Oops, Rick Perry does it again

Perry suggests fossil fuels could prevent rape
Perry suggests fossil fuels could prevent rape

    JUST WATCHED

    Perry suggests fossil fuels could prevent rape

MUST WATCH

Perry suggests fossil fuels could prevent rape 01:16

Story highlights

  • James C. Moore: Perry used a biblical tone to make a connection between fossil fuel and rape prevention in Africa
  • It was nonsensical and insulting to try to connect these two problems, he writes

James C. Moore is a Texas business and communications consultant who has been writing and reporting on Texas politics since 1975. He publishes at Texas to the World. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN)I have always liked to refer to Energy Secretary Rick Perry as "The Prophet of Paint Creek." The little Texas town where Perry was born and raised has just over 300 people, and the entire county counts only one stoplight, even though it has given the US one of its most famously dim bulbs.

And the man from "Oops" has done it again.
James C. Moore
At an event in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, according to a report in the Hill, Perry was talking about what he had just experienced on a recent trip to Africa, and made a tortured connection between fossil fuels and the prevention of rape. He said it requires fossil fuels to keep the lights on in Africa. Using his inevitable biblical tone, the former Texas governor said, "But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts."
    Perry also apparently had to travel to Africa to learn something that is obvious in daily news reports. "I think," he said, "I heard a lady say that there are people dying."
    Purty much, pard.
    Continuing to exhibit his innate political skill of tenaciously grasping at what he thinks is obvious, Perry assumes acts of sexual violence only happen at night or in the dark, and if we raise the sturdy shield of oily kilowatt-hours, the demon will be banished. Maybe clean coal miners will also join the battle.
    Perry continues to equate fossil fuels with electricity even though Africa and the developing world are now investing more in renewable energy than the richest countries on the planet. His presidential campaign, in fact, criticized the Obama administration for sending $500 million dollars to "the country Solyndra." Maybe Perry was in Africa trying to talk to the energy secretary of Solyndra, and recover our tax money.
    I'll look for an announcement regarding détente with Solyndra.
    The man has never been keen on facts or geography. As he launched his presidential campaign, Perry informed the electorate that, "Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in America." I checked Google maps. Nope, no Juarez, America. But just across the Rio Grande is El Paso, ranked safest city in the US, and I know Perry's been there, so how does he muck that up?
    Sanders, Perry spar over climate change
    Sanders, Perry spar over climate change

      JUST WATCHED

      Sanders, Perry spar over climate change

    MUST WATCH

    Sanders, Perry spar over climate change 02:03
    Maybe he's just not good with anything Latino. Bragging about their opportunities in Texas, Perry pointed in a speech to the head of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Jose Cuevas, and told the audience in a cringe-worthy play on Cuevas's name, "That is the right job for that man." A few in the crowd probably hit the lobby bar for a shot of Jose Cuervo to see if the alcohol might be more numbing than the ignorance.
    Explanations are often offered for Perry's rhetorical bumbling, but his flubs are too consistent for him to be constantly drunk. In one famous New Hampshire speech during the campaign, he appeared to many observers to have washed down the painkillers for his back problems with a few glasses of wine, and sounded like he was having a religious experience when he was offered a commemorative jar of jam.
    "Today has been awesome, girl," he told the audience.
    Rick Perry in 60 seconds
    Rick Perry in 60 seconds

      JUST WATCHED

      Rick Perry in 60 seconds

    MUST WATCH

    Rick Perry in 60 seconds 01:12
    Worse, though, is how he comports himself as an ambassador of the oil industry. Perry never bothered to read the job description when he became energy secretary. Could that be because it was a government institution he had vowed to eliminate?
    The agency's primary role is husbanding this country's nuclear arsenal and conducting technical research on how to create more and better sources of power, but he may be thinking political power instead of electrical. The people who drink deeply of "dinosaur wine" have long fattened Perry's political wallet.
    Let's stipulate, though, that light is better than dark when it comes to acts of sexual violence, but we also ought to acknowledge that equating electrical illumination and safety with oil is nonsensical, and an insulting conflation of two problems. There is also no shortage of people and organizations that argue that what the extraction industry has done to the planet is a rank form of violence, and what happens to communities in its periphery isn't diminished by turning on the lights.
    When I was following George W. Bush around the country on his campaign, linguistic entertainment was a staple of every day. We were moved by his exhortations to, "make the pie higher," (had no idea it was short) and his acknowledgment that it is difficult to, "put food on your family," (the kids won't sit still for mashed potatoes on their heads?) or his willingness to ask those tough questions like, "Is our children learning?"

    Join us on Twitter and Facebook

    And it's good to know Perry is keeping our Texas traditions alive. He even thanked Bush for "defending us from freedom," though I think Mr. Trump is doing a better job at that particular task. I don't know if it's a better idea for the energy secretary to concentrate on his mighty responsibility of manufacturing nuclear weapons or to just babble on about oil and rape and electricity.
    But I do kind of wonder if his back is bothering him again.