Rick Perry's Good for a Laugh, If Not the Job of President

GOP candidate's "oops" moments make our worries go away--aside from the one about him being president.

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Some people think Texas Gov. Rick Perry is showing that he isn't ready to be a presidential candidate, let alone president, because of the rather odd, verging on clueless, way he has been behaving on the campaign trail. And perhaps there are those who believe that "the media," which those same folks seem to believe operates as some sort of single-minded cabal, wants to drive Perry out.

Nothing could be further from the truth. During tense and serious times, with the U.S. economy deeply troubled and the Europeans making the United States look stable and functional in comparison, we need Perry more than ever.

[Debate Club: Who Is Handling Its Debt Crisis Better: United States or Europe?]

OK, maybe Perry doesn't have sophisticated and detailed plans to get the country out of its funk. But in addition to some serious attention to serious issues (and a willingness to compromise), what the nation also needs is a little comic relief. And Perry is offering that willingly. The most memorable exchange from Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate went as such:

RICK PERRY: And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education and the — what's the third one there?

RON PAUL: You need five.

PERRY: Oh, five, okay. So Commerce, Education and the . . .


PERRY: EPA, there you go.

JOHN HARWOOD (moderator): Seriously, is the EPA the one you were talking about?

PERRY: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about the agencies of government—the EPA needs to be rebuilt. There's no doubt about that.

HARWOOD: But you can't—you can't name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government I would do away with, Education, the …


PERRY: Commerce and let's see, I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.]

That exchange completely blows away pizza magnate Herman Cain singing, "Imagine there's no pizza." And anyway, Cain's candidacy is a little less amusing as the sexual harassment allegations against him play out.

We don't want a president who has to say "oops." But it's worthwhile having a candidate who does. And while Perry wants to get rid of three (we think) federal agencies, perhaps he would consider creating a new cabinet post: court jester.