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Is Rick Perry a Dope?

Despite being the longest serving governor of one of our most populous states, a state currently generating more jobs than the rest of the country combined (or close), Rick Perry is supposed to be a dummy. At least, that’s what some of the lefty blogs and pundits would have us believe -- you know, brainy types like Ed Schultz.

I am a graduate of two so-called elite Ivy League universities and I never noticed this problem when I met Perry. But never mind. Maybe an intellectually-challenged reputation is good to have from a stealth point of view. Remember Tom Sawyer and that fence?

Unfortunately, however, the jig is up. As of the last few days “Rick Perry and His Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America” has been making the rapid rounds on Kindle (#2 in “politics and current events”). This download is actually a longish chapter excerpted from a work-in-progress by Sasha Issenberg -- “The Victory Lab” -- about new, scientifically-based campaign techniques said to be transforming the American electoral process.

The chief architect of Perry’s strategies -- and central figure in the chapter -- is Dave Carney, a hulking three hundred pound, six foot four political pro from New Hampshire who once worked for George H. W. Bush. Said to be camera shy, if Perry wins, or even if he is nominated, Carney is likely to become as much of a household political name as Karl Rove or David Axelrod.

Indeed, if I were Axelrod, I would have been up last night poring over “Rick Perry and His Eggheads.” It’s filled with radical ideas about campaigning. Carney abjures such staples as lawn signs, targeted mailings, robocalls (Thank God!) and even, to a large extent, TV ads. He advocates instead personal appearances and flesh-pressing by the candidate, taking it to the people, as it were, something for which Perry clearly has a gift. This, in turn, generates a constant flow of media coverage on old and, perhaps more importantly, new media (Twitter, Facebook, even ye olde PJM).

Indeed, the MSM is almost purposefully disdained (up to a point, anyway). In his recent campaign for governor, Perry refused even to meet with the editorial boards of leading Texas newspapers, preferring to spend time with actual voters.