Old And Busted: Perry’s Brain Cramp Kills His Candidacy. The New Hotness: Second Look At Perry?
Things move fast these days. In less than 14 hours Rick Perry’s inability to remember the 3rd federal department he’d shut down (energy! Energy! For the love of God say ENERGY!) has gone from a game-ender to a possible (possible) game changer.
Everything Perry has done since walking off the stage in Michigan to now has been brilliant. Whether that holds up tonight on Letterman and the Daily Show is yet to be seen
When confronted with a moment so excruciatingly painful and embarrassing as Perry last night, a candidate can either ignore and try and play through or just embrace it as tightly as possible (the other option is get pissy like Obama does when he screws up). By embracing it and appearing on every network morning show, Laura Ingrham’s radio show, FNC this afternoon and apparently talking to anyone with a mic and a camera Perry has made the most of this “gaffe”. People are quickly going from laughing at him (which is fatal) to laughing with him (which can be powerful). It also helps that at some pint in a venue large or small, we’ve all been there. It’s an endearing and humanizing moment that basically means a chance for Perry to make a first impression for the second time.
What Perry does with the second chance in the coming days will likely be the difference between an early demise for his campaign or a another legitimate shot at the nomination.
I don’t know if the stiff and lifeless Perry we’ve seen at the debates is the “real” Perry or if the looser, quirkier one we are seeing now (and in the famous NH speech) is closer to the truth. If it’s the latter I hope he just lets that fly and sees where it takes him. Personally I’ve gotten the sense from Perry that he’s so uptight, so worried about saying the wrong thing he’s basically gone flat (maybe his apparent lack of preparation for this run was the cause of his caution). That was not the concern I had about him when he launched his bid. I thought his supposedly outsized personality would be too hot, to “Texas” for many voters. Well, cautious Rick Perry was struggling to hang on to the tail end of the 2nd tier at about 6% support before last night. If you’re going to go down, go down with your best pitch Rick. Throw it all out on the table and see if it works.
Even a looser, more comfortable Rick Perry is still going to face problems on immigration, his ability to communicate effectively and concerns about his grasp of national issues. While all of those things are important, so is personality and the voters ability to feel comfortable with a candidate and his judgement. After all, no one knows every possible issue a President will face in 4 years so we are betting we are picking someone with the right traits to deal with the expected and unexpected when the time comes.
Of course with another debate coming up on Saturday focusing on foreign policy, Perry’s 2nd look window is small. He needs to come off as loose, confident and in command of the issues. Another brain freeze (and you know the moderators will try and trip him up with a question about the Prime Minister of East Nowhereastan) or even one of his regular debate checkouts and the new New Hotness will be the old Old and Busted: Perry’s Done.