4.) Wait for the Cain folks. Deep in their hearts, few of Herman Cain’s supporters truly think he is ready to be president of the United States—including Cain himself. But it is no coincidence that Mr. Cain rose in the polls precisely when Perry began to disappoint his conservative backers. The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO inherited Perry voters disappointed with their man’s performance. For those voters, Cain serves as a holding platform until they find a viable Romney alternative. Perry’s debate performance on Tuesday night, coupled with his impressive money haul, will convince those voters once again that he is the best person for that job. The other night Perry took care not to criticize Cain too sharply; he knows those voters are going to come back to him.
5.) Make the mainstream media his friend. Perry has weathered the most withering media scrutiny since Montgomery Burns ran for governor on The Simpsons. Perry’s been called a dope, a racist, a liberal, and a wacko. His decades-old marriage has even come under relentless scrutiny and suspicion. The media loves to do this to a candidate. They looked at Perry, told him who was boss, knocked him down several pegs, and waited to see if he’d succumb. He hasn’t, at least not yet. Now Perry and reporters are in a different phase: codependency. Perry needs them for positive headlines about his comeback. And the media needs a formidable foe for Romney to keep the race interesting. The media flirted with Palin and Christie and Cain for that slot, but they soon will conclude that Perry is the only one who can foot that bill. From animosity to codependency in the space of a few weeks—that’s politics.