11/11/2011 05:59 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2012

"Oops"?! Rick Perry Said "Oops"?!

Three people I'd boot off that GOP debate stage right now: Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and... and...

See how easy that was? Coming up with some clever Rick Perry putdown? Hardly took me any time at all. Not much longer than it took for Perry's brain trust (for want of a more precise term) to send him right into the post-debate spin room to try to make light of the meltdown himself.

It "humanizes" him, he suggested.

Sure it does -- but so would pouring a jar of barbecue sauce all over his head.

What it doesn't do -- not even a tiny bit -- is "presidentialize" him. Which is the "ize" Rick Perry so desperately needed on Wednesday night.


Say goodnight, Gracie.

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Rick Perry and the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and... uh... dang!"

I don't know if I'd call it a Freudian slip -- more like a banana peel.

Of all the things to forget, though. Of all the federal departments and agencies Rick Perry might have wanted to plop conspicuously onto the chopping block...

For the governor of the Great State of Drill Baby Drill to fail -- repeatedly, excruciatingly -- to come up with the simple word "Energy"...

Maybe this whole running-for-president thing wasn't really his idea, anyway. Maybe he was perfectly happy where he was, doing what he was doing. What better way to stick a fork in other people's higher aspirations for him than to stumble over the very issue that's nearest and dearest to his heart?

Question for the Day: Does Mrs. Perry still think her hubby is being "brutalized" and "eaten up" and "chewed up" because of his "faith"?

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Rick Perry at Gettysburg: "... government of the people, by the people... and that other one... "

Shouldn't we be done with the William Hung part of the auditions by now? If this is an elimination contest, shouldn't somebody be doing some eliminating?

I realize that, technically speaking, the actual voting hasn't actually started yet. But after nearly a dozen of these get-togethers -- debates on a single topic and on a wide range of topics, with opening statements and without opening statements, standing at lecterns and sitting around a table -- don't we already have a feel for all eight of these folks? Is there really anything the caucus-goers of Iowa or the hardy citizens of New Hampshire are going to tell us about them that we haven't already figured out for ourselves?

So what if we started by tossing the three who don't know anything about anything?

I'm talking about you, Herman Cain. I'm talking about you, Michele Bachmann. And yes, I'm talking about you, Rick Perry.

There are five reasonably intelligent, generally well-informed, frequently coherent members of this year's GOP presidential field. Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry just don't happen to be any of them. So can't we finally get the lounge acts off the stage? Can't we thank the insistent numerologist and the loopy conspiracist and the walking hair gel for trying so hard to keeping us entertained, and get back to a conversation that seems even vaguely suited to the office at stake and the serious issues we're facing?

Or maybe not.

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Rick Perry the Rocker: "Shake, Rattle and... something... "

Rick Perry at the Diner: "I'll have a B.L... "

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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at