Thoughts while watching Rick Perry do the cha-cha on “Dancing With the Stars”:
“My name is Rick Perry and I’m the governor of the great state of Texas. I am – I’m not the governor of the great state of Texas. That’s not right. I’m the former governor,” he said in a taped introduction.
It was definitely Rick Perry. The man who gave the nation the “oops” presidential debate was back, dancing on a map of Texas, to a song about Texas, which was sung by the group Little Texas.
Do you think Barack Obama was watching? The president hasn’t mentioned “Dancing With the Stars” recently. But he’s been beseeching the country not to confuse low-rent entertainment with high-end politics.
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Meanwhile, Donald Trump responds to requests for the release of his medical records by taping an episode of “The Dr. Oz Show.”
Trump is, of course, the ultimate example of reality TV as a political version of the circle of life. Does anyone believe he’d be the Republican presidential nominee if he hadn’t been on “Celebrity Apprentice”? Politicians used to make their TV mark on “Meet the Press.” Soon, they’re going to be announcing their candidacy for the U.S. Senate on “Big Brother.”
And maybe, if we’re very lucky, we’ll hear in another few years that Donald Trump will be doing a clog dance on next season’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Perry says he’s dancing on TV to highlight veterans’ issues. It’s now sort of stylish to pin everything on vets. Remember when Trump dodged a primary debate by announcing he needed the time to raise money for needy ex-servicemen and women?
Perry isn’t the first failed politician to try to use “Dancing with the Stars” to get back into the public eye. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay – of Texas! – was on the show in 2009. Sadly, he was forced to drop out with a stress fracture to the foot, and returned to the more traditional political retirement of lobbying and beating a money-laundering indictment.
DeLay did seem to feel he got a kind of redemption from the show. “When I walk through airports today, more people recognize me from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ than being the former majority leader,” he said.
This is undoubtedly true. Ex-politicians who do commercials for home equity loans probably also get more attention in airports than they did when they were in office.
The great attraction of reality TV is its message of redemption. You might be voted off the island, but there will be a twist during the sweeps ratings period; whoever can eat the most boiled otter in three minutes will be allowed back.
A great many contestants on “Dancing With the Stars” seem to be washed-up child actors in search of a comeback. Also, there’s Ryan Lochte, whose dancing debut was marred when two men rushed him onstage, apparently still irritated about that incident with the Brazilian police. Lochte said his feelings were hurt, but he will definitely return to fox trot again.
Perry began his performance with a trip to an onstage corn-dog stand – probably a tribute to the Iowa State Fair, where he was mobbed in 2011 as the GOP primary front-runner and totally ignored when he visited last year. Still, he looked cheerful. A cynic might say he was the most charming ex-governor ever to have vetoed a bill that would have ended the death penalty for the mentally disabled.
However, he scored last during the initial round. First he loses to Donald Trump. Then he comes in behind Vanilla Ice. Well, there’s always next week.
And the week after – where do you think he’ll show up next? The prospects for the 2020 primary season are pretty dim. Rodeo? Professional poker? I hear there’s a Toe Wrestling Championship.