Perry doing the right things his second time around

Scott Conroy:
Rick Perry doesn't care if you think he's dumb. In fact, he kind of likes it that way.

Without blushing, the former governor of Texas and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate will tell you all about how he'd gone to Texas A&M wanting to be a veterinarian until a run-in with organic chemistry left him with a bruised ego and an academic change of course.

In phys ed class, he managed only a gentleman's "C."

"All I wanted to do was get out and fly airplanes, so anything over a 2.0 was gravy," as he puts it now.

Rather than lashing out at a media narrative that has at times turned him into a caricature, Perry embraces his reputation for not being the sharpest knife in the Republican Party’s jam-packed drawer of White House aspirants.

Why? It’s because he knows there is only one way for him to go in the public’s esteem: Up.

Ever since his chastening performance in 2012, which came after a hurried decision to enter the presidential race without significant preparation, Perry has made it a point to engage with some of the deepest conservative thinkers on issues ranging from health care to foreign policy.

And he has been doing the little things to promote intellectual growth, too.

While in Iowa recently, Perry did not hesitate to show off the home screen on his iPhone, which -- among the Dallas Morning News and Texas A&M athletics apps -- featured an easy-to-access link to Dictionary.com.

The term “misunderestimate” may not be found on that particular website, but like George W. Bush -- his predecessor in Austin -- Perry is skilled at the time-honored Texas tradition of encouraging his adversaries to dismiss him as a real threat.

Yes, this is the same man who famously uttered the “Oops” heard ‘round the world as part of a puzzlingly inarticulate debate performance on a memorable November night in Michigan in 2011 when he forgot the name of the third federal agency he'd eliminate after education and commerce -- energy.

But he’s also someone who can discuss the intricacies of the Syrian civil war or rattle off statistics on higher education participation rates among Hispanics with a facility that suggests he is well-acquainted with expert opinion in a wide range of policy fields.

In addition to Perry’s smartphone apps, dead-tree editions of The Wall Street Journal and The Economist are on his daily reading list, whether he is on the road or in the Austin apartment he shares with his wife and four dogs.

Rick Perry isn’t dumb.

Perhaps even more importantly to his future political prospects, he knows how to tell a story as well as anyone in national politics today -- an underappreciated quality that he would bring to his second stab at the Oval Office.
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I like Rick Perry.  He has been a good governor of Texas and I think his ideas on growing the economy are what the US needs to spread prosperity for all.  Liberals will nitpick his record, but the bottom line is he and Texas are largely responsible for the recovery from the Great Recession and there is a case to be made for taking those ideas nationally.

Since his problems in 2012, I think Perry has done the things I thought he needed to do to prepare himself for another run.  I hope people give him another chance.

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