Interesting headline in The New York Times the other day: “Perry’s Latest Attacks on Obama Depart From Reality.”

To quote another New York institution, the great tennis player John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious!”

Rick Perry departs from reality? That’s news? From where we’re sitting, the Texas governor lost touch with reality about three, maybe four, debates ago.

In fairness to Perry, the seemingly endless series of televised debates that candidates for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination have been subjected to could fry anyone’s brain. One of the reasons Republican voters can’t seem to decide which candidate to support is surely that the whole crew has faded into a fog of overexposure.

Was it Perry who made the outrageous statement about foreign policy last week, or was it Ron Paul? Maybe it was Mitt Romney. No, it was Paul; it had to be Paul. He’s the one who makes outrageous statements about darn near everything, isn’t he?

Perry is still reeling from the debate fumble to top all fumbles: forgetting one of the three federal agencies he wants to abolish, looking helplessly at his notes, then hemming and hawing until finally uttering a one-word surrender: “Oops.”

He spent the next week racing from TV talk show to TV talk show trying to downplay the mess-up and convince voters he’s not a dunce.

He’s not a dunce, by the way, but these multi-candidate debates are obviously not his cup of tea.

But back to the Times. Turns out Perry jumped on something Obama said, took it out of context and used it in a campaign ad to make it seem as though the president had insulted the American people by saying they were lazy. Obama said no such thing. Then Perry accused Obama of coming from a “privileged” background, which he didn’t.

Based on some of Perry’s previous stumbles, he may not have been trying to mislead anyone. He might have thought what he was saying was true. In any case, who cares?

Political candidates these days are likely to say anything about anyone without the slightest concern for the truth. The voters expect it and rarely get riled up about it. It’s just the way the game is played. Sad but true.

If a candidate ever comes along who’s always in touch with reality and always tells the truth, we might just find a way to elect him or her president for life.