Over the past few months, Rick Perry hasn't exactly distinguished himself as an ace debater, owing to the fact that the cherry that sits atop his brain sundae tends to get dislodged at the most inopportune times (like when he is asked to count). But the Perry campaign has brushed off his famous problem, telling reporters, "If we’re electing the debater in chief, don’t elect me." And Perry, who seems to be better at the retail side of campaign strategy, might be better off skipping some of the debates. It's an idea his campaign has flirted with, but he'd probably end up looking the worse for doing so because his rivals -- who haven't exactly covered themselves with glory at these debates, themselves -- would just label him a coward.
But now, it seems that Perry actually wants to debate, because he's just cold issuing challenges to Nancy Pelosi for some reason. The Hill's Christian Heinze obtains a letter from Perry to Pelosi, in which he calls for a debate with the former speaker on the merits of his plan to "Overhaul Washington":
"I am in Washington Monday and would love to engage you in a public debate about my Overhaul Washington plan versus the congressional status quo.
I think it would be a tremendous service to the American public to see a public airing of those differences. Let the people decide.
If Monday doesn't work, perhaps we could find a time in Iowa over the course of the next month to discuss these issues in front of the people of America's heartland."
Perry's reason for the challenge, according to the letter, is "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's outburst over my 'Overhauling Washington' plan." Why he doesn't just want to debate Hoyer (or, failing that, the current keepers of the Congressional status quo, John Boehner and Harry Reid) is a mystery.
Perry, who wants to have a part-time Congress, describes the "status quo" in Washington thusly: "The Washington metro area is now the most affluent metropolitan area in the country because lobbyists, contractors, elected officials and bureaucrats have been insulated from the economic ruin prevalent in the private sector." He's not wrong about that, but there's no rational reason that going to some sort of "part-time" version of Congress would ameliorate this -- if you think about it logically, Perry's vision for Congress would lead most Congresscritters to sell-out even harder and faster.
At any rate, HuffPost's Michael McAuliff reports that Pelosi has declined the opportunity to match wits with Perry, citing her travel schedule. There was a "can't remember the third thing" joke involved. (This means that "can't remember the third thing" jokes are now officially played out.)