I watched Rick Perry campaign in Iowa a few days ago. My conclusion:
Can Perry pull [a win] off? Out of curiosity, I visit his Iowa headquarters around noon on Saturday. Three people are there, including the office manager and her husband, who leads the volunteers. The main room has six to eight phone stations, but no volunteers are using them. The office manager tells me that normally there are several volunteers there; perhaps there are. But looking around the headquarters — devoid of supporters, crammed with top-quality Perry campaign signs — confirms once again a sense of déjà vu I can’t shake, a sense that I’m witnessing Tim Pawlenty’s campaign all over again. There are the markers of a first-tier candidacy — the top-quality staffers and paraphernalia — but a matching level of grassroots enthusiasm just isn’t visible.
Perry is not Pawlenty. Among other differences, he has the genuine passion (Fed Up!, anyone?) that the base supposedly wanted Pawlenty to be able to exhibit, and he has raised over three times as much money as Pawlenty did. But if he can’t find a way to gain traction in Iowa soon, he’ll face the same end that Pawlenty did.
Full piece on the homepage here. Mind you, I spoke to Iowans who were definitely open to a Perry candidacy, even if he wasn’t their top candidate right now. And if Herman Cain’s support falters, that means there will be plenty of voters looking around for another candidate to support — and Perry may be able to seize that opportunity. The caucuses are still two months away, and the if there is anything consistent about poll numbers this cycle, it’s their fluidity.