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April 02, 2012

Claim: Perry Was On Painkillers Through Debates

From a soon-to-be-released... um, ebook.

“It became an open secret that he was using painkillers in sufficient dosages to keep him standing through the two-hour debates,” write the authors of “Inside the Circus.”

Well, it's plausible. Doesn't make it true.

One anecdote is that a couple of campaign managers for rival campaigns heard him belting out "I've Been Working On The Railroad" in the bathroom.

Eh.

One thing I think this illustrates is how subject to chance events are. I hear a lot of suggestions that "The Establishment" kept certain people from running (Palin, of course, and Christie, and Jindal, and Pence, and etc.) and "engineered" Mitt Romney's apparent triumph. A push here, a whispered word there, a finger on the balance over this way, that sort of thing.

This whole tendency to ascribe every series of events to a malignly calculating super-intelligence is as silly as ascribing sickness to spirits. It's an attempt to turn a complicated series of events into a brief, digestible Narrative which is nice and simple (but also wrong).

And it's also an attempt at anthropomorphization of bad luck. You can't be angry at bad fortune, because bad fortune is not a human being with sentience and moral agency. You can hate bad luck, but it's not really like hating a human being. It's a lot more satisfying to postulate that this was not Bad Fortune, but Malevolent Design, and hate the conveniently-human designers behind it all.

This is a lifetime ago, but cast your minds back to August 2011: Perry was not only beating Romney, but curb-stomping him, with virtually every group.

He seemed invincible. All he had to do was show up to a debate and offer a reasonable accounting of himself and appear to have it together and he'd have been the nominee in a walking, wrapping it up by the end of January.

But he didn't. And possibly that was due to his recent back-surgery and the painkillers he needed just to stand for so long.

A late start in thinking about the presidency, a very ill-timed surgery... And history is changed.

And that's how things really work. Not a Conspiracy by an Elite (which, of course, is routinely denigrated as pretty f'n' stupid and incompetent, except when it comes to Conspiracy), but one chance event leading to another, and so on, until unpredictable outcomes occur.


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posted by Ace at 04:54 PM

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