Late Night Open Thread: Pain in the… Back

Tonight, all three local news networks had slightly different short clips of Rick Perry in Boston as “the keynote speaker at the Pioneer Institute’s awards dinner” (the link goes to a fourth clip, because that’s the only one I can find right now). And on all three networks, Perry looked terrible — 1980s-Katherine-Hepburn terrible, with a quaver in his voice, an unnaturally stiff posture, and a slight trembling in his hands. I wondered if he was still fighting some kind of epic hangover, after Monday night’s debate/pig-pile. But a commentor on an earlier thread linked to a Texas-based blog that raises a different possibility in my mind. From Paul Burka, senior executive editor at the Texas Monthly:

Perry was clearly off his game during the tea party debate. He looked uncomfortable, his face was strained, his combativeness was muted. He looked to me like a man with back pain. I wondered if he were wearing a brace. I’ve had back surgery, and it hurt to watch him…
He just wasn’t presidential. He was low-energy and the feistiness wasn’t there. That’s why I’m wondering whether the back operation didn’t go well… He just didn’t seem presidential, and I think the reason was that he was hurting…
The big question mark for me is Perry’s health. Tonight was one of those rare moments when the camera didn’t love him. He has plenty of time to get back on his game, assuming that his physical condition holds up. But I am beginning to wonder whether he will have the stamina to hold up to the demands of a grueling campaign if his back is injured. For now, that’s just as big a threat as Romney is.

More details on Perry’s surgery, which “included experimental stem-cell therapy“, here.

57 replies
  1. 1
    TenguPhule says:

    Go Go Medical Complications.

    Maybe this is Dog’s way of telling him to repent.

  2. 2
    piratedan says:

    well complications are to be expected when they extract your moral compass and replace it with scorpion venom.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    Perry is definitely a master word salad chef I must say.

  4. 4

    Interesting. Per the article linked at the bottom of the post, this isn’t the first time he’s had his own adult stem cells withdrawn and re-injected.

  5. 5


    My dad developed some back pain while in Florida over the winter. He figured it would clear up. End of May he couldn’t get out of bed. Ambulance ride to the hospital, they take a look, start running tests…Turns out the back pain was caused by spinal cord compression, which in turn was caused by a pathological fracture of a vertebrae, which was in turn caused by multiple myeloma.

    Guess what the latest in treatments for that type of cancer is? Adult stem cell replacement therapy.

  6. 6
    hhex65 says:

    Their white knight problem continues.

  7. 7
    Jenny says:

    The Village elites are so cute as they race to save Mittens from Parry.

    The Village hates Social Security, they hate Medicare. They accuse the Democrats of “demagoguery” for not supporting Ryan’s plan to end Medicare, and earlier, for not supporting Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security.

    But now as the see Mitty slipping off the cliff, they discovered a new found love for Social Security — at least as a club to bash Parry.


  8. 8
    Jenny says:

    I feel pretty
    Oh so pretty
    I feel pretty and witty and bright
    And I pity
    Any girl who isn’t me tonight

  9. 9
    Studly Pantload, a full-service schmuck says:

    Wait. What? First of all, Katie Hepburn in her sunset years had more class in one essential tremor than most of us can hope to have in our entire lives. You demean this (staunchly liberal) woman’s legacy by even mentioning her name in the same sentence as Perry’s.

    Second – is Perry’s back surgery even the tiniest bit relavent when JFK served with distinction with chronic back problems? Attack the em-effer for his bountiful character flaws, but this comes across as a cheap shot. We have so much better material to use, we are fools not to use it.

  10. 10
    Kane says:

    Perry is backpedaling from his earlier comments about Social Security while at the same time attempting to present himself as a truth teller. One day he says Social Security is unconstitutional, illegal, and a Ponzi scheme, and the next day he claims that he wants to fix Social Security.

  11. 11
    Studly Pantload, a full-service schmuck says:

    To add: if the back issue isn’t an attack, it’s frightfully speculative.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    JenJen says:

    Anectodal, for sure, but a Republican friend of mine remarked how good Perry looked. “I dig the cut of his jib” kind of shit. I shot back that he had a lot of Grecian Formula in the hair and maybe a wee bit of botox. I’ve seen Perry more weathered and wrinkled, but not so much lately.

    Superficial as it is, if the dude looks good and keeps pushing the base buttons, I think we have ourselves a GOP nominee.

  14. 14
    Mino says:

    Booman has an interesting take on the debates. Essentially, to Republican primary voters, what any candidate says is immaterial, since they will believe 99 lies from their leaders before breakfast.

