Mantle of Leadership

Yesterday Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he is not running for reelection.

It was an announcement he was expecting to make after the legislative season, but was forced to make in this second special session because the Republicans tripped on their hubris trying to pass oppressive abortion laws at the last second of the first special session.

Magic The Gathering: Mantle Of LeadershipHe needed to get this announcement made because all the other Republicans in Texas politics need to start shuffling for their job upgrades and needed to know his plans so they could make theirs.

Last week Perry announced he had something to announce. Since then, people have been speculating. Most Texas watchers supposed he would be doing as he did. It humored me that CNN reported in the other direction.

During his announcement (video) he used an awkward (to me) phrase.

“The time has come … to pass on … the mantle of leadership.”

I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase Mantle of Leadership.  So I googled it.  I found one quote, attributed to Perry’s opponent in the previous Republican primary for president. I wonder if that’s where he heard it.

“Our purpose is to make sure the world is peaceful. We want a peaceful planet, we want people to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. That’s our purpose. And the mantle of leadership for the promoting the principles of peace has fallen to America. We didn’t ask for it, but it’s an honour we have it.” -Mitt Romney

Also, Joel B. Pollak used the term on in reference to Romney. A quite humorous read in hind sight: “The honest reflections of the more thoughtful voices on the American left confirm that Romney and Ryan are, in effect, leading the country.” (Aug 18, 2012 – 10 weeks before the election)

But, mantle seems to have a figurative meaning (is it becoming archaic, or am i just ignorant of its modern usage?) of authority.  Certainly there are no current leaders who wear mantles/cloaks to signify their authority, so it seems a dated use.  Though several of the definitions of mantle have used the phrase in example.  The phrase could be outliving the clothing.

There also seems to be some modern Christian writings that use the phrase, which seems likely where Perry might pick it up. Christian politicians like to use coded speech that signifies to their supporters that “I’m one of you”.

Perry’s pause before using the phrase seems to point to it being quite deliberate. After saying “pass on”, i thought only that the end of the phrase would be “baton”.  Perhaps that’s the awkward part, is that there was another phrase that more appropriately fit the situation.

Is anyone else used to the term “mantle of leadership”?  Is it just me to whom it feels alien and awkward?  Did I just get schooled in vocabulary by Perry?  Or perhaps Rick is a Magic the Gathering player.