From the Washington Post:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered himself here Wednesday as a decidedly anti-intellectual candidate, making light of flunking out of some of his classes at Texas A&M University, and instead casting his life and presidential aspirations in deeply spiritual terms.
Perry said he spent many nights in his 20s pondering his purpose, “wondering what to do with this one life among the billions that were on the planet,” but that God’s answers were revealed to him in due time.
No surprise on either count. Liberty University, after all, was founded as a Christian alternative to secular “elite” universities, and speaking at the thrice-weekly convocation in the University’s basketball arena does demand the obligatory come to Jesus moment. Perry’s was textbook: the humble beginnings with few material amenities; the loving, devoted parents; the aw-shucks, who could possibly be expected to understand organic chemistry; hopes of veterinary school dashed; I was wandering in the desert, until: “God uses broken people to reach a broken world. The mistakes of yesterday say nothing about the possibilities of tomorrow.”
The speech was quintessentially evangelical, but without the hallmarks of the neo-Pentecostalism that pervaded his prayer event in Houston, The Response, last month. No revelations straight from God. No signs and wonders. Just an ordinary, lost and broken guy with a Road to Damascus moment stripped dry of spirit-filled moments of lightening and tongue-talking. Clinical, if you will.
And notably free of policy. Purely confessional.
But still, aw, shucks, how can he be expected to know much vocabulary, even about this esteemed Christian school?
As he prepared for Wednesday’s visit, Perry said, “I got my Webster’s out and I just looked up the word ‘convocation’ to make sure I knew what I was walking into here.”
Jerry Falwell, Jr., the school’s chancellor, praised Perry’s record in Texas and even told reporters that Perry’s suggestions of secession were “gutsy,” according to NBC. The God talk isn’t the only thing getting the Christian right’s attention.