Erica Grieder

Rick Perry’s departure from the Republican presidential primary was, by any standard, the result of a walloping. Simply put, he was terrible at running for president. In fact, I probably owe the readers of TNR a mea culpa. Back in September, I wrote that Rick Perry probably wouldn’t be a catastrophic debater. Sorry, guys. Perhaps I didn’t consider just how much the local view of Perry—I’ve been following Perry from Austin for years—would fail to translate to the wider, and in some ways stranger, landscape of national politics.

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A not insignificant portion of the national political establishment—consisting of panicky Democrats and Republicans alike—is hoping that Rick Perry’s commanding lead in recent Republican primary polls will wither under the lights of this month’s multiple presidential debates, beginning with tonight’s event at the Ronald Reagan Library in California.

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In April 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases, though not pollutants in themselves, were subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act, because of the threats they pose to human health via climate change. It was not the sort of finding that Texas governor Rick Perry—long a skeptic, even outright denier, of anthropogenic climate change—was liable to welcome.

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