Thank God for Rick Perry- Part 2

NOVEMBER 2, 2011

It only gets better.  Rick Perry just keeps serving up feasts of stupid behavior for commentary.  Sounding stoned and semi-incoherent, or just plain uninvolved, in debates, or weirdly giddy and goofy as during the recent appearance in New Hampshire at Cornerstone, he manages to spotlight a glaring inconsistency with the squinty tough Texas cowboy image he projected entering the campaign.  His attempt to reactivate the Obama birth certificate matter demonstrates a  remarkably lame and tone deaf move (who are his handlers?) considering the matter has been long put to rest.  Even The Donald, very proud of himself for employing the bottom feeder issue, was satisfied with the evidence.

He also inadvertently tells the truth during one of the debates by admitting more or less that it takes more than $5000 to buy him.  Matt Taibbi essentially follows that thread.   Along with skewering Perry’s financial and political connections to right wing Christian Fundamentalist groups, Taibbi details his career as a power and money driven politician.  These obsessions are hardly limited to Perry- politics is rife with greed- but his tenacity in knowing who to tap and growing his political war chest by laying down the terms for getting his attention and cooperation are impressive by any comparison.  Matt’s article is in the ‘National Affairs’ section titled, “The Best Little Whore in Texas”, of the current ROLLING STONE, with Eddie Murphy on the cover.  Matt is brilliant in following the money- any dirty money- and he brings that same doggedness to the Perry story as he has done with the Wall Street thieves and liars.  As Taibbi makes it clear, everything is for sale when it comes to Rick Perry.  The image suggestion of Perry working a tent at a flea market came along with the copy.  This was a rare time when there wasn’t much feedback needed from me in terms of idea content and my concerns were therefore concentrated on making the image read well.  This was the last in a number of Perry caricatures for various publications and I just wanted to see if I could catch something in him that I hadn’t in the previous three.  I found some reference of him with a real cat eating the canary grin and thought that would be a nice expression to explore.  I also switched to pen and ink, normally my second choice nowadays in terms of tools; after seeing the Ed Sorel exhibition in NYC last weekend, it may move down to third or fourth.  The line work and watercolors turned out very satisfactory and his expression pretty spot-on.  Steve Charny provided the astute art direction.


Perry’s connections to and advocacy of those who clearly butter his bread and against the easy targets of the “1%” and how they tie into his evangelical politics is also the focus for an article in the next AMERICAN PROSPECT.   It didn’t take long into the reading of the first draft of the copy to visualize a reverse take on the icon story of Christ clearing the Temple of the money lenders and merchants.  Only in this situation, it’s the money lenders and GOP bigshots who remain and the poor and underrepresented who are expelled by a very fierce Perry in the Jesus role.  Even though I searched Google for famous artwork relating to the story, and found some good options, it was pretty apparent from the start that my heart was set on using the image created by Gustave Dore.  It was great fun finding the right mean expression for Perry’s mug to complement the vehemence of the gesture.  Always fun to work with art director, Mary Parsons, who makes me feel like I'm actually allowed to play.


I really don’t want Perry to implode too soon; he’s such rich material to lampoon.  He’s got such a great face and physical persona- or more correctly- personas.  And judging by his significant campaign contribution stash, he doesn’t need to drop out any time soon.  Most other candidates without Perry’s financial reserves would be history after so many flubs on the campaign trail.  For now, Rick can continue to afford making a monkey of himself. 

An early sketch that didn't work for me. Perry here comes off as too upstatey New York rather than active Texas conniver.

Right idea, still not there with the face or set up.

One of several finished pen and inks that I didn't take to color finish because I didn't like the way the objects were composed on the table.

Pretty much the one and only sketch besides a thumbnail where I laid out to myself what would go where. The expression worked for me.

The Dore original.

Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who was a top adviser to Senator John McCain and is not aligned with a candidate in this presidential campaign, expressed his skepticism as the debate unfolded. “Listening to Perry try to a put a complicated policy sentence together,” Mr. Murphy wrote on Twitter, “is like watching a chimp play with a locked suitcase.”