Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced today that he is going to run for the 2016 GOP nomination for President. I actually feel sorry for Rick Perry; here is a guy who served as governor of a huge state for 14 years-not an easy accomplishment. He fits the profile of the last two Republicans to become two-term presidents (Reagan and GW Bush). And yet Perry is lower in the polls than cable news gadflies who have never earned a vote in their life, much less actually had to govern anything larger than their own household.
Why is Perry so low in the polls?
Perry’s oops moment in the 2012 campaign was the single worst moment any candidate has ever had in a televised presidential debate. It has become a short-hand way for voters to put Perry into a box labeled “dumb,” specifically too dumb to be president.
How does he get out of that box?
It’s going to be difficult if not impossible.
Perry needs to do a better job of explaining exactly what happened that night in the debate. He has revealed to some reporters that he had not slept for several nights before the debate because he could no longer run due to recent back surgery. He was so used to running, that when he had to stop, it destroyed his ability to reduce stress or sleep.
This makes perfect sense to me; if I don’t get sleep, my mind no longer works properly either.
The problem for Perry is that nobody knows this back-story. They simply assume Perry couldn’t talk well because he was normally inarticulate and, well, “dumb.”
If Perry wants voters to take him out of the “dumb” box, he is going to have to go on Ellen or a series of high profile talk shows and really explain his heath issues back in 2011. If he doesn’t do this properly, he will never be taken out of the “dumb” box by voters and this will destroy his candidacy before it ever gains traction.
The other issue for Perry is that he is under criminal indictment. This is, frankly, the lesser of his two problems. Nonetheless, there simply isn’t any precedent for a major party to nominate someone under criminal indictment. My sense is that this isn’t going to be a real issue for Perry, but his previous financial supporters will use this as an excuse for not donating this time, even though their real concern is that Perry cannot escape the “dumb” box.
TJ Walker is president of Media Training Worldwide. You can find his online training courses here. https://www.mediatrainingworldwide.com/online-training.html