I’m sure we’re all relieved to know that after the many media debacles in the last few election cycles, the cable news denizens have learned their lesson. This time around things are going to be different. Candidates will be treated fairly, with an opportunity to make their case before the American people while being subjected to rigorous examination of their actual record and their stated positions on the issues.
Naw, I’m just kidding. Nothing has actually changed at all. And to lead off the two year parade of embarrassing media moments, MSNBC featured an interview with Texas Governor Rick Perry conducted by Kasie Hunt. Rather than asking about the Governor’s record on job creation, business growth, or even critical questions regarding education or wages, Ms. Hunt drilled right down to the important things that voters need to know. (Emphasis added.)
Overhanging all of the optimistic preparations: the potential for one big mistake. Privately, his advisers acknowledge that Perry is walking around with what amounts to a personal detonator.
“I think everybody has some margin for error,” Perry said in the interview. “I’ve probably got less than other folks. But that’s okay.”
If he runs again, he’ll have to answer the question that was left lingering in the wake of his 2012 campaign: Is Perry smart enough to be president?
To his credit, Perry did what’s expected of any potential presidential candidate. He smiled and treated the question as if it actually merited an answer.
“Running for the presidency’s not an IQ test,” he said. “It is a test of an individual’s resolve. It’s a test of an individual’s philosophy. It’s a test of an individual’s life experiences. And I think Americans are really ready for a leader that will give them a great hope about the future.”
Perry insisted that he’s already well down the road to convincing supporters that he’s changed.
“When you look at the people that are pouring in here to down with us, the policy individuals that have aid, ‘listen, we want to come help you become even better prepared as see go forward,’ is already the answer to that,” he said.
If all you had available was the text version of this interview you might be led to believe that Hunt was speaking extemporaneously when pondering Perry’s intelligence, or that he had just fired off those comments about an IQ test out of the blue. But when you watch the video of the interview, the truth is revealed. She just fired the question at him point blank. Are you smart enough to be President?
I had just come in from shoveling snow when this was airing, (thanks, Mother Nature!) and was so taken aback that I had to wait for the clip to air again to be sure what it was that I’d just heard. A “reporter” sat in front of the longest serving governor in the history of Texas – a person who has overseen an era of massive job growth and prosperity – not to mention a prospective presidential candidate, and basically asked him if he was stupid. I find myself sitting here and asking the inevitable question: can you even imagine if a reporter had said that to Hillary Clinton? (Not that it would ever happen on any network capable of fielding a news program.) The screams of outrage and declarations of the War on Women would bring the news cycle to a grinding halt even if there were seven new cases of Ebola reported in DC on the same day.
So this is what we have to look forward to over the next 23 months. Republicans should be particularly wary if any of the qualified women among their ranks, such as Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez or Jan Brewer, decided to run. Kasie Hunt will probably set up an interview and the first question out of her mouth will be about whether or not they have reached menopause, just so we can be sure they won’t “go crazy” with the nuclear football when that time of the month rolls around.
Has anyone at NBC News ever sat down to ask Kasie Hunt if she’s really smart enough to cover a presidential campaign?
Just in case you think this is too much to believe, here’s the video.