I grow weary of so frequently having to say the words, "I am not making this up," while discussing the 2012 Republican field.
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Listening to the hopefuls explain how their current philosophy has matured or how it differs from their views in earlier times has become a matter of course.
This part of the public vetting is really not supposed to be this interesting.
Bill Clinton took some hits over his attendance at anti-war rallies in England more than two decades before his first White House run. W had some dodging to do over allegations of, well, dodging the draft (along with more than a few other unpleasant accusations).
So here we are, earlier than we should be in such tumultuous times, focused on next year's primary politics.
The first big story of a politician distancing himself from, if not outright disavowing, any number of previously held positions has arrived. This is different, though. Perhaps reflecting the obscene speed of the socially networked world, the "old" views from which Gov. Rick Perry is trying to separate himself date back an entire 9 months.
What's more, they are being dredged up from the ancient history of his still in print book, Fed Up.
From The WSJ:
"Texas Gov. Rick Perry used to be pretty frank when it came to the country’s Social Security system. In his fiery anti-Washington book, "Fed Up!", published last fall when he had no plans to run for president, Mr. Perry called the program, which turned 76 on Monday, "a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal."
He suggested the program’s creation violated the Constitution. The program was put in place, "at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government," he wrote, comparing the program to a "bad disease" that has continued to spread. Instead of “a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal Ponzi scheme," he wrote, he would prefer a system that “will allow individuals to own and control their own retirement."
Pretty standard fare from guys like this. Dominionists, Tenthers and Constitutional Fundamentalists eat this kind of thing up. Perry himself is clearly a good bit of all three. However, the vast majority of the American people thinks this view is absolutely insane. Sooo...
"...since jumping into the 2012 GOP nomination race on Saturday, Mr. Perry has tempered his Social Security views. His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had "never heard" the governor suggest the program was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but "Fed Up!" is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program."
As Matt Yglesias pointed out a few days ago, there is a whole helluva lot more pure craziness in "Fed Up!" With nearly a year to go before the 2012 Republican Convention, something tells me this is going to be very entertaining.