Rich — Fair point. I don’t think the analogy is exact. Where I think the analogy holds fairly well is that Perry excites supporters in some Dean-like ways and Romney doesn’t in Kerry-like ways. There’s a lot of projection on Perry to be the full-spectrum-savior-unapologetic conservative. He’s also culturally everything Obamaphiles hate, in much the way Dean represented much that conservatives can’t stand about Democrats. Heck, Texas is sort of the anti-matter universe version of Vermont, and vice versa.
Dean played the heroic-unapologetic-savior role for liberals. But when the reality of Dean started to trump the fantasy he fell quickly. Like Shannen, I’m still uncommitted in this race so I neither hope nor fear this will happen to Perry. And I agree with you that there are many reasons to believe it won’t. But I think much of Perry’s popularity right now is unearned. He may well figure out a way to hold on to it in ways Dean couldn’t. But he needs more than a “I’m Rick Perry from Texas” strategy to do that.