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'Is Rick Perry dumb?' — fair question or biased attack?
Conservatives howl after Politico runs a provocatively headlined article questioning the intellect of the GOP presidential frontrunner
Questions about Gov. Rick Perry's (R-Texas) intellectual prowess have dogged the GOP presidential frontrunner for years, and resurfaced this week after Politico rather pointedly asked, "Is Rick Perry dumb?"
Questions about Gov. Rick Perry's (R-Texas) intellectual prowess have dogged the GOP presidential frontrunner for years, and resurfaced this week after Politico rather pointedly asked, "Is Rick Perry dumb?"
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ightweight, incurious, C-minus student, Gov. Goodhair: "Strip away the euphemisms, and Rick Perry is confronting an unavoidable question," says Jonathan Martin at Politico: "Is he dumb — or just 'misunderestimated?'" In a lengthy article, Martin delves into the many questions about the GOP presidential frontrunner's intellect that have followed Perry through his long, successful career in Texas politics, including his current job as the state's longest-serving governor. Is this a political hit piece, or as Martin's colleague Ben Smith says, a "straightforward look" at a potential liability for Perry?

Here goes the liberal media again: Just like clockwork, the national media is giving a surging Republican candidate the "idiot treatment," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Journalists and their Democratic allies might want to rethink the attack: It didn't work too well against George W. Bush or that "amiable dunce" Ronald Reagan. Still, just once it would be nice if the press questioned the intelligence of a Democrat — starting with President Obama.
"Time for a 'Gee, aren't Republicans dumb' meme"

But even Republicans are skeptical of Perry's smarts: This issue is fair game, says Steve Kornacki at Salon. "Most of the party's influential forces — fundraisers, activists, commentators, and so on — are still making up their minds about" Rick Perry. They "aren't yet willing to automatically write off concerns that he's 'dumb.'" Remember, Perry is running in Bush's unpopular shadow, and "influential on-the-fence Republicans" absolutely don't want to run a Bush "clone" in 2012.
"When being the 'dumb' candidate is a problem"

This is a good question with no good answer: Politico's investigation concludes that Democrats and GOP rivals "misunderestimate Mr. Perry at their peril," says Erica Grieder in The Economist. And the article itself is fair. Martin "marshals the evidence and talks to Democrats, Republicans, and rivals." But the bigger takeaway is "the fact that we really have no common standard for indicators of a candidate's intelligence," and that even if we did, "sheer brains" is only one predictor of a good president.
"Is [insert name here] dumb?"

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