You wrote it; you own it

While so many books from politicians are dull, awful, and immediately forgettable, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) actually put together an interesting book last year: Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington. It was published just nine months ago, well before Perry expected to be a leading presidential candidate.

The book offers a surprisingly helpful look at Perry’s ideology and worldview, including his disgust for Social Security and bank regulations, his belief in global “cooling,” and some bizarre ideas about what caused the Civil War. My personal favorite is Perry’s belief that the Great Depression ended during World War II, “when FDR was finally persuaded to unleash private enterprise,” which is practically the exact opposite of what happened.

But this was nine months ago. Now, Perry the presidential candidate doesn’t much care for the book written by Perry the governor.

His communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that … “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix [Social Security]. […]

In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”

This just won’t do. Perry not only supported the ideas in his own book when he wrote it nine months ago, he was still touting it eight days ago. His campaign doesn’t get to simply sweep an entire book under the rug.

As Ian Millhiser put it, “Fed Up is not some 20-year-old graduate school thesis that Perry wrote before he served in elected office. It is a substantial, nationally published manifesto that Perry was proudly signing at book tours just a few months ago.”

I can appreciate why Perry’s embarrassed by his published radicalism now, but that hardly justifies pretending the governor doesn’t agree with his own book now.