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Rick Perry’s Rock of Rages

 

Texas governor Rick Perry might have been weakened as a presidential candidate by a few poor debate performances, but he’s still a top-tier candidate.  You can tell, because the Washington Post took the time to put together a “racism” hit piece and drop it on him over the weekend.  They don’t put that kind of effort into slandering Rick Santorum.  Sorry, Rick.

The Post brought us the tale of a hunting camp owned by Perry’s family, which was given a racially insensitive name by “ranchers who once grazed cattle” there, “well before Perry and his father, Ray, began hunting there in the early 1980s.”  The Post notes ominously that “some locals still call it that,” presumably because Rick Perry is not enlightened enough to hunt every last one of them down and punch him in the nose.  It should be noted that Washington Post slander artist Stephanie McCrummen feels free to use this unfortunate name repeatedly during the article.

What follows is five pages of the Washington Post struggling mightily to smear Perry as a racist, or at least indifferent to racism, based on exactly when the rock bearing this offensive name was obscured.  The Post went as far as submitting “two rounds of detailed, written questions” about this rock to Perry, whose initial “simple” answer wasn’t good enough, so he offered “a more detailed account”:

“My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984,” Perry wrote. “This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.”

“Ever since, any time I ever saw the rock it was painted over,” Perry said.

The Perry campaign further pointed out, after the Washington Post published its story, that Rick Perry was only a party to the lease from 1997 to 2007, and Perry has not personally visited the property since 2006.  The land is currently owned by a charity called the Hendricks Home for Children.

The Post hangs its entire story on finding seven people who say they saw the rock painted with the offensive camp name during the 80s and 90s, including a single ranch hand who thinks he saw it in 2008. 

None of these people actually connects the Rock of Rages to Perry himself.  They’re not alleging that he brought them out to the property to have a few beers and laugh at the crude racial slur painted on a rock generations ago.  The implication is that Perry’s family kinda sorta knew it was there, and didn’t take sufficiently vigorous steps to get rid of it.

The Post is trying to inject Perry with the timed-release poison of “insensitivity,” which develops into full-blown “troubling questions” after it saturates the media bloodstream.  This is a textbook example of a non-story, cultivated with gigantic amounts of effort – how many people do you suppose the Post had to interview before it found that ranch hand?  The story purports to be “based on interviews with more than two dozen peope.”  Something tells me that doesn’t mean “25 or 26 people.”

This is all pretty rich coming from a media organ that had no serious questions about Barack Obama’s claim that he parked himself in a church run by a foaming-at-the-mouth racist for thirty years, and didn’t hear a word that was said.  Big Government claims today that it has photos of Barack Obama campaigning with the New Black Panthers in 2007.  That’s not just profoundly “insensitive” behavior from our famously post-racial President – it’s directly relevant to the Administration’s abuse of power in crushing an investigation of Black Panther voter intimidation.

But never mind that – a handful of mostly anonymous sources claim that Perry might not have acted quickly enough to paint over a racial epithet written on a rock!  One of these anonymous folks even claims to have anticipated that the rock would embarrass Perry someday.  How prescient!

Sadly, presidential candidate Herman Cain took the Washington Post’s slander bait, castigating Perry over a story he should have known better than to trust:

If Cain thinks he’ll be immune to the atmosphere of racial tension the mainstream media is trying to ratchet up on Obama’s behalf, he’s mistaken.  The dim-bulb version of the “racist” slander against Cain has already been previewed by Janine Garofalo: he’s a stooge the Tea Party uses to hide its unspeakable racist evil. 

The Post hit piece is even more of a slam against Texas than against Perry personally.  It’s a long story exploring the “multi-dimensional” climate of racial segregation that supposedly corrupted adult Texans in their youth, peppered with sinister hints that it might not have fully dispersed yet.  The background implications of greater and deeper “hidden truth” is what keeps the best slander alive, even after its thinly-sourced central allegations have been debunked.  

 

Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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