The best news I got all week was when Rick Perry survived the first round of elimination on Dancing With the Stars. Here’s how I felt:
That is exactly how I felt. It’s almost uncanny how Rick Perry was able to foretell the joy I would feel when I saw the news (because somehow I managed to forget to set my DVR–that’s never happening again). I still feel this way when I think about it.
There is nothing about Rick Perry’s performance on Dancing With the Stars that I don’t love. The terrible dancing. The cornball sets. The absurd notion that this performance is somehow related to awareness about veterans issues. I love it all.
And what’s not to love about the most powerful governor in Texas history turning out to be an arm-pumping-dance-enthusiast? Seriously, how can you not just love this? I bet this is exactly the same dance he did in 2006 when he managed to win his second full term as governor with only 39% of the vote. I bet he danced this way when he beat Kay Bailey Hutchison in the March 2010 Republican primary, defying all the pundits and prognosticators who’d predicted his demise just months earlier (and displaying that early awareness of the Tea Party wave. No matter what you say, Rick Perry will always be the Bodhi of that particular point break. I can just hear him saying, “Why be a servant to the law when you can be its master?” to a super baffled David Dewhurst.)
Turns out, Slick Rick is more Lord of the Dance than Ruler of the Free World.
Frankly, that news should have come as a tremendous relief except for, well, I don’t need to finish that sentence, do I? Since the GOP now picks their presidential nominees by choosing the guy with the best ratings on reality TV, well, they couldn’t nominate RuPaul, so they were pretty much stuck with Trump. I have a hunch that Perry is on to something and may parlay the DWTS gig into becoming the Andy Cohen of the Duck Dynasty set. Fun interviews, theme cocktails, camo! Super fun.
You know what’s really captured my imagination this week? The thought of all the times Rick Perry felt like dancing and didn’t. Signing HB2 after the second special session and setting of a disastrous course of clinic closings across the state and not dancing. Cutting funding to public schools in 2011 and not dancing. Going around the country doing press conferences about how much better Texas was than the state you were visiting and not dancing. That must have hurt.
I imagine Rick Perry feeling a lot like Gene Kelly when he bursts into “Gotta Dance”:
So what did he do for all those years when he had to hold it in? Where did he put his love of the dance? How did he keep his toes from tapping and his hips from swaying?
You can probably hear where this is going:
Just swap the nice house in Winnetka for the Texas Governor’s Mansion and, voilá, there’s our answer! Rick Perry busting a move to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (nice NRA tie-in, there) on those special nights when nobody else was home.
But at the heart of this delight in seeing our former governor ham his heart out on national TV lies a deep and dark secret:
I miss Rick Perry.
Thank you, America, for giving him one more week to defy the odds and delight us with his sheer bravado. There’s never been one quite like him. And looking at the conservative overlords who run the show around here these days, there probably won’t be again.