Is Rick Perry Dumb, Or Misunderestimated?

That’s the question that The Politico’s Jonathan Martin asks in a long (5 web pages), top page story about Perry, with the catchy title “Is Ricky Perry Dumb?” We’re still waiting for his other pieces “Is Maxine Waters Insane?” and “Is Obama a complete failure?” Also “How do we know Obama’s brilliant when we’ve never seen any school transcripts or papers?” I hear he’s planning on releasing his article “Why does everything the Smartest Man In The Worldâ„¢ touches turn to poop?” very soon. Of course, those others are based on reality, rather than a liberal attack job on a guy who is leading the GOP primary field

Another Texas governor who drops his “g’s” and scorns elites is running for president and the whispers are the same: Lightweight, incurious, instinctual.

Strip away the euphemisms, and Rick Perry is confronting an unavoidable question: is he dumb – or just misunderestimated?

Either way, the article is going to attempt to paint Perry as dumb and worthless

Doubts about Perry’s intellect have hounded him since he was first elected as a state legislator nearly three decades ago. In Austin, he’s been derided as a right-place, right-time pol who looks the part but isn’t so deep — “Gov. Goodhair.” Now, with the chatter picking back up among his enemies and taking flight in elite Republican circles, the rap threatens to follow him to the national stage.

“He’s like Bush only without the brains,” cracked one former Republican governor who knows Perry, repeating a joke that has made the rounds.

So, we’re through the first 4 paragraphs, and everything, including the anonymous “former Republican governor”, attempts to put him in a negative light.

But conversations with both Perry admirers and critics reveal a more complicated assessment about the mind of a politician who has never lost an election–and ranks as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

The majority of the story is negative, rather than a “complicated assessment.”

He is not an ideas man. Perry hasn’t spent his political career marking up the latest Cato or Heritage white papers or reading policy-heavy books late into the night. Advisers and colleagues have informed much of his thinking over the years.

Look, I’m not a real big Perry supporter: in practice, versus what he says, he seems to me to be another Big Government social conservative with some fiscal conservative leanings. But, there’s no doubt that he Gets Things Done. And his state seems to be doing a whole hell of a lot better than Democrat run states like, say, California, which sees its businesses streaming into Texas. Perry is, in fact, a leader, someone who knows how to get things that work in the real word done around him. And, we don’t necessarily need “idea men”: we need leaders who solicit the ideas from the professionals, then makes it happen, and generally convinces people that this is the best thing to do.

Then follows some back and forth about Perry, till we get to this on page 3

Those who remember Perry from his days as a conservative Democrat in the state House say he was likable and ambitious — but not considered a thinker.

“He was not known as a particularly bright guy,” recalled Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who worked in Austin at the time. “But he was really charming and clearly a political talent.”

And what has that “bright guy” in the position of President done? He lives in his own academic world, surrounds himself with other academics, and thinks that doing the same thing again and again will achieve different results.

Then more back and forth, ending with

The mistake, said Johnson, is to infer weakness from Perry’s style.

“The political graveyard in Texas is buried full of people who have underestimated Rick Perry,” he said. “We had a U.S. senator who did that and she didn’t even make the run-off. Sooner or later they’re going to figure out that he’s not just lucky, he’s good.”

Of course, most people aren’t going to make it that far in a web article. And, no matter what, Democrats will paint Perry as dumb, crazy, anti-intellectual, pick your favorite personal smear from Democrats. What else can they do, though, considering the mess Obama has made?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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