    If the audience is buying into what they’re saying about Social Security or taxes or balancing the budget or climate change or why health care is expensive, then it’s really not a competition to show you understand the issues and have credible plans to address them. It’s more about conveying some kind of emotional message and connecting with the voters on a visceral level.

    So Perry’s health could be a big factor if it shortcircuits his charisma.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    So, Rick Perry is shaping up to be the Tea Party, fuck-them-liberals presidential nominee, is he? I reckon as long as his back problems don’t keep him from campaigning, and so far they haven’t, they won’t be a significant factor. Hell, FDR won four presidential elections from his wheelchair.

    It must be more worrying for the party establishment that he hasn’t particularly shone in the debates, even among such weak fellow candidates. Obama is going to cut him to pieces. It must be still more worrying for them that whoever the nominee is, he might have to campaign on a nonsensical, cannot-win platform put together to appease the Tea Party tendency.

  16. 16
    Mino says:

    JFK is probably a closer parallel. FDR, as far as I know, did not experience debilitating pain.

  17. 17
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    I think all this talk about the election is a waste of time. Mornin Joe has a parade of people telling us that it is OVER.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Ben Cisco says:

    Gotta hand it to the puppet-masters, they know which buttons to push. Word of possible ill health AND the mention of dreaded stem cells (like those clowns are going to catch the nuance of WHERE the cells came from – it’s SCIENCY and stuff!) and the lemmings are going to bolt.
    As someone who has undergone back surgery and is NOT a sociopath, if Perry is suffering from back pain, I sympathize with him – it is a hell of a thing to go through. On the other hand, it made me appreciate the availability of health care. You could even say I became more empathetic about it.
    Imagine that.

  20. 20
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Mino: The bad guys.

  21. 21
    Valdivia says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    the world? the primary? what is over?

  22. 22
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Ben Cisco: I broke my back in 1975. Fuck Perry.

  23. 23
    harlana says:

    @Ben Cisco: Have friend who is going through same thing, she’s finally given in to having surgery, it’s been just AWFUL for her and I do sympathize with how incredibly painful and debilitating it can be.

  24. 24
    Donut says:


    Thank you for pointing that out, been thinking the same thing. On a simple two-circle Venn diagram, Perry occupies the space made when willful ignorance and sociopathy overlap. No shocker that Palin was out there assisting Perry (backhandedly) clarifying his “thoughts” on Social Security “reform”. She knows a kindred soul when she sees him, but still had to get the dig in. Funny stuff, were it not so insane.

    I don’t know if Perry can maintain the pace he has set for another three-plus months, at which point actual votes will finally be cast. That time frame is an eternity in our modern political and media culture. Then it’s just beginning. A lot goes in to maintaining that lead, including physical health, and the mental stamina needed to run the marathon. It is really hard to maintain any message consistency (which, BTW, the current President does as well or better than anyone else, when he wants to). It has to be doubly harder for an idiot such as him to stay on his targets and hit his marks. Definitely a long row to hoe for Ricky.

  25. 25
    harlana says:

    I want Perry to be the nominee. He makes Mitt look too reasonable and “moderate” so I don’t want Mitt up against Obama, even though he is a lying, flip-flopping sack o’ sh*t, as we all know, independent and undecided voters are sensitive and skittish as little baby deer. Perry will just scare them away in the GE.

  26. 26
    Mino says:

    I don’t know why the kingmakers are so worried by Perry. The guy has no core. And he’s no more stupid than Bush.

    In fact, why do Republicans even want the Presidency at this time? Even they can’t be excited by what a Republican might do to the econmy.

  27. 27
    aimai says:

    Mino makes a good point upthread that Perry’s Charisma, such as it is, is based on being a manly,manly, man. He’s going to go the route of Bush and Brush Cutting and continue jogging and shooting things. He has to in order to maintain his cred. Don’t think his team isn’t researching both FDR and Kennedy in case whatever health problems he has get out of hand and he has to start campaigning sitting down. But if he is unable to get out and campaign he’s toast. The real retail part of this political season hasn’t even begun and though he might be able to get over on the true believers/28 percenters of the far right even campaigning from a hospital bed the independents and scared democrats will never go for a guy who doesn’t see like he can get up to go to work. So there goes the swing vote.

    **Also Kennedy’s health was a huge issue when it finally came out just how sick he’d been.

  28. 28
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:


    Thats all well and good assuming you are sure that he wouldn’t win the general election. How does President Perry sound to you? Given the success the Republicans are having at crippling the government the odds of a second term are not all that good. Even for someone with a particularly grim outlook things do no appear to be developing in a way necessarily in favor of America

  29. 29
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    Federal spending
    -note that historically the difference in spending of Federal money between D & R congressional districts was only a few cents per registered voter (I believe the peek was 5 cents but over the years the party in power ‘gifted’ its own districts with only a penny or two more than the others). After the ’94 election the difference went to nearly 50 cents more per registered voter in a Republican district over a Dem one.

