Perry has given us a glimpse of what happens when his ideology collides with reality. Ideology wins, and it does so not on the up and up but by cheating a bit — in the case of global warming with the fictitious numbers and false charges. We have already seen the consequence of this kind of thinking. George W. Bush’s conviction that he was chosen to rid the world of Saddam Hussein led us into a war for stated reasons that were later contradicted by the evidence — or, more to the point, lack of evidence. Bush had many ways of making his case. To Joe Biden who worried that things were fast going wrong in Iraq, he cited “my instincts.” To others, he said he “prayed over” his decisions. All his prayers and instincts could not, for some reason, produce weapons of mass destruction or impose a plan for governing Iraq once a nominal victory was achieved. This is a terrifying way to make policy.
Old Texas hands repeatedly urge us not to liken Perry to Bush just because they both are from Texas and are religious. Granted. But the similarities are there and unavoidable — not just the accent but in a way of thinking. Perry’s insistence that evolution is a “theory that’s out there,” but so is creationism — in other words, they have parity — and his adamant refusal to come to grips with the realities of global warming are reminiscent of the way Bush marched us into a war that still has not ended and imposed his religious convictions on federal government scientists.