Rick Perry's Bigoted— but Positive— Message Ad Entitled "Strong"

additional commentary by NH State Rep. Timothy Horrigan; December 6, 2011

In December 2011, Presidential candidate Rick Perry took the positive message ad to depths even Sen. Kelly Ayotte wouldn't sink to. He appeared by the side of a river (probably not filmed anywhere in New Hampshire, judging by how green the grass is on the river bank— even though we have enjoyed a generally mild winter.) He was dressed like John Kerry in a tan barn coat. Tuneful music played in the background as this pleasant-looking man spewed forth a message of pure bigotry. The ad was entitled "Strong":

This ad followed a less explicitly bigoted ad entitled "Faith":

I am a Christian myself, but I am afraid to admit it at the moment. And not because I believe that faith is a sign of weakness. 

Faith is a sign of strength: bigotry is a sign of weakness.

Perry's barn coat in the "Strong" ad is very, very similar to a coat worn by the late Heath Ledger in the film
Brokeback Mountain.  The ad's background music is also reminiscent of Gustavo Santaolalla's Oscar-winning film score.

One good thing is that Perry's "Strong" is well on its way to becoming the most-disliked video in YouTube history. He has a good shot at dethroning Rebecca Black, the young woman who perpetrated the infamously inane song "Fridays" (which I secretly enjoy):

[December 9, 2011] Actually there is some dispute over the numbers, according to (amongst others) Dean Praetorius of the Huffington Post.  Exact numbers are hard to come by, since videos are often posted in multiple versions.  The canonical version of "Friday" was taken down by the singer after about 1.1 million Dislikes and then put back up on her own YouTube channel and there are a number of remixes and the like floating around. Perry's ad also exists as more than one YouTube video.
The most hated video ever by Praetorius's count is in fact Justin Bieber's "Baby" with over 2 million Dislikes. Be that as it may, it is amazing that a struggling Presidential candidate can suffer the level of revilement usually reserved for cute but modestly talented teenaged pop singers.  (The song "Baby" itself is by the way a perfectly nice little pop single, which has garnered over a million Likes on YouTube.)


[December 12 & 19, 2011] Perry's bigoted ad may have attracted negative attention in the real world, but it went unnoticed in Republican-land.  None of his opponents (with one exception) have brought it up and even the mainstream media has ignored this monumental gaffe.  Here in New Hampshire, he even picked up ringing endorsements from two of the more powerful members of the New Hampshire House.  I think my two colleagues embarrassed themselves, but I doubt they even know why they should be embarrassed.
The ultraconservative Will Smith (R-Newcastle), a Finance division chair, had this to say in a Letter to the Editor sent to various newspapers:

To the editor:

In comparing presidential candidates, we should look at their political positions, track record, evidence of character, and electability. My analysis leads me to conclude that Governor Rick Perry is far and away the best candidate for President.

He believes individual freedom is critical, and the Constitution limits the power of the federal government. He believes that the private sector creates wealth in our society, and to have a healthy, job-creating economy we must: 1) reduce government spending to reduce our crushing debt, 2) secure our borders, 3) make our taxes low and fair, and 4) make education affordable and effective.

Governor Perry has a track record consistent with his beliefs. He has 10 years of executive experience as governor of Texas, but has never been a Washington insider. During that time, Texas has been the leading job creator, and had the second lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of all states. The 6 judges he appointed to the Texas Supreme Court have been strict constructionists, who interpret the Constitution based on what it actually says. He has direct experience with border security.

Perry states his beliefs forcibly, such as "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme". That statement is true, and to state the truth is the first step toward fixing it. He admits to mistakes, without blaming others. His combination of straight talk and humbleness is sorely missing in Washington these days.

Perry has an impressive record of winning elections. As a former Democrat (like Reagan), he knows what the opposition will throw at him. For 10 years, in the political arena, his reputation has not been tarnished, although he is often underestimated. He is an enthusiastic leader.

I recommend voters take a close look at Governor Perry's assets, and not allow media-fed scorn over minor debate issues to rule our thinking.

State Rep. Will Smith
Rye/New Castle

The flamboyant House Finance Chair Ken Weyler (who actually is something of a centerist in spite of his propensity for aiming insulting rhetoric at liberals, and in spite of his tireless opposition to anything—aside from expanded gambling— which could possibly generate revenue for the state government) had this to say:

The polls have been pretty consistent for months now. Obama has reached a low that no president contemplating reelection has seen before him. We can be confident that the next president will be one of the Republican candidates that we have been seeing.

The liberal media is showing their bias like never before. Obama was their creation; an obscure candidate whose background was never fully explored. So they are pursuing their agenda with dedication. Destroy all threats to the incumbent. Whoever leads in the polls go after first. The debates are trivial and superficial. This is just a "gotcha" game to embarrass each of them.

Diane Sawyer led the news every 15 minutes about Rick Perry's momentary lapse of memory as if it were disqualifying. She fails to realize that the majority of us have had similar experiences. Yet I don't know of any of the rest of us who think there are 57 states. Why didn't that get similar coverage? It is high time to look seriously at the Republican candidates. What are the backgrounds? What plans do they offer? What can they show for successful accomplishments?

These are the reasons I endorse Gov. Rick Perry for our next president. Here is a man who showed a willingness to make the supreme sacrifice for our country early in his life. Right out of college Rick joined the U.S. Air Force to become a pilot. Having similar experience, I know how challenging that program was. He later became a state representative in Texas, then the agriculture commissioner, then lieutenant governor. He is now one of the longest serving governors of Texas, a state that rarely reelects their governor.

He has shown us his plan for economic recovery, and what gives it credence is the job creation that has happened in Texas. Almost 40 percent of the last year's new jobs were created in Texas.

I have been a long-time state representative in New Hampshire. We have studied what other states have done when we encounter a challenge in our state's government. It is impressive how often the best solution has been done in Texas. They have led in performance budgeting, and welfare reform, and other areas of governing. Rick Perry has been an important part of that state's government for decades.

Now that is a resume that deserves your approval. Let's put accomplishments ahead of empty slogans that make no sense, like "This is the best country in the world and we need to change it!" Why wasn't that questioned? Let's stop paying attention to the media who would like nothing better than to destroy any opponent of Obama. Let's do our own thinking and help our country to recover from the worst president in our history. We need good ideas, not empty slogans. Support Rick Perry in the primary, and for president. Some of these polls amount to "who have you heard about in the news lately?" Thank you.

State Rep. Ken Weyler

Only one Republican spoke out against Perry: rival Presidential candidate Fred Karger put out this stinging parody:

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