Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Perry's Oops Moment Might Mean for the Nation and EPA

Over the past week or so, there has been much talk about what Governor Rick Perry's oops moment might mean for his campaign.  For those unfamiliar with the situation--such as those who have just come out of a deep comma--let me briefly recap. 

In a debate a week ago Wednesday, Perry could only remember two of the three government agencies that he had proposed to eliminate.  After stumbling and fumbling to buy time, he had to admit he could not remember the third agency he would eliminate.  He ended his answer by slightly shrugging and saying "oops."  For those of you who have not seen it or for those who have the stomach to watch it again, here it is:


Many have speculated that his oops moment effectively ended Perry's chances of becoming the Republican nominee.  That probably is the case, but so what?  Perry did not have much of a chance even before this slip up.  Why?  Three reasons.  First, he was already tanking in the polls.  Second, he was unable to keep up with the other candidates in the debates.  And, third...  um... I can't remember...  (Oops.)  But, regardless, I thought his chances were slim at best. 

So to me, the most important part of this moment was not seeing Perry implode but rather seeing the other candidates respond to it.  In particularly, I wondered how Governor Mitt Romney would respond, after all he is largely considered the front runner for the nomination.

So, what was Romney's response?  In the moment, Romney tried to throw Perry a lifeline by suggesting that perhaps Perry meant EPA.  Perry tried to fake for a second that EPA was the agency he was trying to remember before admitting he could not come up with it. 

My question is, what does Romney's suggestion of EPA tell us about how Romney perceives EPA?  Maybe it says nothing, but maybe it says a lot.  Up to this point, Romney has not taken as an extreme line as some of the other candidates in opposing EPA's policies, programs, or even its existence.  While his suggestion that Perry may have meant EPA is a far cry from Romney calling for the elimination of EPA, the fact that this was the agency that came to Romney's mind is worrying to me.  As someone who cares a lot about the work EPA does, I want to avoid the situation where the nation has its own oops moment and elects a president who might support the elimination of one of its most popular agencies.

-- Brigham Daniels

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I do think Perry calling for the abolition of EPA would be something that would make him look silly, and thus make Romney look good by comparison.

Posted by: Michael Lewyn | Nov 18, 2011 6:56:43 AM

Interesting post – maybe I am completely wrong here but I took it as Romney being sarcastic, because other “extreme” candidates have called for the EPA to be abolished (Cain and Bachmann). So I thought he was jumping on the opportunity to make Perry look sillier and was doing so in a sarcastic fashion. But perhaps not!

Posted by: Blake Hudson | Nov 17, 2011 1:12:38 PM

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