Perry's backpedaling on homosexuality remarks won't help him in the long run


(The Associated Press)
(The Associated Press)

Gov. Rick Perry recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism on a recent campaign stop in San Francisco. “Campaign stop,” you might say, scratching your head in puzzlement. For what?

One of the worst-kept political secrets in this state is that Perry wants to run for president again. As the astute will recall, his 2012 bout for the Republican nomination was an unmitigated disaster. From incoherent speeches to an epic breakdown on national television culminating in the now-infamous “oops,” it is safe to say that the governor was not ready for primetime.

But slowly backing away from a controversial statement a full week after uttering it proves that Perry is similarly not ready for the limelight now. While the general public has moved strongly against bumbling homophobes in recent years, they have always carried a great deal of animosity toward whimpering sycophants, who equivocate on the question at hand depending upon the audience. The governor has now put himself in the unique position of representing both poor qualities.

Perry’s statements, in which he said being gay was like being an alcoholic because even genetic hardwiring can be overcome by willpower, were offensive and wrong. That being said, they were not all that surprising from such a figure and even mirrored previous comments that Perry has made as early as 2008. Furthermore, if he had quickly qualified his remarks as out of line, one might be able to dismiss them as the silly bravado of a wannabe cowboy, a venial offense at most.

However, Perry waited an entire week, carefully observing the nation’s response, before pouring cool water on the matter. Such actions tell me that this is far less about the opinions and more about the opinion polls.