Saturday, May 16, 2015

Will Gov. Perry be taken seriously?

By Richard Barry
No, really. The glasses look great.

In three weeks former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will officially declare his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination. No great surprise. We knew this day was coming.

He has been making all the required stops in early contest states. He's been consulting experts on foreign affairs and economic policy. He's been busy recruiting a campaign team and, according to the Dallas Morning News, has even been taking public speaking lessons.

At the moment, however, he's polling in single digits and trailing the serious candidates by a wide margin, and I can't help but think Perry's troubles stem from the fact that he is not perceived as the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Unfair or not, the public perception of Perry's intellectual capacity was strongly influenced by his inability to remember the name of the third federal department he would abolish during one of the 2012 GOP nomination debates.

Since then we have heard that some of his mental lapses in that campaign may have been due to recent back surgery and medication. Sure, if he says so.

Objectively, Perry should be a formidable candidate with experience as Texas governor for 14 years. As he did in 2012, he will stress the state's economic record, especially on job creation, and Texas's welcoming business climate (lawsuit limits, minimum regulations on businesses and low taxes). He has also pointed to his own military service as rare among GOP hopefuls.

Yes, he should be formidable. I can't help wondering though if voters will give Perry a second chance to make a first impression. And those new black-framed glasses seem an obvious signal that Perry sure hopes people won't think he's as stupid as they might have previously thought.

Sure, people can be very forgiving, but the first time he screws something up, gets some fact really wrong or forgets something he should be able to remember, he's done. And that's not a particularly comfortable position from which to campaign.


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  • But it wasn't his ignorance and stupidity that made him die in the primary; it was his humanity. His remark about the children of immigrants was what killed him. That was when his support cratered.

    He won't make that mistake again. Still, I doubt he is an important candidate. But he may just be running to rehabilitate his image. Not a bad idea.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 4:35 PM  

  • There was the comment about the children of immigrants that hurt him with conservatives, but those debates were brutal, and not just the three Departments screwup. His was incoherent much of the time.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 4:49 PM  

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