Let's just say Gov. Rick Perry, R-Tex. and 2012 Republican presidential nomination candidate, is 3-for-3 -- and not in the most laudable kind of way, to put it diplomatically.
Perry began his project to raise his profile nationally with some inappropriate and un-presidential observations about U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, someone who has successfully managed the United States' greatest and most challenging financial crisis since the Great Depression with remarkable proficiency and energy for the last three years.
Perry's remarks, which were almost universally rebuked, are inflammatory and baseless, so they won't be repeated here.
Regarding Perry's Fed remarks, Lawrence H. Summers, who was the U.S. Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and an economic adviser to President Barack Obama, told The New York Times, This may be the least responsible statement in the modern history of president politics.
Perry: What Climate Change?
Next, Perry asserted that man-made, fossil fuel-based climate change is not occurring, and, even worse, claimed that scientists are manipulating the data in order to secure dollars for research projects.
I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects, Perry said, according to The Washington Post. I think we're seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climates change. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed. But I do not buy into, that a group of scientists, who in some cases were found to be manipulating this data.
Both Perry conclusions on climate change are tenuous, if not absurd. The scientific community almost universally agrees that man-made, fossil fuel-based climate change is occurring.
Perry as Anthropologist
Then on Thursday, Perry turned to anthropology and biology.
Perry said evolution is a theory with some gaps in it, USAToday.com reported Thursday. Perry was responding to a question from a little boy in New Hampshire, who was prompted by his mom to ask a question.
I hear your mom was asking about evolution, Perry said. That's a theory that is out there -- and it's got some gaps in it.
Perry added that public schools in Texas teach both creationism and evolution, and said: I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right.
In the scientific community, the current hypothesis, accepted by the vast majority of scientists, is that life evolved. Some faiths/belief systems argue that evolution does not undermine religious teachings of a Creator God; other faiths argue it does. But each is a matter of faith, not science. In any event, neither view undermines the evolution hypothesis.
Three days and three statements that suggest Perry is either embellishing his prose to appeal to his political base -- a Tea Party-influenced conservative wing of the Republican Party -- or he doesn't understand monetary policy, environmental science, anthropology or biology.
It's early in the 2012 presidential race, but if Gov. Perry is trying to show that he's qualified to lead an enlightened, diverse and complex society amid a period of economic, social, and technological change, he's making an awfully bad impression.