Robots, No; Serious People, Yes

Unlike the head of the Pennsylvania GOP, I’m not afraid of a Texas candidate with a style of folksy flair. However, there is such a thing as taking the folksy thing a bit too far when a candidate not only reveals ignorance, but defends that ignorance as something the American people want. If we were talking about ignorance of something like an obscure genre of literature, yeah, most voters could give a damn about a what a presidential candidate knows. If we’re talking about the nine current members of the Supreme Court, uh, that’s just a tad more important.

“I don’t have memorized all of the Supreme Court judges,” Perry said on “Fox News Sunday,” responding to a question about a Des Moines Register interview he did last week when he referred to the eight justices of the high court. After the interview, the campaign said Perry was referring to a specific case that went 8-to-1 in a direction Perry didn’t agree with.

The American people “aren’t looking for a robot that can spit out the name of every Supreme Court justice or someone that’s going to be perfect in every way. They’re looking for somebody who’s got values,” Perry said.

I think it’s a bit appalling that he just called all of us who can name all nine justices robots. And, no, I don’t want a robot in the Oval Office. I do want a leader who understands that regardless of what pro-gun legislation he/she might sign or anti-gun legislation to be vetoed, the most important Second Amendment decisions he/she will likely make will be in a Supreme Court appointment and any federal bench appointments. Knowing the nine sitting justices is a reasonable measure that one takes the Court seriously.

As a side note, I think the campaign’s spin for Perry is actually worse than what he said. They claim he just couldn’t remember how the justices fell in a case on which he held an opinion strong enough to make it a campaign issue. If the case is that important, shouldn’t Perry know the justice who stood with his position which would, by default, give him the names of the eight who voted against his position?

6 thoughts on “Robots, No; Serious People, Yes”

  1. Betcha he can name every bigoted fundamentalist fruit-loop personality south of the North Pole, though.

  2. He’s done. Lost me with this miss. I can forgive a lot of things, but not knowing only 9 members of the third branch isn’t one of them. I am afraid to say I am falling for Newt! God forgive me!!

  3. I would never be able to name all nine SCOTUS justices off the top of my head when there are tv cameras pointed at me. My ability to recall things from memory is bad enough under the best of circumstances. Then again I’m not running for president.

    Rick Perry is a flaming jackass of the highest order. And the fact that he’s even more retarded than George Bush isn’t even the main reason….

  4. On the one hand, I can see that being able to name all the Supreme Court Justices is a wonderful thing. I admire and respect anyone who can do it, but I have no particular desire to join their number. A lot of people look at the supremes as if they are the one magic bullet that can wipe away decades of creeping decline. They aren’t. (We are – or we might be, if we are up to the job.) Any solution won’t come from the top down.

    As to qualifications for the presidency, I can think of nothing more irrelevant. The president sets policy, decides on strategy, and other big-picture concerns. Once he is elected, if he doesn’t have a minion whispering in his ear to tell him who each visitor is, and where they’re from, well, that would be evidence of poor planning, which might be a legitimate cause for concern.

    I couldn’t care less how well anybody scores in a name dropping contest, or a spelling bee. For me, I am keeping an open mind. I am pretty sure who I am going to vote against. The crew that put Fast and Furious together needs to be expelled, and hopefully incarcerated.

    1. “…I have no particular desire to join their number.”

      That’s fantastic as long as you’re not planning to run for President. I don’t understand how you consider a very basic knowledge of Supreme Court irrelevant to a candidate’s qualifications. It’s part of their job to nominate justices, and it’s one of the few things a President will do that can truly have a lasting impact. Laws are overturned easily by either the courts or another Congress. Supreme Court decisions are often quite long-lasting. I would call that fairly big picture.

      I agree that whoever is in the Oval Office should be relying heavily on aides who are able to specialize their knowledge. Any candidate who pretends they actually have all the answers is dangerous. But when Perry himself introduced the discussion that a SCOTUS case was important to him, yet he couldn’t name the person who sided with his view and those who sided against him, he just undermined his entire point that it was an important issue to him. While surrounding himself with smarter people is a good thing, not having a basic understanding of the issues he claims are important is a very bad thing.

      Learning the names of only nine men and women who will act as a check on the executive branch (in theory) is not a matter of name dropping or as inconsequential as a spelling bee. It’s actually a fairly important thing for a presidential candidate to know. If you’re not a presidential candidate, then I agree that it’s far less relevant in your life.

  5. How many cabinet positions do you think Perry could name? Does anyone seriously think he knows how many there are? I could take his mantra of dismantling the federal bureaucracy more seriously if I thought he had the slightest idea what any of it actually does. Not knowing there are 9 SCOTUS judges, let alone not knowing who they are and specifically how they have voted on benchmark cases, is like a CEO not knowing what product his company makes.

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