Maybe it’s just the French queer socialist sushi-nibbling claque that I tend to hang with, but one of the more frequent questions that crops up among my coterie is a profoundly puzzled, genuinely stumped, “Does anybody actually like Rick Perry?”
After all, there must be some Perry fans roaming the state. The man convinced 1.7 million Texans to vote for him in 2006 against … well, let us not dwell on that. But he won. He’s won twice. He’s the favorite to win again. Somebody out there must think Gov. Perry hung the moon.
It took me 15 months of sniffing around the Lone Star State, but I can now report that I have located those somebodies. They are manly gun geeks. And when our governor rounded up a dozen third-rate right-wing bloggers and took them out for an intimate shootin’ party at Red’s Indoor Range in Austin last week, it sent them into an orgiastic frenzy of fandom.
The fact that this auspicious event occurred just one day after gunfire erupted on the steps of the state Capitol only made it more admirable in these folks’ eyes. Quel bravoure! I cannot do justice to this bright moment in Texas history without quoting liberally from one of the bloggers fortunate enough to eyewitness the stunt, Robbie Cooper of urbangrounds.com, who deemed it “one of the most unusual and completely awesome campaign events that I have ever heard of — shooting guns with the governor of Texas.”
Cooper continued: “This thing had security nightmare written all over it — especially the day after a crazed man opened fire on the steps of the Texas Capital (Rick Perry’s office, effectively). As near as I can tell, there was only one Security man in the range with about 12-15 armed citizens and Gov. Perry. And his Security agent looked nervous as hell…but Gov. Perry insisted upon doing this event.
“Seriously…think about it…the room we were in was effectively a hallway, about 5′ wide and 40′ long. All of us crammed in there, all of us holding loaded weapons. With only one Security agent. But, the truth is, Gov. Perry couldn’t have been in a safer room anywhere in the world.
“Not only was Gov. Perry gracious enough to stop and chat with everyone in the room, but he took the time to actually allow a number of us to shoot his personal handgun, a Ruger LCP .380 with laser sight. And Governor Perry stood by and gave tips and pointers on shooting (the Gov. is a deadly shot).
“At one point … Gov. Perry looked over at me and asked if I wanted to squeeze off a few rounds with his personal handgun. I jumped at the chance. So there we are, Gov. Perry and I, squeezed into a 5′ wide alley…and the next thing I know, Gov. Perry has locked and loaded his handgun, and hands it to me and says, ‘It’s live.’ “
A commenter on Cooper’s blog, name of Mike, was greatly moved by that last passage: “I came just reading this sentence,” he wrote. And why not? After all, as Cooper opined, “It’s one thing to say you support the second amendment, it’s an entirely different matter to practice what you preach in such an open and awesome manner. …”Oh…and even cooler…Governor Perry signed my paper target with, ‘Shoot straight, vote Conservative. Rick Perry,’ which will be framed and hanged in my man cave.”
When part of Cooper’s account was reposted by a blogger named ArmedGeek, more commenters got into the spirit.
“Moses” wrote, “This is awesome! I really don’t believe that any other Gov. would have the balls to do this. God bless Texas!”
“Fuckin’ A,” wrote “Tiberius,” adding: “Best. Campaign. Ever!”
Face facts, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina: You might as well give up on the coveted man-cave demographic. Gov. Perry has done sewed that one up.