As expected, Rick Perry joked a bit last night about his previous debate performance, and last night featured no car-crash-like moments for the Texas governor.

But there was one thing he said that I still can’t quite wrap my head around.

“Listen, there are some people who have made the statement that — the 21st century is gonna be the — the century of China and that, you know, we’ve had our time in the sunshine. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that at all. As a matter of fact, you think back to the 1980s and we faced a similar type of — of a situation with — with Russia.

“And Ronald Reagan said that Russia would end up on the ash heap of history. And he was right. Mitt, I happen to think that the communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history if they do not change their virtues. It is important for a country to have virtues, virtues of honest.”

First, to say the relationship between the United States and China now is “similar” to the “type” of relationship the United States had with the USSR in the 1980s is bizarre.

Second, to draw a parallel between the Soviets of the Cold War and the Chinese of the 21st century is ridiculous.

And third, I haven’t the foggiest idea what “virtues of honest” is even supposed to mean.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.