  30. 30
    Arclite says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Hell, FDR won four presidential elections from his wheelchair.

    That was before the age of 24 hour news channels and a video camera in every cell phone. When FDR knew he was going to be on film, they braced him at a podium. Otherwise, his addresses were via radio. Especially for Repub voters, the candidate’s “look” is a signal of whether to vote. Grandma voted for Reagan, b/c “He always looked good on TV.” If this problem gets worse, it will have a strong effect.

  31. 31
    dr. bloor says:

    Since Perry obviously could not hold up under the strain of having a 737 land on his shoulders, this makes Romney the prohibitive favorite for the nomination.

  32. 32
    Keith G says:

    A.L., there is a chance that Perry’s schedule will be a lot lighter by Christmas and at least by March I bet he will be able to book some extensive R & R time.

  33. 33
    Mino says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite: Clinton was elected in ’94 and spending increased in Republican districts? Wasn’t that Tom Delay’s doing? And Tom Delays are hard to come by, even for Republicans.

    And I thought all the judgeships out there were already filled with Republicans. Sure seems like it.

  34. 34
    Arclite says:

    Mom had back surgery to correct scoliosis 4 months ago. She’s a few years older than Perry, but not much. She is definitely NOT in shape to run a presidential campaign, despite making a good recovery and doing well in PT.

  35. 35
    Helen says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Seconded: this exact same thing happened to my brother-in law. First they try the patient’s own stem cells, but if the cells are not clear of cancer there is a chance they are injecting cancer into cancer.

    If this does not work they then move to donor cells.

  36. 36
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Arclite: Did they do harrington rods? My procedure was the same as that for scoliosis and it was new back in those days.

  37. 37
    Keith G says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): My thoughts are with you. Multiple myeloma is a tough one. I learned that as my mom faced that disease. Your dad will need much love and support.

  38. 38
    schlemizel - was Alwhite says:

    yes – that was the implications – after the Rs took over Congress they turned the Federal government into a money machine for their own benefit as opposed to the nations benefit. It was part of the ‘1000 year Reich’ plan in which they would control all the levers of power forever.

    Yes but all those lovely judges have to retire sometime so, unless the continue to control the process, there is a chance they could be replaced.

  39. 39
    harlana says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite: I said, (if he gets the nom) he will not win the GE because of independents. Case closed.

    And might I point out that, as I say this, I am one of the biggest pessimists known to mankind

  40. 40
    PurpleGirl says:

    I would like to have more details on what his back problem and the “recurring injury” is. There are so many different things that his problem could be that just saying “back problem” isn’t telling me very much.

    I had surgery for a herniated disk and from 24/7 burning pain in my left leg, when I woke up from the surgery there was no pain. I had complications during my recovery period. I was among the 10% where the disk reherniates and I was out from work several months longer than planned while the problem resolved itself. I’ve had minor recurring problems involving some nerve damage but the debilitating pain and inability to be active for more than 5 hours at a stretch ended with the surgery. (I had the surgery within 6 months of the acute back problem starting, so the chances were better for a recovery.)

  41. 41
    Paul in KY says:

    Using actual ‘stem cells’ sounds awfully secular-humanist to me. Maybe Crazy Eyes can gig him there.

  42. 42
    batgirl says:

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite: A President Perry or a President Romney in the White House won’t make one iota of difference. They are both going to pass the crazy coming out of the Congress by their own party. In the general, I know a substantial number of people who often swing between parties that would never vote for Perry but would vote for Romney in a heartbeat. I’d rather face Perry in the general than Romney. IMHO, he is our best chance to retain the White House.

    PS: And for all those saying the conservative Christians won’t vote for a Mormon, you are forgetting that he is running against a ni****. You are going to get a whole bunch of people (especially in the South) coming out to just vote against that “black, Muslim, anti-American, socialist, etc”

  43. 43
    batgirl says:

    Reposting because of moderation

    @schlemizel – was Alwhite: A President Perry or a President Romney in the White House won’t make one iota of difference. They are both going to pass the crazy coming out of the Congress by their own party. In the general, I know a substantial number of people who often swing between parties that would never vote for Perry but would vote for Romney in a heartbeat. I’d rather face Perry in the general than Romney. IMHO, he is our best chance to retain the White House.

