I can't help think that despite the amazing amount of logical arguments that have emerged over the last week undermining Rick Perry's candidacy, he remains very attractive to many Americans and will likely continue to gather momentum. Why? Mostly because he is the quintessential "daddy" brand that speaks to people at a very visceral and sub-conscious level. Psychologically, people (and especially conservatives) are drawn to politicians who make people feel like they are being protected and make people feel like everything will be alright.
As George Lakoff argues in his book, Moral Politics , many Republican conservatives tend to subscribe more strongly and more often to a model that he calls the "strict father model" and has a family structured around a strong, dominant "father" (government), and assumes that the "children" (citizens) need to be disciplined to be made into responsible "adults" (morality, self-financing). That said, Lakoff posits, once the "children" are "adults", though, the "father" should not interfere with their lives: the government should stay out of the business of those in society who have proved their responsibility.
And since Rick Perry has announced for president he has had his chest puffed out and is spewing macho energy like the guy you want to stand behind in a bar fight. While he terrifies most people who are actually paying attention to the substance of what he is saying and recognize him as a fringe ideologue, many will feel comforted by this.
At a time of economic and social uncertainty when it feels like there is nothing solid to hold onto, Rick Perry has ridden in with his Texas-style bravado to make us all feel OK. It remains to be seen whether this will backfire and remind too many people of another Texas Governor with swagger or whether the differences between 2000 and 2012 will actually make a "daddy" brand attractive. Here's to hoping that ultimately voters will see that Perry is all bark and no bite or as its is said in Texas, all hat and no cattle.
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