Explanation Letter

Dear Commerce Team,

This evening, I notified Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank that I am taking a medical leave of absence in order to focus on resolving my health issues that arose over the weekend.

During this time, I will not perform the functions and duties of Commerce Secretary. Therefore, I am transferring these responsibilities to Dr. Blank who will serve as Acting Secretary, effective immediately.

As you know, Dr. Blank has strengthened our Department in this role before. I have every confidence in her.

I know that all of you will work to make this a seamless transition, and I thank you in advance for your continued work to help America’s businesses drive economic growth and job creation at this crucial moment in our nation’s recovery.

Finally, I want to thank all of you personally for your warm thoughts and support.


John Bryson


Footnote: Like Rick Perry and Barack Obama, John Bryson has argued for the termination of the Cabinet post of SecCommerce.

It’s Saturday, and Things are Slow

Both here at Chez Michigoose and, evidently, at ATiM.  So I thought I’d try my hand at embedding videos.

First up, is an amazing ad from Rick Perry.  What makes it amazing to me is the amount of dislike that he manages to express in one small, 31-second snippet.  Gays, non-Christians (or even Christians who just don’t publicly proclaim their faith–which I’m pretty sure is something that Jesus himself suggested), the President. . . he really packs it in there!

Second up is a clever rebuttal.

All I’m gonna add is that, as a commenter on Political Animal noted, I don’t think that Rick Perry’s barn coat has ever seen an honest day’s work.  What is it about this man, Mark, Mr Troll McWingnut, and others familiar with Texas politics, that has made him such an unstoppable force within the state?  Now that he’s on the national stage he sure seems like a bit of a doofus.

Writing about Perry instead of Paul

Despite the fact that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is ahead of Gov. Rick Perry (ditto) in two recent polls, WaPo political blogger Chris Cillizza writes about the latter today instead of the former. Again. Poor Paul don’ get no respect, I guess.

I get why. Paul is not considered a viable Romney alternative. At least not now. But Perry is. Ergo, the blogpost on Perry. Cillizza opines that “a failure to perform in the coming quintet of debates could close the window of opportunity for Perry to stage a comeback.”

Just for fun, I went back to check his ‘winners and losers’ articles from recent GOP debates and checked the number of times various candidates’ names appeared. I scored a simple +1 if he named a candidate as a ‘winner’ and -1 if he named the candidate as a ‘loser.’

Totals: Romney +4; Perry -3; Santorum +2; Gingrich +1; Cain 0; Huntsman +1; Johnson +1; Bachmann -4; Paul -1

If debates are as critical to winning the nomination as Cillizza seems to think they are, then:

–Bachmann is a blip away from falling clear out of contention. Well, that’s pretty close, although she did poll one point ahead of Perry in the last Iowa survey.

–Perry would be a half-blip behind Bachmann. While it’s clear debating isn’t Perry’s strong suit, it’s quite fixable. Team Perry has the cash and the advisory team to hire a good political debate coach and prepare some zinger talking points.

–Gingrich, Huntsman and Johnson would be worth a serious look. Of the three, only Gingrich is getting any attention.

–Santorum would be a viable alternative to Romney. Hmmm. I think we can safely cross of Santorum’s name from the short list.

–Cain would be trending somewhere in the middle. At the moment, he’s polling rather well, though his ground-level campaign organization needs a boost to build and sustain momentum in key states.

–Paul would be irrelevant. While that may ultimately be the case, Paul’s recent polling means he’s probably worth a bit more ink at present than Cillizza’s willing to give him.

My point is that lots of factors will impact who wins the GOP presidential nomination. Yes, Perry needs to step up a bit in the debates, but not by as much as Cillizza would have us believe. Ad blitzes and handshakes have the potential to offset mediocre debate performance, and Perry can excel at both.

Where’s Team Perry?

Ah, the surprises that await the aspiring pol!

Exhibit A: Texas Governor Rick Perry.

He jumped into the race in August as a force to be reckoned with. His early polling gave him a 29-17 lead over Mitt Romney.

Now we hear from Iowa, a state that was ‘supposed’ to be his, that he’s tied for fifth (!) with Newt Gingrich and trails leaders Herman Cain and Romney by about 15 points.

Despite what the punditry claims, the Iowa caucuses aren’t that important. Since 1976 only one non-incumbent GOP candidate who won the Iowa caucuses has gone on to win the presidency.

But it seems to me that for Perry to poll way behind a candidate who is barely campaigning in that state says a lot about his campaign and the people who are running it. I’m not talking ideology, but campaign mechanics.

If I were a campaign manager, I’d take a long look at every skeleton or perceived skeleton in my client’s closet and create a strategy for the candidate to minimize, dismiss, or even benefit from it. I don’t get the sense that Team Perry has done anything close to that.

First, there’s the book he wrote that was published late last year. As Steven Levingston wrote,

He didn’t think much of legislation on food safety, the minimum wage, child labor bans, environmental protection and Medicare.

When challenged by those in the electorate who were uncomfortable with his positions in the book, Team Perry scrambled to contain the damage control.

Second, was the statement about Ben Bernanke. I understand why he might object to Bernanke’s quantitative easing, but instead of preparing him with a 40-second soundbite to counter it, Team Perry left the man without a fallback. And again, they had to mop up when Perry called the Fed chairman’s actions “almost treasonous.”

The list goes on. The ranch name. Allowing him to reignite the birther issue in a way that riled other Republicans instead of giving him more presidential sounding talking points for his interviews. His lack of preparedness for the debates and his response to same.

Isn’t up-front preparation, in part at least, what an aspiring pol pays a campaign team for? Is Perry’s team not capable of providing guidance and counsel, or is it not allowed to? Either way, Perry’s candidacy looks to me like it needs proactive focus from a capable campaign team who is allowed to do its job.

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