.

    This is pretty much ‘understood’ by the public. Not only do candidates and their wife’s talk about media bias, but so does much of the mainstream public, which is why media outlets such as FOX have such a following. People are looking for a counter balance to what the majority of the MSM is writing and exhorting through their news segments.

    Just look at Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the Gibson Guitar debacle, some of Libya’s missteps, even the failure of Obama’s AJA, in which you had to really look for the breakdown of what the final Senate count was. Now had this bill passed, with a handful of R Senators voting for it, the MSM meme would have been something like, “…broad bipartisan support for Obama’s Job Bill.” But when it failed, with a handful of D’s voting against it, the headlines were softened, if not missing altogether. Certainly the list of news Items I mentioned above have gotten attention from the media. However, if it had been under a ‘Bush” regime the coverage would have been much more sensational, detailed and frequenting the front page, being the #1 lead story on the evening news as much as tolerated.

    Even this OWS movement is being met by enormous coverage by the media with only superficial research as to their derivations. I saw this Reuters story somewhere today. But, it is one of the few even speculating about the origins of the OWS protests.

    Soros and the protesters deny any connection. But Reuters did find indirect financial links between Soros and Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada which started the protests with an inventive marketing campaign aimed at sparking an Arab Spring type uprising against Wall Street. Moreover, Soros and the protesters share some ideological ground.

    Most of the MSM coverage only throws out insinuations that OWS is against Wall Street, ergo is tied to business-backing republicans, and therefore is a counter movement to the teas, who are associated with the R’s. That circular thought pattern really has flaws in it. However, it is rarely refuted from the liberal media caldron reporting their street observations which are then reformatted in their opinion pieces.

    As for Perry and his wife being victims….most people joining the ranks of public personalities become vulnerable to assaults on their character, their values, misinterpretation of their words and past events in their lives. It becomes a sordid experience to volunteer for the public service gauntlet, these days. Obama has suffered it, albeit less than an R would have had to endure, and has shown his thin skin, by some of his retorts. And, now the Perrys’ are reacting to this invasion and distortion of their lives. I empathize with all of them. But, no one forced them into the arena. They are not like the Slaves and Gladiators of the past. So, they either have to grow some calluses or get out.

  24. sam says:

    @doubter4444:

    Points, and points, and points, d444man. Yeah, On Language was a treat.

  25. sam says:

    @jan:

    Most of the MSM coverage only throws out insinuations that OWS is against Wall Street, ergo is tied to business-backing republicans, and therefore is a counter movement to the teas, who are associated with the R’s. That circular thought pattern really has flaws in it.

    You got that right. And then some.

  26. David M says:

    The media (CNN/NBC/ABC/CBS/etc) is lazy if anything, and quick to unquestioningly accept most conservative nonsense. Fox is no different than the official GOP television station, there is no liberal equivalent.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    This is pretty much ‘understood’ by the public. Not only do candidates and their wife’s talk about media bias, but so does much of the mainstream public, which is why media outlets such as FOX have such a following. People are looking for a counter balance to what the majority of the MSM is writing and exhorting through their news segments.

    How appropriate on a thread about whining about victimization…

  28. Fiona says:

    I’m not sure how well Perry’s whining is going to play with the public. It works for Palin on some level because of gender, but to see Perry’s wife out there complaining that other candidates were picking on her husband during the debates and that the media is against him because of his religion might reflect negatively on his manhood. Do we really want Perry the Pussy for president?