Paul Begala is rude about Rick Perry

From the (appropriately named in this instance)
Daily Beast

“Even among state representatives, even among Texas Aggies (graduates of this cute remedial school we have in Texas), Perry stood out for his modest intellectual gifts. Hell, he got a C in animal breeding. I have goats who got an A in that subject.”

Since I’m all for civility, I’d probably disapprove if I weren’t laughing so hard. After all there are lots of places weaker than Texas A&M. Sarah Palin alone attended at least five of them.

The rest of the story is more substantive, and pretty damned devastating.


  1. K says

    In his endorsement of him, Phil Gramm says Perry was his student at A & M. Perry only took one economics class, and got a D in it. Evidently from Gramm.

  2. Barry says

    Which is hard to judge; anybody who got an ‘A’ in econ from Gramm should probably just be thrown in prison on general principles.

  3. David Wilford says

    George W. Bush is sufficient proof that one needn’t be highly intelligent to be succeed as a politician. If anything, it’s a handicap to come across as being smarter than thou.

  4. Anon says

    Begala went Texas (says Wikipedia), so I guess we take the dig at Aggies as a bit of teasing between state rivals, but still:

    Can liberals please stop making fun of where people went to college? Seriously: cut it out. It’s:

    a.) bad politics. You know who didn’t go to an elite college? 80% of voters.
    b.) the opposite of our values. At least I hope so.
    c.) beside the point. Exhibit A: George W. Bush, Yale ’68.

  5. says

    Can liberals please stop making fun of where people went to college? Seriously: cut it out.

    I agree. It’s another example of the party gong neoliberal and forgetting its foundation in FDR’s New Deal.
    One of the most stunning articles on this process:

    n+1: Obama and the Closing of the American Dream

    Throughout our history there have always been multiple versions of the American dream. These accounts held in common the hope that hard work, discipline, and self-reliance would allow those recognized as citizens not only to improve their economic lot and achieve personal happiness, but to participate fully in political life. Today, however, only one version of the dream continues to make sense as a sustainable personal project. This is the dream exemplified by Barack and Michelle Obama—as well as by their former rivals Hillary and Bill Clinton—a dream of success through higher education and a life in professional work. It is a vision of social advancement that leaves little room for historically important narratives of blue-collar respectability.

  6. Ebenezer Scrooge says

    Before Brett gets to it, I should remind this thread that W’s grades at Yale were roughly comparable to Gore’s grades at Harvard. (IIRC, Bush had slightly higher SATs.) Furthermore, Ivy League schools believe that their admissions committees never make a mistake, so even a mediocre Ivy student can get a degree by doing zilch work.

    That being said, Perry’s grades at A&M were really bad. I don’t think that one has to be a great intellect to be a good President. Remember Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s quip on Roosevelt: “Second-rate intellect; first-rate disposition.” And I admit that we’ve had some very bright people who have been lousy presidents Madison and Nixon come to mind. (I think Carter was badly underrated, but ymmv.) But there is a lower limit somewhere. If you can’t assimilate a briefing, you’re not qualified for the job.

    And Perry may be under this limit. In which case, no amount of disposition would make him competent.