We were just there because we heard Rick Perry was going to announce his run for the presidency, but the right-wing conference at the Francis Marion Hotel proved to be a fascinating spectacle of 9-12ers and Reagan proselytes. We saw reverent life-size paintings of Ronnie himself in football garb tossing a pigskin over a background of Communist propaganda. We spotted no fewer than three people wearing shirts emblazoned with an American flag, an excerpt from the Constitution, and a screeching bald eagle. And we saw flat-tax advocates manning a booth with Krispy Kreme donuts and a sign that read, "They are sweet, but not as sweet as the Fair Tax." For all his bluster, Perry was probably the least conservative Republican in the room when he finally took to the stage to throw his cowboy hat into the ring.