Opinion Brief

The 'sick' hunt for a Rick Perry sex scandal

A critic of the Texas governor takes out an ad seeking strippers, "hotties," or gay men who've "had sex with Rick Perry." Will this fishing expedition pay off?

"Have you had sex with Rick Perry?" asks Robert Morrow, a Ron Paul supporter and noted conspiracy theorist, in a full-page ad in the alt-weekly Austin Chronicle. In the ad, Morrow asks any "strippers," escorts, "young hotties," or gay men to come forward and divulge their alleged dalliances with the Texas governor and GOP presidential hopeful. While the Princeton-educated Morrow says his "stripper friends" won't make their first-hand knowledge of Perry public, he's sure others will. "Rick Perry, his entourage, and I like the same women," he added. The Chronicle looked into the infidelity/gay rumors in 2004, and found "no evidence of any truth to any of them, whatsoever." But will Morrow's rumor-mongering still hurt Perry?

Perry's safe from Morrow's craziness: Not being a Perry fan, "I'd love to think the guy is on to something," says Steve M. in No More Mister Nice Blog. But Morrow is a certified conspiracy nut, with a JFK-assassination fixation and a long record of harassing Bill and Hillary Clinton. He needs professional help, not Perry dirt from strippers. Sorry "folks, this guy is not the one who's going to bring down Rick Perry.""Rick Perry sex-ad guy: He lives for (multiple) conspiracy theories"

Never underestimate innuendo: Morrow's accusation doesn't even make sense, says Robert Stacy McCain in The Other McCain. First, you'd think a governor with national aspirations would hook up with discreet staffers and lobbyists, not strippers. And accusing Perry of being both a "reckless womanizer" and a closeted homosexual in the same ad? Well, "that's the great thing about unsubstantiated rumors: They can be completely contradictory, and still be damaging.""Attention, 'young hotties' who have had sex with a certain Texas governor"

This will help Perry: Unless "a sheep, porcupine, or pair of womens' high heel shoes" answers Morrow's ad, Perry can rest easy, says Joe Gandelman in The Moderate Voice. And even if a woman stepped forward, it probably wouldn't be enough to derail his candidacy on its own. The more likely outcome, given how "sick" and loathsome this ad is, is that Perry will win sympathy points. "Bottom line: The story will help him more than hurt him.""Our sick politics: Ad asks 'Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry?'"

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