Perry touched the real third rail of American politics: Barbecue

So far, there has been no official response from the Perry campaign, and that doesn’t bode well for his electoral prospects. Just ask Rufus Edmisten, who ran for governor of North Carolina in 1984. Late in the campaign, after eating barbecue at rallies three times a day for almost a year, he broke down at a public feed in Raleigh. “We haven’t had any of the damnable barbecue,” he proclaimed. “I’ve eaten enough barbecue. I am not going to eat any more!” The quote ran in local newspapers, and Edmisten lost by almost 200,000 votes.

When asked to comment on Perry’s chance to recover from his similar gaffe, Edmisten told the Raleigh News & Observer: “He’s had it. He’s done. He’s beef toast.”

This all may be tough to understand in California, where in my experience there’s not much in the way of barbecue worth arguing about beyond the virtues of the slow-smoked tri-tip.

But barbecue has been getting politicians into trouble for almost 200 years.