Rick Perry's Racist Hunting Camp Isn't His Biggest Problem

Rick PerryPresidential candidate Rick Perry has got two problems right now. His Texas hunting camp where a big rock at the entrance once featured a racial slur is the first one. The other? His memory. And that's the one Americans should really be focused on. Unless you'd like to elect a president with a feeble mind?

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This is not to denigrate the charges from fellow Republican Herman Cain, who called the presence of the word "niggerhead" on a rock at the Throck Morton Hunting Camp "insensitive." The word is insensitive. And disgusting.

But so is Perry's hemming and hawing over just when the word was actually covered up. The Texas governor's name was on the lease at the camp from 1997 to 1998 and again from 2004 to 2007, but he's been using it since the early 1980s, when his parents first leased out the property near the Brazos River. And that's where his problems begin.

The Washington Post has dug up witnesses who remember seeing the vile term written out, clear as day, as recently as the '90s. Perry, on the other hand, has had the good grace to say the word was a problem. But even he can't give the press a straight story on when the slur disappeared. Here's what he said to the Post:

When my Dad joined the lease in 1983, he took the first opportunity he had to paint over the offensive word on the rock during the 4th of July holiday.

But then he had another take in a follow-up:

My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984. This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.

So which is it? Did Papa Ray Perry find the word so offensive he immediately rushed out there to brush it away? Or did he wait, possibly as much as a full year, before he was told to take it off?

Granted, all of this ostensibly happened almost 30 years ago -- if you believe Perry rather than the half a dozen people who told the Post the name wasn't covered up in '83 OR '84. I don't remember a whole heck of a lot from those days either. My clearest memory of '84 is burning my tongue on some Christmas cookies straight out of the oven because I wasn't listening to my Mom. But then, I'm still too young to run for president. I'm not expected to have a command of my stories from those days.

Rick Perry is. He is running for president. And he is expected to have the ability to answer a simple question with a simple answer, not several contradictory ones. I want a president who stands firm against racism for one, but on all issues, really.

If he can't make up his mind about a story from his own life, can Rick Perry really handle the demands of the presidency?

 

Image via eschipul/Flickr

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