Rick Perry attracts a lot of euphemisms—lightweight, incurious, instinctual. "Gov. Goodhair" goes one nickname. "He's like Bush only without the brains," jokes another Texas Republican. So Jonathan Martin, in a lengthy profile of the Texas governor on Politico, just comes out and asks the big question: "Is Rick Perry dumb?" And Martin's answer seems to be ... does it really matter? Perry is a "power politician" who loves competition. “If he should know about John Locke, he’ll know about John Locke,” says a longtime Perry supporter. “If it’s not on his schedule, it’s irrelevant to him.”
Politics, after all, is not an IQ test. “This is like judging [baseball star] David Ortiz as a failed athlete because he’s never scored a touchdown,” said one Texas Democrat. “He’s a focused, committed, and skilled political animal. He wins elections. Do not underestimate him.” Perry's most recent book, the spirited Fed Up, has 19 pages of sources and notes, with no co-author (although Perry did thank five people for helping to research, edit, and write). "Perry may not be a wonk, but that doesn’t mean he’s a rube—a costly mistake many of his foes have made," writes Martin.