    PS: And for all those saying the conservative Christians won’t vote for a Mormon, you are forgetting that he is running against a ni****. You are going to get a whole bunch of people (especially in the South) coming out to just vote against that “black, Muslim, anti-American, soc1alist, etc”

  44. 44
    henrythefifth says:

    Perhaps the lord god is punishing him for taking the scientific route of surgery, rather than having prayed himself better.

  45. 45
    Earl Butz says:

    I wonder if his back hurts as badly as being put to death does?

    Fuck him. I hope he wakes up to hellish grinding agony every day of his misbegotten life, fucking murdering piece of shit that he is.

  46. 46
    Mark D says:

    I’ve had two — count ’em two — spinal fusions, and have learned one thing: Most don’t work as intended and often make things worse.

    I hurt more now than I did before the surgeries, and still take pain pills eight years after the first and six years after the second.

    If that’s the case with Perry, then it’s going to be a huge issue given how much travel, walking, standing, etc., is required on the campaign trail. Dude is going to hurt like holy hell …

    … which, quite frankly, is some sort of poetic justice/karma for him ordering the execution of an innocent man … and someone who was mentally retarded … and a kid …

  47. 47
    Ash Can says:

    Doesn’t he look tired?

  48. 48
    Kola Noscopy says:

    Perry’s oddly high shirt collars, along with the strangely thick look of his torso/back area on an otherwise proportioned physique, have always seemed to me signs that he is wearing, and covering up some kind of pretty substantial brace.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask that a presidential candidate come clean about something like that, and the reasons for its necessity.

    Also, too: Perry’s painfully obvious toupee. Why isn’t the MSM asking questions about how wearing a rug brings into play questions of Perry’s “authenticity” and whether or not he is a “real man” who “knows who he is” and doesn’t need “props” and “a beauty regimen?” Why is it only Al Gore and Obama who get that treatment from Moron Maureen?

  49. 49
    PK says:

    As someone who has undergone back surgery and is NOT a sociopath, if Perry is suffering from back pain, I sympathize with him –

    I guess I am a sociopath as I have no sympathy for him. A man who lost no sleep presiding over the death of 200 people, would not hesitate to take away the safety network from millions of people, would happily deny healthcare to millions deserves pain and more. I hope he wins the republican nomination, is in excruciating pain and bed ridden for the rest of the campaign. I have no forgiveness for evil behavior.

  50. 50
    maya says:

    Paging Dr. Rush-bo. Dr. Rush-bo, stat!

  51. 51
    Thoughtcrime says:


    When someone with eyes that smoulder
    Says he loves ev’ry silken curl
    That falls on my iv’ry shoulder,
    I enjoy being a girl!

  52. 52
    Elie says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    whoa there! Are you speculating or was it documented that he has multiple myeloma?

    If that is for real, he should not be running. Period.

    In any case, if he had back surgery (spinal fusion July 1st), he is running around pretty early. It is 6 weeks just to basically heal the surgical stuff and many months to rehab any deficit caused by the compression. He might just be overdoing it. As anyone with serious back pain will tell you, aint nothin like it for ruining your day. You can’t get comfortable sitting, standing or laying down.

    Of course I could also get all gothic and say its punishment for his eveel thoughts….

  53. 53
    Elie says:

    The other thing that I would add as a caution about his candidacy is PAIN MEDICATIONS.

    depending on what and how often, he may not be thinking clearly, to say the least. I really think that he is stupid to run… his opponents are going to take advantage of his obvious infirmity. If by some very horrible fate, he became President, having a know physical weakness like that would put US interests at risk.

    There is no good side for him. Period.

  54. 54
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Elie: Before my surgery, the ONLY position in which I did not feel pain was laying down with my legs raised and NOT MOVING AT ALL. I had to be completely still. The moment I moved even a millimeter, the pain began again.

    And because the injury involved the nerve root itself, no pain medication helped. Only anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers helped a bit.

    Again, we need more information as to the nature of the back problem.

  55. 55
    trollhattan says:


    I confess to watching the Jackie Kennedy audio tapes thing on ABC last night, which reinforced how precarious his health was throughout his brief presidency. Health is not nothing when it comes to this demanding office and I was surprised how little play McCain’s health ultimately got during that campaign, considering his ginormous medical history, including the melanoma, all with caribou Barbie gunnin’ to be second in charge.

    Perry’s ace in the hole is campaignin’ from a Hoverround to cement the Tea Party demographic.

  56. 56
    Jinxtigr says:

    I hope he goes and feels better, somewhere far away from any government job :)

  57. 57
    pattonbt says:

    @Earl Butz: At first I was going to comment on how this is a bit foul of an avenue to pursue. But then seeing your comment I realized “nope”. Fuck Perry. Anyone who has his evil record with the death penalty deserves this and far worse.

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