Yesterday, Rick Perry had his intellect-enhancing glasses on when he read:
When a candidate under the Republican banner would abandon the tradition of magnanimous leadership of the presidency, when he would seek to demonize millions of citizens, when he would stoop to attack POWs for being captured, I can only ask as Senator Welch did of Senator McCarthy, "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
Moving? Ah yes, it could have been, except that no Senator Welch ever asked Senator McCarthy that question. Gov. Perry fabricated the story. It never happened, it could not have happened, for there was no Senator Welch at the Army-McCarthy hearings. There was a lawyer Welch, a Joseph Welch, special counsel for the Army, who asked McCarthy if he had, at long last, any decency left. But there was no Senator Welch. Perry's morality tale was immorally fallacious.
Did the former Air Force officer, former governor and current U.S. presidential candidate even read his speech before delivering it? (One assumes he didn't write it; "magnanimous," even with his glasses on, doesn't strike me as the kind of word Gov. Perry would be likely to scribble.) The "decency" passage was meant to be moving but got botched in the writing, which quite obviously was subjected to no editing or fact-checking. A schoolboy might have at least checked Wikipedia. Gov. Perry & Staff couldn't be bothered.
I submit that a presidential candidate going before network cameras and spouting a rudimentary error in historical fact is an act of indecency itself. Here's a man who seeks a job in which a thousand purported facts a day would be incoming, and some of those "facts" would hover over matters of life and death. It is scarcely fastidious to ask that such a man get his facts straight — at minimum, those facts that are checkable. Curiosity didn't kill the cat; indeed curiosity saves lives, it can even spare us another "Oops" after invading the wrong country (assuming, of course, the sitting president wishes to be spared the Oops).
What's more, several times last night I watched Gov. Perry mangle his history, and this morning I read several news items on it. Not once, in all the cable-news coverage, and not once in print, did anyone covering the speech note that Rick Perry, candidate for the U.S. presidency, doesn't know a senator from a lawyer. At the time of this writing, all I had found was this, from John Dean, of John Dean fame:
Could it be that cable anchors and print reporters are as sloppy and clueless as Rick Perry? One trembles at the mountain of misbegotten garbage hurling toward us each day. It's indecent — not much better than Donald Trump himself.