Rep. Michele Bachmann’s migraines dominated headlines for at least a week. Now, it seems The New York Times would like to stir up similar concern about the presidential fitness of potential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Today, the Gray Lady reports that Perry had surgery … nearly a month ago. His aides described the operation as minor. But, the article explains, “as Mr. Perry weighs whether to join the Republican presidential race, even minor is major.”
Even minor is major. How minor? Supposedly, Perry looks to be having a hard time recovering because he’s changing his footwear and is now wearing a back brace. Now, admittedly, it is a tragedy to have to trade in cowboy boots for black tennis shoes and I’m sure any extra layer of clothing in the Texas heat — even a back brace — is less than comfortable. But it sounds to me like Perry’s just following proper post-surgery protocol. If it’s right to take that as an indication that he’s the sort of responsible man who cares more for reality than for the projection of a falsely perfect image, I’d say that’s rather more evidence of his presidential personality than less. After four years of a president who seems altogether too into appearances, Perry’s take-me-as-I-am approach would be extremely refreshing.
By the way, after paragraphs parsing the governor’s shoe selection, the final two paragraphs of The New York Times article concede Perry’s probably fine:
As Mr. Perry increases his national profile, and carefully orchestrates what many in Austin believe will be his entrance into the presidential race, he and his advisers have no interest in having Mr. Perry appear weak. The day Mr. Perry had the surgery, in fact, his office sent out four news releases, including a statement he issued describing President Obama’s disaster declaration for parts of the state hit hard by wildfires as “good for Texas.”
Dr. Robert E. Isaacs, the director of spine surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., said that lower-back spinal fusions had become fairly common — about 250,000 are performed each year in the United States — and that the governor’s wearing of a brace was probably not a sign that he was having a difficult recovery. “The smaller types of spine fusions people can recover from quickly,” Dr. Isaacs said.