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I’m gonna miss Rick Perry, the Foghorn Leghorn of presidential candidates

My wife’s favorite Republican candidate for amusement is Newt, but myself, I enjoy watching old Rick Perry. The man strikes me as a fool in a suit, almost a cartoon version of a Texas governor. Here is his comment the other night on the government of Turkey: “When you have a country [Turkey] that is ...

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My wife’s favorite Republican candidate for amusement is Newt, but myself, I enjoy watching old Rick Perry. The man strikes me as a fool in a suit, almost a cartoon version of a Texas governor. Here is his comment the other night on the government of Turkey: “When you have a country [Turkey] that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes, not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it. [Cheers, applause]” (To fully appreciate this, read it aloud in a Foghorn Leghorn voice.)

As the estimable Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post put it, Perry’s characterization of Turkey is an off-the-charts jaw dropper. In fact, observes Kessler, a veteran diplomatic correspondent, “The ruling party of Turkey is moderately Islamic, but it generally has not interfered with the country’s secular traditions. . . . As for foreign aid, Turkey is a wealthy country that already gets virtually no foreign aid from the United States.”

In addition, notes Juan Cole, “Turkey has peace-keeping troops serving alongside US ones in Afghanistan, and in danger of being killed by Taliban, and it is a profound insult to reward their friendship with the US by this kind of trash talk.”

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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