Perry: Drunk, stoned, in need of medication or just weird?

Was Rick Perry drunk? Stoned? Medicated? Having a manic-depressive attack?

Excerpts of a speech he made last Friday in New Hampshire have a lot of pundits scratching their heads and comedians have been left with enough material for at least a week. You can watch all 25 minutes of Rick Perry’s “unusually animated” New Hampshire speech, as some newspapers are kindly calling it, if you want to look at this clip on You Tube. I have highlights posted below.

In the uncut version to which I link, and he really is talking about something before the recording starts, Perry begins speaking of how his pastor suggested he read Proverbs. The exact chapter and verse, Proverbs 15:13, basically says that a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance but a sorrowful heart leaves the spirit broken. Then Good Hair launches into a bit about gold and eventually cradles a bottle of local maple syrup. In between, he is goofy, gesticulates like a traffic cop infested with fire ants, smiles widely and laughs at his own jokes.

It was weird.

While the punditry speculates the Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful might be drunk or stoned, at the very least Perry does seem to have moments during the speech in which he seems like either he is medicated or in need of medication.

I don’t know how many times I saw Rick Perry in my newspaper career. I know at least half a dozen and perhaps more. I never saw him act any differently than during most of his recent TV appearances and televised speeches. He seemed naturally dull and one of those persons who appear to be an empty vessel in which nothing much would stick once it penetrated the inside. I saw him once during an event of more than two hours in which he appeared to polish off a bottle of wine. The event was a roast for an old friend of Perry’s from the Texas Legislature who was a Democrat, as Perry had been at the time he served in the Texas House. The majority of those participating in the roast were also Democrats and roasted Perry, at times, as well as his old buddy. At one point, Perry appeared pissed off and left the stage as if he was sulking. Until this recent speech, that was the most animated that I had ever seen the governor.

Kevin Smith, who hosted the event in which Perry gave his speech, told Washington’s The Hill that Good Hair had not been drinking alcohol and that even though the governor was more animated than he has appeared during the campaign, the thought that he “was buzzed” did not cross his hosts’ minds.

I have been around a good many folks who were as screwed up as a football bat on one substance, if not more than one, or another. Likewise I have been around a fairly good number of people suffering from various stages of mental illness. I am no expert by any means but watching a little more than the highlights — pardon the pun — of this Perry speech leads me to believe, well, I don’t know what it leads me to believe. Like I said, Rick seemed pretty damned strange.

Nevertheless, if the animation and goofiness shown by Perry was written for him, perhaps his speechwriters should tone it down a bit or just nix the humor completely.


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