You have to hand it to Politico, they know how to gin up publicity.
"Is Rick Perry dumb?" asks the top headline on the website today. Yet on balance, the corresponding article by Jonathan Martin isn't all that bad, noting that Perry has often been underestimated politically, much to the peril of numerous Republican and Democratic opponents who are now footnotes at best in Texas political history.
That being said, there's little doubt that the media, including Martin, are hard at work cementing certain prejudices and lowering expectations about the three-term Texas governor:
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.
And publishing a piece entitled "Is Rick Perry dumb?" isn't Politico's effort to ensure that?
If the media covered Democrats the way they cover conservatives you would’ve seen Newsweek in 1991 asking, “Does Clinton Have a Problem With the Truth? Some Experts Say it’s Pathological” or Politico in 2007 wonder, “Does Obama Really Have What It Takes? Some Dems Whisper He’s All Hype and No Heft."
I'd look for the following mainstream media narrative on Perry to develop heading into 2012: He's a whip-smart politician who shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to roping in votes, but that his ideology will stupidly blind him to how there's undisputable evidence that we need a large and growing federal government to tackle pressing problems.