From this afternoon’s Hannity radio show, the inevitable comeback to the dumb “Is Perry dumb?” meme, echoing the same point made by the boss emeritus on Fox. What makes this reply so effective, of course, isn’t merely that it puts O on the defensive about his greatest vulnerability; it’s that it plays into a broader public contempt for all things D.C. Have a look at this Gallup survey published yesterday. When asked whether they viewed 25 different industries positively or negatively, respondents rated the federal government dead last at just 17 percent favorable. That’s lower than banking and — gasp — the legal field, and not just a tiny bit lower, either. The split on banking was 30/47 and on the legal field it was 29/45. For the federal government, it was … 17/63. Other polls make clear that it’s public disgust with Congress that’s driving that number much more so than disapproval of The One, but I don’t think anyone inside the Beltway is spared at this point from the populist perception that these people don’t know what they’re doing. Which, needless to say, is good news for a guy like Perry who’s framing himself as an anti-Washington southern populist. Whatever his eventual campaign slogan ends up being, the subtextual slogan for him and every other Republican will be, “Vote GOP. At this point, what do you have to lose?” So much for the “dumb” meme.
If you’re in a hurry and can’t listen to it all, skip to the very beginning of the second clip to hear him respond to the Daily Caller’s piece today about his letter to Hillary in 1993 commending her for her efforts on HillaryCare. His defense, basically, is that he sent that early in the process, before the law fully took shape and he realized how horrible it was. And in fairness, if you read it, it does sound more like he’s lobbying her on behalf of a core constituency (he was state agricultural commissioner at the time) rather than dashing off a fan letter about how super keen the new health-care plan would be. He’s going to get hit for it anyway at the debates, but it’ll have to come from Bachmann rather than Romney given Mitt’s much deeper exposure on health-care reform. And if Bachmann starts throwing punches on health care, it’ll be bizarre (policy-wise, not strategically) if she ends up focusing on Perry rather than the RomneyCare elephant in the room.