Texas-size 'oops' makes HK look good

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 November, 2011, 12:00am


We have all complained about the low calibre of our politicians and political leaders. Many think it must have something to do with the city's lack of democracy. Surely if they had to take part in genuine electoral politics, our politicians would be sharper.

Perhaps. But as the US Republican presidential debate showed this week, democracy does not necessarily produce more grey matter. Rick Perry, the Texas governor and until recently presidential front runner, stumbled so outrageously, it was painful to watch.

He started by boasting that if elected, he would eliminate three federal departments.

Perry: I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the - what's the third one there? Let's see ... Okay. Commerce, Education and the ...

Mitt Romney: 'EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]?'

Perry: 'EPA, there you go.'

Host: 'Seriously - is EPA one you are talking about?'

Perry: 'No, sir, no, sir. We are talking about the ... agencies of government ... EPA needs to be rebuilt.'

Host: 'You can't name the third?'

Perry: 'The third agency of government I would - I would do away with Education, the ... Commerce ... Commerce and, let's see. I can't. Third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops.'

Fifteen minutes later, Perry remembered: 'It was the Department of Energy that I was reaching for before.'

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has never blanked like that in public. Nor did his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa, nicknamed the silly old fool.

Legco disruptor extraordinaire Wong Yuk-man can recite long lines of Chinese poetry at the drop of a hat, and maverick lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung has read most, if not all, of Karl Marx's Das Kapital.

Our politicians are low-calibre? Compared to what?